It turns out that diet soda drinkers have the same health issues as those who drink regular soda, according to a report.
According to CNN, researchers from Purdue University reviewed a dozen studies from the past five years that document the relationship between consuming diet soda and health outcomes for a report published as an opinion piece in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism. The results were shocking.
"Honestly, I thought that diet soda would be marginally better compared to regular soda in terms of health," said Susan Swithers, the author of the opinion piece and a behavioral neuroscientist and professor of psychological sciences. "But in reality, it has a counterintuitive effect."
The issue is that the artificial sweeteners found in diet soda are teasing people’s bodies by pretending it has been given real food.
"You've messed up the whole system, so when you consume real sugar, your body doesn't know if it should try to process it because it's been tricked by the fake sugar so many times," Swithers said.
Diet soda drinkers tend to gain more weight than those that don’t because the artificial sweeteners dampen the “reward center” in your brain sometimes leading you to indulge it other sweet-tasting foods, according to the report.
"The taste of sweet does cause the release of insulin, which lowers blood sugar, and if carbohydrates are not consumed, it causes a drop in blood sugar, which triggers hunger and cravings for sugar," said CNN diet and fitness expert Dr. Melina Jampolis.
Weight gain is not the only negative effect of drinking diet soda, it can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
"We've gotten to a place where it is normal to drink diet soda because people have the false impression that it is healthier than indulging in a regular soda," Swithers said. "But research is now very clear that we need to also be mindful of how much fake sugar they are consuming."