Diet drinks linked to snacking and weight gain

Researchers found that overweight adults who drank diet sodas were more likely to eat high calorie foods

Sipping on diet soft drinks is seen by many as a guilt-free indulgence, but a new study may have uncovered a link between the drinks and weight gain.

Researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US found that overweight and obese adults who drink diet soda eat food more high calorie food than those who opt for non-diet drinks.

Adults who consume diet soft drinks were found to have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) score and were more likely to snack on high calorie food than those who consumed sugary drinks.

The scientists studied 11 years’ worth of data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to map patterns of drink consumption and calorie intake.

Dr Sara Bleich, associate professor at Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management Lead, and author of the paper, said: “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.”

The study published in the ‘American Journal of Public Health’ found overweight diet-soda-drinkers ate 1,965 calories a day, compared with the 1,874 consumed by heavy people who drank regular sugar-sweetened beverages. The researchers have called this data “statistically significant”.

The American Beverage Association, the organisation which represents the interests of non-alcoholic drinks companies, said in a statement: "Losing or maintaining weight comes down to balancing the total calories consumed with those burned through physical activity."

Critics also said the analysis, based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey between 1999 and 2010, is flawed and that it is too early to say what, if any, role the low-calorie drinks or their artificial sweeteners play in weight loss.

Bonnie Liebman, the director of nutrition at the US Center for Science in the Public Interest, said “you're much better off with water - or coffee or tea, if they're unsweetened.”

Additional reporting by Reuters

Read more
The 4:3 diet? 5:2? Overnight? Why your fancy New Year weight-loss regime won't work
Sugar vs Fat, TV review: Binge twins make a meal of it
'Sugar is the new tobacco': Cuts to amounts hidden in food could halt obesity epidemic, claim doctors
 

See below the tastiest ready meals on the market

 
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Designer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity for someone wi...

    Recruitment Genius: Building Manager / Head Porter

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

    Recruitment Genius: Medical Copywriter / Account Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join an awa...

    Recruitment Genius: Transport Clerk / Debriefer

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading temperature contro...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific