I have been asking the question for years – why, when we are told how bad sugary fizzy drinks are for us, do they (whoever they are) never advise us to take the diet/sugar free ones instead.
As a reasonably health conscious consumer, I have always bought sugar free drinks, thinking they were a much healthier option.
So research by Imperial College London comes as a huge and very interesting surprise.
Academics from the college and two Brazilian universities conclude that sugar-free drinks may be no better for preventing weight gain than full sugar options and may also be bad for the environment.
The report explains: “Despite having no or very little energy content, there is a concern that artificially-sweetened beverages (ASBs) might trigger compensatory food intake by stimulating sweet taste receptors. This, together with the consumers’ awareness of the low-calorie content of ASBs, may result in overconsumption of other foods, thus contributing to obesity, type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related health problems.”
Also their effect on the environment is caused by the fact that up to 300 litres of water is required to produce a 0.5 L plastic bottle of carbonated soft drink.
The authors of the report concluded: “Far from helping to solve the global obesity crisis, ASBs may be contributing to the problem and should not be promoted as part of a healthy diet.”
This has certainly given me food for thought (excuse the pun).