Apparently new research to be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claims that if you will only swop your ‘normal’ drinks for the ‘sugar-free’ version you can lose up to 5 per cent of your body weight in just six months.

Really?  I have never been keen on that term ‘sugar-free’ and prefer the slightly longer, but rather more truthful, description of them as ‘chemical-full.’  The diet drink industry is huge and as England now is apparently the most obese nation in Europe I am all for helpling us to lose weight – but not at the expense of the our overall health.

Diet drinks have had a bad press for the very specific reason that their ‘non-sugar’ element is all too often a chemical that has a less than sweet effect.

The American Diabetes Association’s recent study shows that while diet drinks may be free of calories, they do not prevent you from gaining weight but in fact, they may contribute to weight gain.

Artificial sweeteners can have the effect of triggering appetite but unlike regular sugars they don’t deliver something that will suppress the appetite and in fact the lack of real sugar could inhibit the body from feeling full – so you will eat more.  Along with your diet drink you can also be more vulnerable to a side helping of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions.

If you want to lose weight it is usually a multi-pronged approach that works best and encompasses diet, exercise and a good reason for doing so.   Instead of encouraging people to focus on one small element and to drink chemically enhanced products what about good old fashioned water or diluted fruit juices or is that too simple, or whisper it softly, not nearly as profitable?

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AnnA Rushton is an experienced author and speaker on health, personal development and creativity. With a background in television, theatre and advertising she is a natural communicator with a particular interest in womens health and holistic medicine. Her books include 'Natural Progesterone', How to Cope Successfully With Stress', 'Tips For Hot Flushes', 'Dealing With Procrastination' and 'How To Write Your Life Story' all of which are available at