Diet soda may lead to weight gain
Drinking calorie-free diet soda instead of sugar-laden regular soda should help people lose weight. However, according to research published in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, drinking diet beverages can have just the opposite effect. The research found that drinking diet drinks frequently could have negative effects on metabolism, and can actually increase the chances of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Susan Swithers, the lead researcher on the study, noted that the non-caloric sweeteners can result in people having weaker responses to sweet tastes, which can lead to overconsumption. People have brain-stimulating taste responses to artificial sweeteners, but these chemicals do not provide the calorific energy that the body craves as sugar might. This can lead to a Pavlovian effect, Swithers surmised, which leads to a weakened response to flavors.
Despite the potential negative impact of diet drinks, this is not necessarily an endorsement of switching back to calorie-heavy drinks. However, with more than 30 percent of the American adult population drinking artificial sweeteners, it’s a warning to cut down on consumption.