People who drink diet sodas end up consuming more calories
A new study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found that overweight and obese adults who drink diet beverages take in more food calories on average than their counterparts who drink the sugary stuff.
Lead study author Sara Bleich, associate professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Health Policy and Management, said that 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, CBS News reported.
Researchers looked at information from the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which is a population-based survey that looks at the health and nutrition of US adults. They looked particularly at diet beverage consumption, caloric intake and body weight.
Overall, diet soda consumption rates increased 17 percent from 1965 to today. Currently, about 20 percent of US adults drink diet beverages.
Despite the calories they cut by sipping on diet drinks, researchers found adults who drank diet beverages ate more calories from solid food.
The results of the study suggest that overweight and obese adults looking to lose or maintain their weight -- who have already made the switch from sugary to diet beverages -- may need to look carefully at other components of their solid-food diet, particularly sweet snacks, to potentially identify areas for modification.
The researchers believe that the artificial sweeteners may activate more reward centers in the brain.
This in turn affects a person's appetite, making the diet drinkers eat more food because they don't think they are getting enough sugar in their bloodstreams.
The study is published in the American Journal of Public Health.
(Posted on 17-01-2014)