FAT Americans who drink diet beverages are likely to eat more than those who have sugar drinks, a new survey reveals.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University analysed data from a U.S. survey of 24,000 people over a period of 10 years. People who were overweight or obese generally consumed the same amount of calories a day no matter what they drank, but those who chose diet drinks got more of those calories from food.
Outside experts were quick to caution that it is not clear what role, if any, diet drinks such as low- or no-calorie versions of sodas, sports drinks and teas played for people who ate more.
In the study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, overweight drinkers of diet beverages in the United States ate 1,965 in food calories a day compared to 1,874 calories among heavy people who drank regular sugar-sweetened beverages.
Among obese diet beverage drinkers, those who consumed low- or no-calorie drinks ate 2,058 calories a day in food versus 1,897 food calories for those who had regular drinks, researchers said.
Such differences were statistically significant, they added.
Lead author Sara Bleich said the results, when paired with other research, suggest that artificial sweeteners may affect people’s metabolism or cravings, although more study is needed.
She acknowledged that people could be deciding to eat more since they are saving calories with their diet drinks.