They are the calorie-free way of having a sweet treat, but diet drinks could still make you fat, scientists have warned.
A ten-year study of almost 500 men and women linked low-calorie soft drinks with bulging waistlines – even when taken in small quantities. Those who downed two or more diet fizzy drinks a day saw their waistbands expand at five times the rate of those who never touched the stuff, a diabetes conference heard.
The results were so dramatic that the American researchers advise that people ditch their diet drinks and use water to quench their thirst instead. Those who cannot bear to give up the sugar rush may be better off drinking normal full-sugar fizzy drinks.
Professor Helen Hazuda, of the University of Texas’s health science centre, said diet sodas and artificial sweeteners may foster a sweet tooth, distort appetite and even damage key brain cells. As a result, treating them as healthy alternatives may be ‘ill advised’
The professor, who no longer drinks diet colas and lemonades, said: ‘They may be free of calories but not of consequences.’