Healthy living * Weight loss

Low calorie diet drinks may make you fatter

Low calorie diet drinks may make you fatter Stick to water

Drinking diet soft drinks in an effort to cut calories may be counter productive as researchers say they may actually cause you to gain weight.

The study found that people who drank diet soft drinks daily had on average a 70 per cent increased waist measurement, compared with those who drank none.

Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center tracked 474 men and women aged between 65 to 74 for around nine and a half years.

Height, weight, waist circumference and diet soft drink consumption was recorded at the start of the study and at three follow-up checks during the study period.

As a group, diet soft drink users had a 70 per cent greater increase in waist circumference compared with non-drinkers.

But those who drank two or more diet drinks daily had on average a 500 per cent increase in waist circumference compared with people who drank none.

Abdominal fat is a major risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other chronic health conditions.

The results of the study were true after adjusting for other factors which contribute to weight gain, including age, physical activity, diabetes, educational attainment and whether the person smoked.

Professor Helen Hazuda, who led the study, said: "Data from this and other prospective studies suggest that the promotion of diet sodas and artificial sweeteners as healthy alternatives may be ill-advised.

"They may be free of calories but not of consequences."

The study findings were presented at the American Diabetes Association's Scientific Sessions in San Diego.

This article was published on Thu 7 July 2011

Image © Lori Martin -

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