There is no proof that sugar-free soft drinks can help weight loss and artificially-sweetened beverages (ASBs) may trigger chronic diseases, a recent released study showed.
"The absence of consistent evidence to support the role of ASBs in preventing weight gain and the lack of studies on other long-term effects on health strengthen the position that ASBs should not be promoted as part of a healthy diet," said the study, published on Tuesday and done by a group of international university professors.
Taking account of ASB composition, consumption patterns and environmental impact, they are "a potential risk factor for highly prevalent chronic diseases," the study added.
The study questioned industry-sponsored researches on ASB effects on weight control because they were likely to report favorable results.
The study also pointed that previous tests on ASB influence on weight were inconclusive because they were conducted in some randomized controlled trials and led to "mixed findings, with some indicating a null effect, while others have found modest reductions in weight."
However, the study also aroused controversy. Gavin Partington, head of the British Soft Drinks Association, told The Guardian that research showed that low-calorie sweeteners in diet drinks helped consumers manage their weight as part of a calorie-controlled diet.
Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England also told The Guardian that "maintaining a healthy weight takes more than just swapping one product for another. Calories consumed should match calories used, so looking at the whole diet is very important."