In my opinion, yes they do!!
Sugar-free and diet drinks are not helpful for weight loss and could even cause people to pile on the pounds, researchers at Imperial College have claimed.
A review of dozens of studies dating back 30 years found that there is no solid evidence that sugar-free alternatives prevent weight gain, type 2 diabetes or help maintain a healthy Body Mass Index. (BMI)
Although artificially-sweetened beverages contain fewer calories than sugary versions, researchers say they still trigger sweet receptors in the brain, which may make people crave food. Coupled with the fact that most people view diet drinks as healthier, it could lead to over-consumption, the researchers argue that:-
“A common perception, which may be influenced by industry marketing, is that because ‘diet’ drinks have no sugar, they must be healthier and aid weight loss when used as a substitute for full sugar versions,” said Professor Christopher Millett, senior investigator from Imperial’s School of Public Health.
“However we found no solid evidence to support this. Far from helping to solve the global obesity crisis, artificially-sweetened beverages may be contributing to the problem and should not be promoted as part of a healthy diet.”
I absolutely agree with this and have seen the evidence for myself in the patients we treat. There is definitely a direct link with obesity and the consumption of diet drinks.
The multi-billion pound drinks industry will argue back because encouraging drinking plain old water would not be a good look for them and would indeed leave a very bitter taste in the 'fat cat' mouths of these multi-billion pound conglomerates.
But the simple truth is that plain water is good for you and doesn't have to be boring. If you still need a bit of fizz, plain sparking water with a squeeze of natural lemon juice or cucumber slices, is so refreshing, a lot cheaper and is genuinely zero calories.
The chemical constituents of diet drinks such as artificial sweeteners, saccharins, aspartame etc are known to cause cancer, gastro-intestinal problems, mental health issues and other serious diseases. In some countries, they are actually banned because of the dangers to our health.
May as well be buying a bottle of poison.