Sugar-free diet soda has gotten a free pass in the recent debates on soda regulation, covered in Monday’s Econundrum. Proponents of soda bans or taxes have attacked Big Gulps and other giant drinks sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup, but DIET COKE devotees may want to hold off on gloating. Anew study found that diet soda drinkers had altered brain responses to saccharin (Sweet’N Low) compared to nondrinkers.
Diet soda may be bad precisely because it has no sugar and fewer calories. When you eat something sweet, researchers have argued, your body comes to expect a caloric boost. Low or no calorie artificial sweeteners could screw up this link in the brain.