Science and Health

Does Diet Soda Actually Make You Eat More Calories?

A study suggests overweight and obese adults who drink diet drinks consume more calories from food than adults who drink regular soda.

Does Diet Soda Actually Make You Eat More Calories?
Flickr / Sean

That joke about the person who orders a double cheeseburger, supersize fries and then a diet soda actually became a scientific study. 

"A new study out of Johns Hopkins looked at eating habits of Americans over 10 years. It found that diet soda drinkers who are overweight consume significantly more calories from their food." (Via WPVI)

"They found overweight and obese adults who drank diet soda ended up eating more calories compared to those who drank regular soda and other sugary drinks." (Via WCAU)

The study used surveys to examine a link between daily calorie consumption and preferences for diet or regular soda in both overweight and healthy-weight adults. (Via Los Angeles Times)

Many people have used diet soda as a tool for weight loss, but these findings suggest in overweight and obese adults, the calories cut out from switching to diet are often tacked back on with solid calories — more food.

In fact, overweight adults with a penchant for diet soda ate 88 more solid calories a day compared to those who sipped regular soda. Obese adults consumed 200 more calories. (Via Daily Mail)

One of the study's researchers says that means overweight adults who are trying to lose weight and have switched to diet drinks should look more closely at their food consumption as a result. (Via CBS)

But it gets a little confusing when it comes to healthy-weight adults. For them, diet soda could actually help maintain a healthy weight.

For adults who are not overweight, those who drank diet soda consumed 73 fewer food calories, and those who drank full-sugar added 46 food calories. (Via AllVoices)

The study did not look into why drinking diet versus regular soda could cause a difference in calorie intake, but the authors have suggested artificial sweeteners could disrupt the way our brains interpret hunger.