A recent study settles the debate on whether or not diet pop saves calories at fast-food outlets or whether it gives consumers the green light to buy that extra burger, dessert or large fries.
What’s the verdict?
Researchers from the UBC Sauder School of Business examined 9,000 McDonald’s meals involving more than 2,000 people, where roughly 64 per cent ordered regular soft drinks and 20 per cent ordered diet pop. They found no evidence that consumers are using diet drinks to justify other indulgences.
What about the calorie count?
The study also found that people who bought diet drinks had significantly lower overall calorie counts: 298 fewer calories (18 fewer teaspoons of sugar) for those who ordered a large diet drink and 156 fewer calories (roughly 10 fewer teaspoons) for those ordering a medium one.
Why does this matter?
Professor Emeritus Dr. Charles Weinberg (he/him), co-author on the study, says that although drinking water with a meal is the healthiest option, health authorities may want think about how diet drinks can fit into a harm-reduction strategy since they provide a healthier alternative to sugary drinks. Read more here.
Interview language(s): English