Popular “diet” drinks FUEL weight gain

You know how I feel about artificial sweeteners—or artificial anything, for that matter. 

They’re toxic. And they RUIN your health. 

This is especially true for people trying to lose weight. Because those “diet” drinks you’re consuming? Well, they’re sabotaging your waistline.  

But you don’t just have to take my word for it.  

Researchers from the Keck School of Medicine at USC have results to prove it… 

“Diet” drinks trick your brain into feeling hungrier 

This new analysis confirmed that drinks sweetened with sucralose (Splenda) can ratchet up hunger and cravings in women and obese people.  

This study featured 74 subjects—half were men, and half were women. Each subject was identified according to weight category (healthy weight, overweight, or obese). They all drank 300 milliliters of a sugar-sweetened beverage, a sucralose-sweetened beverage, or water throughout three separate visits.  

In the two hours that followed consumption of these drinks, the researchers looked at three different responses:  

  1. Brain activation in centers linked to appetite and food cravings. 
  2. Levels of blood sugar and insulin as well as other metabolic hormones. 
  3. The amount of food consumed at a snack buffet offered after the session.  

And needless to say, some concerning differences emerged…  

For one thing, MRIs showed higher activity in craving and appetite brain centers among both women and obese people after drinking sucralose-sweetened (“diet”) drinks. (And yes, that’s compared to sugar-sweetened beverages.)   

Results also saw a drop in satiety hormones across the board among the “diet” beverage drinkers. This didn’t influence food intake for the male subjects at the snack buffet—but it did affect the females: They ended up eating more 

In other words, this study found that artificially sweetened drinks can trick your brain into feeling HUNGRIER. (I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like a “diet” product to me!) 

Substitute wisely  

This is one of the largest studies to look at the effects that artificial sweeteners have on appetite. But it’s hardly the first to wave this particular red flag 

In fact, I’ve reported on this multiple times—highlighting how “diet” beverages fuel weight gain, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders. And yet, nearly HALF of the adults in this country turn to sugar substitutes as a way to cut calories while feeding their sweet tooth.  

Of course, these products are marketed directly to dieters—which is a true tragedy. But if you’re trying to lose weight—or healthily satisfy a sweet tooth—let me be clear… 

Do NOT turn to artificial sweeteners (made from chemicals). There are safer, natural options out there.  

Monkfruit and stevia are two of my favorites. These are plant-based sugar substitutes that I even use myself from time to time… like to sweeten dark cacao. (Check out how I use it for dessert crepes in this Cooking With Dr. Fred show.) 

For more research behind the detrimental effects of artificial sweeteners, take a look at the October 2011 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“The skinny on sweeteners”). Not yet a subscriber? Click here to become one! 

And in the meantime… caveat emptor, my dear readers. Because this is one case where buyers should definitely beware. 


Looking to lose weight? Diet drinks might not be the sweet spot, according to new USC study.” EurekAlert, 09/28/2021. (eurekalert.org/news-releases/929587)