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In Brief

Drinking Diet Soda Could Lead to More Snacking

fruit fly, flies, carbonation, flavor, senses, carbon dioxide, taste
According to fruit flies, yes, carbonation has flavor, but people may not be able to taste it. (Image credit: Soda image via <a href="" target="_blank">Shutterstock</a>)

Some people who try to cut down on calories by drinking diet beverages could be negating their dieting efforts by eating more food, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed information from nearly 24,000 U.S. adults who reported the food and beverages they consumed in a 24-hour period as part of a survey.

Overweight and obese adults who drank diet beverages consumed about the same number of total calories in a day as overweight and obese adults who drank regular, sugar-sweetened beverages, the study found.

That's because the obese adults who drank diet beverages consumed nearly 200 calories more from food per day than obese adults who drank sugar-sweetened beverages. Most of this increase came from eating sweet snacks, the researchers said.

"With heavier adults increasingly switching to diet beverages, the focus on reducing [sugar-sweetened beverages] may be insufficient for long-term weight-loss efforts," the researchers wrote in the Jan. 16 issue of the American Journal of Public Health . "Heavier adults who drink diet beverages will need to reduce their consumption of solid-food calories to lose weight," they said.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael has been with Live Science since 2010. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.