A new diet soda study has seemingly contradicted previous beliefs that consumption of the sweet but calorie free drinks has an undesired effect: increasing appetite and, thus, incremental weight gain.
The new diet soda study adds to heaps of conflicting data about the much maligned drink. Much like eggs, it seems research can’t come to a conclusion about which if any effects the drinks have on our health and waistlines.
Previous diet soda research has seemed to indicate that those who regularly consume diet drinks have higher appetites or that the beverages increase cravings for sweet or calorie dense foods. But the new data is less clear, and Vasanti Malik, a nutrition researcher from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, explains that part of the prevailing belief centered upon the relative sweetness of artificial sugar alternatives:
“Artificial sweeteners are a lot sweeter than regular sugar, on the order of 250 times sweeter, so that’s where the concerns came from.”
Carmen Piernas of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School spearheaded the new diet soda study, and, while researchers found that diet drinks don’t necessarily boost appetite, that’s not a pass to consume it at will without concern about negative (and potentially deadly) effects of excess soda consumption.
The new diet soda study included more than 200 obese or overweight adults, divided into thirds, and summarily advised to drink diet drinks, regular soft drinks, or water. Reuters Health explains:
“According to the new report, water and diet beverage drinkers reduced their average daily calories relative to the start of the study, from between 2,000 and 2,300 calories to 1,500 to 1,800 calories. At both time points, people in the two groups were eating a similar amount of total calories, carbohydrates, fat and sugar, the research team reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”
Malik, who was not involved in the new diet soda study, opined:
“I think (diet drinks) can be consumed in moderation, along with other beverages – water, coconut water, sparkling water, that type of thing.”
The new diet soda study was in part funded by Nestle Waters USA.