Some people opt for diet soda thinking it’s healthier than the regular stuff, but new research suggests it might be doing more harm than good for weight loss efforts. A new study from the University of Southern California finds diet soda made with sucralose can increase food cravings, especially for women and those with obesity.
Fans of the faux sweet drinks won’t want to hear this, but it turns out, diet soda made with that type of artificial sweetener may stimulate the appetite. Study author Katie Page, a doctor specializing in obesity, explains their team found that females and people with obesity had “greater brain reward activity” after consuming the artificial sweetener.
Both groups also had a decrease in the hormone that curbs appetite and ate more food after downing drinks made with sucralose compared to regular sugar-sweetened drinks. But on the flip side? Men and people “of healthy weight” in the study didn’t have the same increase in brain reward activity or hunger response, which suggests they’re not affected in the same way.