Is that diet pop failing to help you lose weight? Not much of a plan, huh?
A new study published in Appetite has shed some light on the issue: even though sugar-free pop can be calorie-free too, you can still gain weight if you make it a habit because of its psychological effect on you.
Researchers had 115 undergraduates drink one of three things: Sprite (which is sweetened), Sprite Zero (which is artificially sweetened), or mineral water (which had lemon-lime flavour but was otherwise unsweetened). All beverages were served in unmarked cups. Each subject then opened a box containing three things: a pack of sugar-free gum, a pack of M&Ms, and a bottle of water. The subjects then evaluated the graphics and packaging of the products in order to distract them from the actual point of the study. As they were leaving, they were told to choose one of the products to take with them.
Here’s the rub: those who drank the Sprit Zero were 2.93 times more likely to take the bag of M&Ms than those who drank the Sprit or the mineral water.
Researchers guess that artificial sweetness confuses the body; it’s expecting energy because of the sweetness, but it gets nothing. So, you end up craving the next sweet thing to cross your path.
Here’s our advice: reach for the regular pop. But just have one.