Americans consume an average of 27 ounces or two cans of diet pop daily. According to research, we also ingest additional artificial sweeteners in cookies, yogurt and other products and obesity rates have soared.
According to the American Dietetic Association, we are swapping sugary, high calorie beverages for low- or no-calorie artificially sweetened beverages like diet soda which can potentially help you cut calories and lose weight.
A recent review of hundreds of studies on non-calorie sweeteners, appetite and food intake published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that substituting a soda with artificial sweeteners for a sugary beverage can help lower calorie intake but there’s no evidence it helps you keep off the pounds in the long-term.
According to researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, drinking diet soda could actually put you at a greater risk of weight gain. Normal weight people who drank 3 servings or more of diet soda a day, at least 21 weekly servings, were at double the risk for becoming overweight or obese after seven to eight years compared to people who skipped diet drinks.
And people who consumed at least one daily serving of diet soda (versus none) were more likely to develop a high waist circumference, a condition linked with diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, according to a recent study.
The American Dietetic Association says there's no conclusive evidence that diet sodas directly cause weight gain, but one expert believes an artificial sweetener habit may over stimulate our taste receptors for sweetness.
Director of the Optimal Weight for Life Program at Children’s Hospital in Boston, cites animal studies that suggest consuming diet drinks alone (not with food) can confuse or disrupt the body’s ability to determine calorie content based on sweetness. As a result, the hyped-up sugar receptors could increase hunger and food intake, and contribute to weight gain. People would crave more high-calorie sweet foods and fewer healthful, less sweet foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes.