Deep in our hearts, we’ve always had a feeling that Diet Coke and other sugar-free versions of our favourite drinks are probably too good to be true.
Though this hasn’t stopped us buying and drinking them.
And sadly, according to a new review of research on the matter, we might have been right all along; there’s currently no evidence that our ‘diet’ versions are actually any healthier than the real deal.
Apparently researchers found there’s nothing to support the claims that sugar-free versions of drinks combat obesity, Type 2 diabetes and other related illnesses.
And they found that studies that do show a positive link between diet drinks and weight loss – often sponsored by the food industry itself – could be (unsurprisingly) biased.
They also discovered that researchers contributing to these failed to disclose any conflicts of interest, ie. relationships with the food industry.
Senior investigator Professor Christopher Millett, from Imperial College London’s School of Public Health, told Metro: “A common perception, which may be influenced by industry marketing, is that because ‘diet’ drinks have no sugar, they must be healthier and aid weight loss when used as a substitute for full sugar versions.
“However, we found no solid evidence to support this.”
But while this isn’t exactly wonderful news for us Diet Coke quaffers, our other fear – that these drinks have always been secretly harmful in some way – can be put to rest for now.
Leading British nutritionist Professor Susan Jebb from Oxford University, said that although evidence is mixed, we don’t need to believe that drinking diet drinks instead of sugary ones is doing us harm.
“For people seeking to manage their weight, tap water is without question the best drink to choose, for health and the environment, but for many people who are used to drinking sugary drinks, this will be too hard a change to make,” she said.
“Artificially sweetened drinks are a step in the right direction to cut calories.”
So until some more cutting-edge research on ‘diet’ drinks comes our way, let’s not assume that they’ll be a silver bullet to weight loss.
But there’s no harm in buying that Diet Coke instead of a sugary one this afternoon.
Do you think artificially sweetened drinks help with weight loss? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK.