A new study shows that diet sodas don't help with weight loss, and may actually cause you to eat more, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health Jan. 16.
While many overweight people drink diet sodas to cut down on calorie consumption, the ones who drank diet soda actually ate a lot more than non-drinkers.
“Although overweight and obese adults who drink diet soda eat a comparable amount of total calories as heavier adults who drink sugary beverages, they consume significantly more calories from solid food at both meals and snacks,” Sara Bleich, lead author of the study, said in a statement.
"If you consume artificial sweeteners, it makes the brain think you are less satiated or full, and as a result you eat more."
Dr. Bleich is an associate professor at the Bloomberg School health policy department at Johns Hopkins University.
Bleich and her research team at Johns Hopkins analyzed the diets of participants in the 1999-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The research indicated that while diet sodas did not promote excess eating in normal-weight individuals, overweight and obese diet-soda drinkers ate significantly more.
Researchers say the reason for this is that our bodies constantly strive to keep our weight stable, so diet-soda drinkers may end up compensating for their no-calorie soda by eating more food.
Interestingly, the study showed that one in five overweight or obese people regularly drink diet sodas — about twice as much as average-weight individuals.
This isn't the first time diet sodas have been called out for promoting poor health and weight gain. Dr. Mehmet Oz slammed diet sodas for ruining people's metabolism and fueling weight gain. He said a healthier alternative is plain water (which is best) or antioxidant-rich green tea, which actually promotes weight loss.
Dr. Oz said diet sodas put you at risk for diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and stroke, said people who regularly drink diet sodas develop significantly larger waists over time than non-drinkers.
A 10-year study showed that people who drank just one diet soda a day had a 70% greater increase in waist circumference compared with non-drinkers. And people who drank two or more diet sodas a day experienced a shocking 500% increase in waist size.