As previously discussed, DRINK was a randomized intervention study that gave children either regular or diet soda for a year and surprise surprise, the regular soda drinkers gained about more body fat than the diet soda drinkers (de Ruyter et al., 2012). And in the follow-up, with an opposite study design, overweight & obese children who continued to drink regular soda gained twice as much weight as those who cut their intake (Ebbeling et al., 2012). There was no apparent black box in the latter study as the kids who stopped drinking soda also decreased their intake of other foods…
wait a minute … By switching from regular soda to diet, you just end up compensating by eating more of something else, right? My initial response to that has always been that it doesn’t matter – ANYTHING else is better than a straight shot of 100% HFCS (+ some other chemicals). But those kids didn’t do that. they ate less of other foods.
Does HFCS soda make you eat more?
A recent study has put a little more fuel on this fire. Similar to the abovementioned two, it’s not a sophisticated study designed to accurately assess the impact of regular soda on appetite, satiety, hunger, etc., but it supports the theory that diet soda negative calories are NOT compensated for by eating more of something else.
Food and beverages associated with higher intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (Mathias et al., 2013)
It was another big cross-sectional NHANES study that simply asked how much regular soda, diet soda, and other foods kids were eating.
They showed that as soda intake increased, so did total calories, which could simply mean the soda was adding calories to their diets. This would indirectly support the opposite of the above mentioned theory, namely, that soda calories aren’t compensated for. But it gets better (or worse, depending how you look at it):
soda didn’t simply add to the total calorie intake. More often than not, calorie intake increased above and beyond that contributed by the soda. And it wasn’t just that bigger kids were drinking more soda and eating more food – these data were controlled for body weight. The authors estimated that for every 100 kcal of soda drank, an additional 36 – 86 kcal of food was eaten.
salt makes you thirsty, and now soda makes you hungry?