Bad news for diet soda lovers: the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks are just as unhealthy for you as the original full-sugar version, a recent study found.
In fact, drinking diet soda has no connection to weight loss, researchers from the Imperial College London and two Brazilian universities state. Experts speculate that this is because people are more likely to eat more because they think they’ve ordered a healthier drink.
“A common perception, which may be influenced by industry marketing, is that because ‘diet’ drinks have no sugar they must be healthier and aid weight loss when used as a substitute for full-sugar versions. However, we found no solid evidence to support this,” senior investigator at Imperial’s School of Public Health, Christopher Millet, told The Guardian.
To make matters worse, artificially sweetened beverages have a tendency to stimulate your sweet taste buds, making that chocolate cake on the dessert menu look so much more tempting.
The Dangers of Diet Soda
Still not convinced enough to say goodbye to diet sodas? Consider this: diet soda drinkers have been found to have a 70 percent greater waist circumference compared to non-drinkers, according to a 2015 study from the University of Texas.
More importantly, the consumption of sweetened beverages like diet drinks is linked to a higher risk of depression. In a 2013 study of more than 250,000 people, those who drank four cans or cups of soda were 30 percent more likely to develop depression. According to researchers, the risk is greatest for those who drink diet soda or diet juice beverages.
When you’re thinking about what drink to sip on, keep in mind that diet sodas aren’t the only drinks filled with artificial sweeteners. Drinks like lemonade, blended coffee drinks, and iced teas contain high amounts of absorbable sugars and artificial sweeteners that can contribute to the risk of type two diabetes, The Canadian Diabetes Association warns.
Ready to kick sugary drinks to the curb? For a healthier carbonated drink, try adding a splash of your favourite fruit juice to a glass of sparkling water.