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One More Reason to Drop Diet Sodas

New research shows that by tricking the brain, carbonated soft drinks make you crave more sugar.

Still think diet sodas are a good way keep off the pounds? Think again.

We've told you in the past that diet sodas might be the cause of some pretty frightening health problems, but if you're still not convinced, a new study slams one more nail in the coffin. In an article published in Gastroenterology, researchers found that carbonation tricks the brain into thinking that soft drinks are less sweet then they actually are. Convinced it needs more, your body demands sugar, increasing your appetite. It's a vicious cycle that actually encourages weight gain. Sorry Fizzy Pop Zero; zero is what you're good for at best.

Using a sophisticated scanning technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging, researchers looked at the way the brain responded to sweetness in drinks. Testing for both real and artificial sugar, "the presence of carbonation, produced an overall decrease in the neural processing of sweetness-related signals," writes associate professor and lead author of the article Rosario Cuomo of Frederico II University in Naples, Italy. In other words, carbonation dulls the mind's ability to understand just how much sugar it's taking in.

Further research is needed, but the results may help demystify the connection between diet drinks and rates of obesity nationwide. Though the evidence is still far from conclusive, it's probably a good idea to stay away from sodas and their non-caloric counterparts altogether. But if you're still looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, get creative with what you drink and make the switch to coconut water or one of these eight boredom-busting recipes.

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