WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - You might be surprised to learn drinking diet drinks may be no better for you than regular drinks. That's what a Purdue University professor has discovered.
Susan E. Swithers, a professor of psychological sciences and a behavioral neuroscientist, is the author of an article published Wednesday in the journal "Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism."
"Over the long term, there are a lot of negative consequences to drinking diet sodas," said Swithers.
Some of those consequences include weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and metabolic syndrome.
Swithers explained although saccharin was discovered in the late 19th century, the use and consumption of the artificial sweetener has increased rapidly over the past 30 years.
She claims data shows the rise in the overweight and obesity rate is parallel to the increased consumption of artificial sweeteners. About 30 percent of adults and 15 percent of children in the U.S. consume artificial sweeteners.
Swithers said it seems like it should be common sense that you should get better health outcomes if you take something that has calories like sugar and replace it with something that doesn't like an artificial sweetener. People assume less calories is the better option. In reality, there are other unintended consequences.
Swithers explains it's really not about regular versus diet beverages. She said the concern should be how much soda we drink in general. Regular soda has its health consequences as well. She isn't discouraging people from ever drinking soda but advises consumers to be mindful of what they drink and how much.
"It's like candy in a can," she said. "Many people wouldn't consider sitting down and having six packages of candy a day but it's not uncommon to find people who are willing to drink six cans of soda in a day."
Swithers' article on why artificial sweeteners are not the sweet solution to fight obesity is scheduled to appear in the "Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism" July 10 issue.
American Beverage Association spokesman Chris Gindlesperger reached out to WLFI Wednesday with this statement:
"This is an opinion piece, not a scientific study. Low-calorie sweeteners are some of the most studied and reviewed ingredients in the food supply today. They are safe and an effective tool in weight loss and weight management, according to decades of scientific research and regulatory agencies around the globe."
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