Drink regular fizzy drink instead of diet version when eating carbs, study suggests

Caroline Allen
Contributor
The diet option might not be a good idea after all. (Getty Images)

We’ve all ordered fast food and thought it a good idea to offset the carbs with a diet drink.

It turns out that theory might not be right after all.

New research suggests that we might be better off ordering the full-fat version of our favourite drinks to guzzle down post-meal instead.

When diet drinks are consumed on their own, the artificial sweeteners - which are used as sugar replacements - have no impact.

When consumed alongside a carb heavy meal, the sweeteners act to decrease the brain’s response to sweet tastes.

That means we’re more likely to eat sweet treats to satisfy our cravings.

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The Yale University trial looked at 45 healthy volunteers over a two week basis.

During that time, they consumed seven beverages each.

The researchers looked at the brains response to sweet tastes before, during and after the beverages.

The drinks given to the 45 participants differed with some drinking sweet soft drinks (with added sugar) and others having drinks with the carbohydrate maltodextrin.

The brains belonging to the latter group showed more signs of change in response to the sweetness.

“When we set out to do this study, the question that was driving us was whether or not repeated consumption of an artificial sweetener would lead to a degrading of the predictive ability of sweet taste.” Dana Small, director of the modern diet and physiology research centre at Yale University, said.

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“This would be important because sweet-taste perception might lose the ability to regulate metabolic responses that prepare the body for metabolising [sic] glucose or carbohydrates in general.

“Perhaps the effect resulted from the gut generating inaccurate messages to send to the brain about the number of calories present.

“The gut would be sensitive to the sucralose and the maltodextrin and signal that twice as many calories are available than are actually present.” She continued.

Overall, the study concluded that while it’s ok to have diet fizzy drinks once in a while, drinking them with carbs is not advised.

“‘If you’re eating French fries, you’re better off drinking a regular Coke or – better yet – water. This has changed the way that I eat, and what I feed my son. I’ve told all my friends and my family about this interaction.” She concluded.

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Similar studies have been brought to our attention before, with a study stating that diet soft drinks were just has bad as their regular counterparts.

The NHS said that whilst that study brought up interesting links and associations, “a single dietary cause for the metabolic syndrome is unlikely.”