Diet Coke or Zero Coke and the likes have always been surrounded by controversy. On one hand, you will find a community of people swearing by it, there’s another bunch that has been laying out scientific proof to state that it may not be the healthier alternative you always thought it would be. A new recent study may have just added fuel to fire. The study says that the calories saved by choosing a zero calorie drink are offset because they are consumed in food later.
The study carried out by researchers from George Washington University, was conducted on children, teenagers found that those who drank low- or zero-calorie sweetened beverages ate 200 extra calories every day compared to those who only drank water.
The research team was able to draw conclusions after analyzing dietary data from 7026 children and teens who were a part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2011 until 2016. The survey reported what pupils ate and drank over a 24 hour period. This allowed the research to segregate youths according to their eating and drinking habits. sodas, sugary versions, or both were found to consume a total of 196, 312, and 450 more calories respectively
Children who drank diet sodas, sugary versions, or both were found to consume a total of 196, 312, and 450 more calories respectively compared to those who only drank water, after the researchers adjusted for body weight.
When checking in on sugar intake, low-calorie soda drinkers consumed 14 extra calories, regular soda drinkers consumed 39 extra calories and those who consumed both consumed 46 extra calories.
For the drinkers of diet soda, which normally contains few or no calories, these calorie counts consisted predominantly of food, while for the others, the counts included both calories from the soda and food.
"These results challenge the utility of diet or low-calorie sweetened beverages when it comes to cutting calories and weight management," said lead study author Allison C. Sylvetsky, Ph.D., an assistant professor of exercise and nutrition sciences at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH).
"Our findings suggest that water should be recommended as the best choice for kids and teens."
The study author hopes that their study findings help people make better, informed decisions. Considering the one-in-three child obesity rate, this information may be crucial.
The new research reinforces the findings of a study published at the beginning of 2019 which found that replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners in soft drinks has no effect on weight loss.