People who consume diet beverages to lose weight should be aware about the actual effect of those beverages. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that obese adults who drank diet beverages consumed more calories from food than obese or overweight adults who drink regular soda or other sugary beverages. The results are featured in the January 16 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Individuals who drink diet soda typically have a higher BMI (Body Mass Index) and consume more food than those who drink sugary beverages. New analysis found that people who consumed diet beverages tend to be less healthy than people who did not consume them.

The major cause of this increased appetite are the artificial sweeteners which replace natural sugars. Artificial sweeteners, which are present in high doses in diet beverages, have a great impact on the brain. Artificial sweeteners disrupt appetite control, which may result in increased food intake. Those who chose diet drinks got more of their calories from food, compared to those who consumed non diet beverages. Artificial sweeteners have an adverse affect on metabolism and cravings.

The reason why artificial sweeteners disrupt brain activity is explained below.

Your brain responds to the taste of food by preparing the digestive system to properly process the food consumed, but artificial sweeteners do not activate the brain and digestive processes in the same way real sugar does, and this disconnect leads to increased appetite. Studies have found that the sweet taste sends signals to your brain to send out insulin to handle the incoming sugar. When you drink diet soda, however, there is no sugar for the insulin to process. This insulin imbalance leads to an increase in appetite, especially for sugary foods, because the body seeks to use the released insulin. The artificial sugar in diet sodas teases your body by pretending to give it real food. But when your body doesn't get what it expects, it’s response mechanisms falter.

On a physiological level, this means when diet soda drinkers consume real sugar, the body doesn’t release the hormone that regulates blood sugar and blood pressure.

So its better to completely eliminate the diet beverages. Consume naturally sweetened beverages in a very controlled manner and slowly learn to avoid it over time because our recommended sugar intake is already fulfilled by other foods that we consume on a regular basis. Control sugar consumption in regular beverages like tea and coffee, where we unknowingly consume more sugar than we need to.