Experts argue over benefits of diet drinks

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 05 January 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j58
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. London

A row has blown up around the benefits of sugar-free or “diet” drinks after academics claimed, in the open access journal PLoS Medicine, that these are no more helpful than the full sugar versions for maintaining a healthy weight.1 However, other experts have criticised their conclusions and fear that they may add to public confusion.

Academics from Imperial College London and two universities in Brazil wrote in a commentary article that, although artificially sweetened beverages may be perceived by consumers as the healthier option, no solid evidence supports the claims that they are healthier or can help prevent obesity and diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

They emphasised concerns that artificially sweetened beverages may trigger compensatory …

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