Researcher: Diet sodas aren't sweet solution for healthier drinks

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WKYT) - There are new questions about diet soda.

According to a Purdue University expert's review of recent scientific studies over the past five years drinking diet soda does not lead to better health than drinking regular soda.

"Public health officials are rightfully concerned about the consequences of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, but these warnings may need to be expanded to advocate limiting the intake of all sweeteners, including no-calorie sweeteners and so-called diet soft drinks," said Susan E. Swithers, a professor of psychological sciences and a behavioral neuroscientist. "Although it seems like common sense that diet sodas would not be problematic, that doesn't appear to be the case."

Swithers says findings from a variety of studies show that routine consumption of diet sodas, even one per day, can be connected to higher likelihood of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure, in addition to contributing to weight gain.

The review was published as an opinion piece in the journal "Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism."

Swithers, who studies ingestive behavior and body weight -specifically the roles that artificial sweeteners and other food substitutes play in weight management and eating - reviewed and evaluated the most recent research on whether consuming high-intensity sweeteners, despite their zero or low calories, may result in overeating, weight gain or other health problems.

The American Beverage Association dismissed the report, saying it was "an opinion piece, not a scientific study." The association describes low-calorie sweeteners as an effective tool in weight loss.

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