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Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Tuesday, July 5, 2011

London: Diet drinks are the calorie-free way of having a sweet treat, but beware, they could still make you pile on extra pounds.

A 10-year American study of about 500 men and women linked low-calorie soft drinks with expanding girths -- even when taken in small quantities.

Those who downed two or more diet fizzy drinks a day saw their waistbands expand at five times the rate of those who never touched it.

The results were so dramatic that the researchers advise that people ditch their diet drinks and use water to quench their thirst instead, according to the Daily Mail.

Professor Helen Hazuda, University of Texas's Health Science Centre, said diet sodas and artificial sweeteners may foster a sweet tooth, distort appetite and even damage key brain cells.

The professor, who no longer drinks diet colas and lemonades, said: 'They may be free of calories but not of consequences.'

Hazuda tracked the health and habits of 474 adults for an average of nine-and-a-half years. She then compared the growth in waistline of those who consumed diet drinks with the others, including some who only buy regular fizzy drinks.

Overall, those who favoured diet drinks saw their waists expand 70 percent faster.

The effect was especially pronounced in those who watched a lot of television. Children aged six to 13, who were shown commercials for high fat and high carbohydrate foods, were more likely to pick meals that were bad for them.

These children in particular wanted burgers and fries instead of a salad.


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