Study: Diet drinks don't save calories for kids and teens

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Thursday, May 2, 2019
Study: Diet drinks don't help reduce calorie count for kids and teens
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Study: Diet drinks don't help reduce calorie count for kids and teens - Monica Malpass reports during Action News at 5pm on May 2, 2019.

WASHINGTON (WPVI) -- A new study suggests that drinking diet beverages doesn't help kids or teens reduce their daily calorie consumption.

In fact, researchers at George Washington University say kids in the study consumed about 200 extra calories a day compared to kids who drink water.

The team used diet logs collected from 7,000 children and teens enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2011 to 2016.

Participants reported what they drank during a 24-hour period.

In the survey, researchers say kids who reported drinking low-calorie sweetened beverages such as diet soda not only ate and drank more calories compared to those who drank water, they also took in more calories from added sugars.

The Calorie Control Council, which represents the diet soda industry, says the study wasn't a fair representation of kids' eating or drinking patterns.

It noted the study only looked at one day, not longer-term patterns. It also said the study didn't take into account changes in body weight.

The results are important because nearly one in three kids in the United States is now overweight or has obesity, putting them at a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems.

The American Heart Association has issued a science advisory urging parents against prolonged consumption of low-calorie sweetened beverages by children.