Share on PinterestIn a new study, diet drinks increased food cravings for certain groups of people. Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images
- Previous research investigating the usefulness of diet drinks for people trying to lose weight has not been conclusive.
- There are also questions regarding whether non-nutritive sweeteners are healthy.
- A new study concludes that these sweeteners may not reduce a dieter’s calorie intake in the long run because they increase cravings.
- The study looks specifically at the artificial sweetener sucralose.
A 12-ounce (oz) can of the most popular cola drink in the United States has 140 calories, while a 20-oz plastic bottle contains 240 calories.
For people who are interested in losing weight but enjoy cola or other high calorie, sugar-sweetened soft drinks, a diet version with close to zero calories may seem an attractive option.
However, a new study led by researchers from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles suggests that drinks containing low calorie artificial sweeteners may not be as helpful for weight loss as many assume.
The study found that the non-nutritive sweetener (NNS) sucralose, which many diet drinks include as an ingredient, increases food cravings in women and people with obesity compared with drinks containing sucrose, a natural sugar.
Sucralose, also known by the brand name “Splenda,” is in many diet drinks. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) most recently published list of approved artificial sweeteners includes sucralose, saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), neotame, and advantame.
Research suggests that more than 40% of U.S. adults consume NNS-sweetened diet sodas to satisfy a craving for sweetness without incurring a caloric penalty.
The study findings appear in the journal JAMA Network Open.
“There is controversy surrounding the use of artificial sweeteners because a lot of people are using them for weight loss,” says Kathleen Page, M.D., the study’s senior investigator.
“While some studies suggest they may be helpful, others show …….