Diet fizzy drinks won’t keep children’s weight down because they just end up eating more, research has found.
Although the drinks are designed to be healthier by cutting out sugar, children who choose them eat sugar in other things to make up the difference.
Researchers looked at the diets of more than 7,000 children in the US and found only those who mostly drank water consumed fewer calories.
Soft drinks, whether diet or not, bumped up children’s calorie counts – while full sugar drinks had a worse effect, diet drinks were still noticeably worse than water.
Those drinking diet drinks consumed around 200 calories extra elsewhere in their diets and more added sugar in other food and drink.
The scientists said their findings suggest diet drinks are not of any use in trying to lose weight.
Researchers from George Washington University in Washington DC carried out the research as part of ongoing work on the drawbacks of soft drinks.
Study author, Dr Allison Sylvetsky, said: ‘These results challenge the utility of diet or low-calorie sweetened beverages when it comes to cutting calories and weight management.