Researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that consumption of diet beverages increased weight gain in obese or over weight individuals. The findings were published in the journal of American Journal of Public Health. The trend of consuming diet soda has increased substantially as the prevailing belief appears to be that consuming diet sodas and beverages decreases the amounts of calories consumed.
“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,” said Sara Bleich, PhD, associate professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management and lead author of the paper.
Prior research specified the probable reason and linked artificial sweeteners found in diet beverages to a greater activation of reward centers in the brain, altering the reward a person experiences from the sweet taste. As a result, consumption of diet drinks may result in increased food intake overall.
“The results of our 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,” said Bleich.
Sara N. Bleich, Julia A. Wolfson, Sienna Vine and Y. Claire Wang. Diet Beverage Consumption and Caloric Intake Among US Adults Overall and by Body Weight. American Journal of Public Health, January 2014