Diet Soda Drinkers Eat More Unhealthy Foods

People who drink a lot of diet soda tend to compensate for what they see as a healthy choice by overeating unhealthy foods. That's the conclusion of a recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Researchers from the University of Illinois Department of Kinesiology and Community Health analyzed 10 years’ worth of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Participants were asked to recount everything they ate and drank during two nonconsecutive days. Rather than just focusing on what the food items were, the study zeroed in on their nutritional value, or lack thereof.

Results showed that people who chose to drink diet soda regularly generally were likely to also consume larger amounts of unhealthy foods, such as cookies, ice cream or French fries, compared to people who chose a non-diet drink, including sugary drinks and alcohol.

In fact, obese participants who drank diet beverages were more likely to consume larger amounts of unhealthy foods compared to average-weight participants who drank sugary beverages.

Researchers believe these findings support the “compensation effect,” meaning someone mistakenly thinks they can overindulge in what they eat because they've chosen what they see as a healthy option in what they drink.

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Sourced from:, Diet beverage drinkers make up the calories by snacking on unhealthy foods