Research: Diet soda may contribute to weight gain, other health concerns


PITTSBURGH -- A recent Harvard health publication stated that diet soda and the artificial sweeteners found in it can cause weight gain and other health concerns.

The study concluded that artificial sweeteners are thousands of times sweeter than table sugar, so people who consume them on a regular basis wind up desensitized to sweetness. The researchers said those people may also decline to eat foods that are less sweet like fruits and vegetables because they become unappetizing.

"What we think now is people who take an inordinate amount of drinks that have sweeteners in them are actually more at risk for diabetes and obesity. The thinking is, is that the body craves sugar because it's being tricked," said Dr. Wayne A. Evron, an Allegheny General Hospital endocrinologist.

Evron said sugar is not the enemy.

"It's certain kinds of sugar. If you deprive your body of sugar completely then it's going to crave it and probably overcrave it. So that's not a good thing either," Evron said.

Research also shows that too much use of artificial sweeteners may actually lead to more serious health problems like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.