A warning has been issued by scientists that diet drinks, which are labeled as the calorie-free way of having a sweet treat, could make people fat.
A diabetes conference heard that waistbands of people who downed two or more diet fizzy drinks a day expand at five times the rate of those who never touched such drinks.
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’
Sharon Fowler, who was involved in the research, said: ‘Artificial sweeteners could have the effect of triggering appetite but unlike regular sugars they don’t deliver something that will squelch the appetite.’