The “diet” swap that won’t help you lose weight

I’ve talked a lot this week about the health risks of sugary drinks. I take a hardline stance on sugar-sweetened beverages. If you ask me, they’re as risky as cigarettes. And just as with smoking, there’s no safe amount.

Unfortunately, a lot of people think they can still get their soda fix by opting for diet versions instead. But as I’ve always said, artificial sweeteners are no better for you than sugar. (In fact, they may be worse.) And a new study proves it once again.

Researchers from Imperial College London and two Brazilian universities looked at data regarding sweetened beverages and weight loss. And they found that switching from sugar-sweetened beverages to artificially sweetened beverages did absolutely nothing to help people lose weight or prevent weight gain.

The reason may be that drinking sweet beverages — regardless of how they’re sweetened — stimulates sweet taste receptors in the brain. And as a result, people crave — and subsequently eat — even more sugary foods.

There are also theories that people who drink artificially sweetened beverages compensate for the calories they’re saving by eating more.

But either way, there’s no evidence whatsoever that artificially sweetened beverages are any better than sugar-sweetened beverages when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight (and thereby preventing obesity-related conditions like diabetes and heart disease).

So, once more for good measure: There’s no reason at all to drink sweetened beverages in any form.

Stick to water, with the occasional cup of unsweetened tea or coffee.