Use of diet sodas, sweetened with non-caloric sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin, has increased enormously over the last twenty-five years, as consumers try to steer clear of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. About 30 percent of American adults regularly consume these sweeteners. But a recent review study by Susie Swithers, Purdue University professor of psychological sciences and a behavioral neuroscientist, found that consumption of diet soft drinks increases the likelihood of overeating.
One large study found that people who drink artificially sweetened sodas are more likely to experience weight gain than those who drink non-diet sodas. Other studies found that those who drink diet soda have twice the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, often a precursor to cardiovascular disease, than those who abstained (Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, 24(9):431–441, September 2013).