If you're weight-conscious, drinking diet soda may seem like a smart choice. After all, for years health educators recommended using low or no-calorie sugar substitutes for weight loss.
But the truth is that no-calorie sweeteners may make it harder for dieters to control their intake.Researchers speculate that the body associates sweetness with high-calorie foods. When no calories are actually consumed, people may overeat because their body is "looking" for those missing calories.
When I read about this study, it made sense to me. I've never been a big pop drinker, but when I do, I notice that it makes me really full for a couple hours, but then the sensation seems to abruptly disappear and I get really hungry. Maybe at that point, my body is realizing I didn't really consume any calories.
It is important to note that the study was on rats, not people, and it only studied the effect of saccharin, not aspartame (Splenda.) Diet Coke includes both saccharin and aspartame.
Another study found that aspartame, as a replacement for sugar, is effective for weight loss. The important difference between the two studies? In the first study, the rats ate according to natural impulses. In the second study, the participants were replacing sugar with aspartame, so they were eating less overall calories.
So, my conclusion is that if you are going to consume "fake sugars," (and ignore other possible negative health effects) consider the fact that they may make you hungrier, and you may have to keep a closer eye on your calories than if you were skipping diet soda.