Study warns 1 in 6 Brits consuming ‘diet’ drink that causes ‘more problems than it solves’

Doctor claims diet drinks can lead to weight gain

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A new study carried out by hydration company air up, found that millions of Brits are drinking diet soft drinks to be healthier, but it “caused more problems than it solved”. The study found that 24 percent of Brits are drinking between five to 10 diet soft drinks a week.

What’s more, two percent admit to drinking diet soft drinks in an attempt to reduce their sugar intake, but 36 percent agree that in the absence of sugar they are not entirely sure what is in no added sugar drinks to maintain their sweetness.

The study found:

  • 14 percent (4,519,000) started drinking diet soft drinks to lead a healthier lifestyle but found it caused more problems than it solved
  • 42 percent (21,297,000) drink low to zero calorie sugary drinks in an attempt to reduce their sugar intake
  • 36 percent (17,319,000) agree that in the absence of sugar, they are not entirely sure what is in no added sugar drinks to maintain their sweetness
  • 24 percent (12,131,000) agree that in a week they will drink between five to 10 low to zero calorie sugary drinks
  • 30 percent (15,701,000) find water boring so they don’t drink it much.

Why fizzy drinks present hidden health risks

YouGov have revealed that, of the top 10 soft drinks consumed in the UK, eight are jam packed full of sugars and additives.

It comes as a study by JAMA Network Open revealed that drinks made with sucralose may stimulate appetite among some people.

Sucralose is a sugar alternative that can often be found in diet fizzy drinks, which if consumers are drinking to aid weight loss may actually hinder their progress as it makes them crave more food.

The study also proposed an explanation for the link between the sugar alternative and weight gain.

“We found that females and people with obesity had greater brain reward activity” after consuming the artificial sweetener, said study author Katie Page, a physician specializing in obesity at the University of Southern California.

Both groups also had a reduction in the hormone that inhibits appetite, and they ate more food after they consumed drinks with sucralose, compared with after regular sugar-sweetened drinks.

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In contrast, the study found males and people of healthy weight did not have an increase in either brain reward activity or hunger response, suggesting they’re not affected in the same way.

“I think what was most surprising was the impact of body weight and biological sex,” Ms Page said.

“They were very important factors in the way that the brain responded to the artificial sweetener.”

The study noted that most earlier research focused on males and people of normal weight.

But this finding suggests that diet drinks sweetened with sucralose could be disadvantageous to the people who could benefit most from an effective diet strategy.

To gather their findings, Ms Page and her colleagues measured the response to diet fizzy drinks in three ways.

They used functional MRI brain images of the 74 study participants to document the activation of parts of the brain linked to appetite and cravings.

They used blood samples to measure blood sugar and metabolic hormones that can drive hunger.

And they also tracked how much participants ate at a buffet table that was open at the end of each study session.

The soft drinks market in the UK is worth £3.8 billion.

It is dominated by these sugary drinks and those labelled as “zero-calorie” are still filled with a variety of additives and sweeteners.

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