Diet Soda May Not Be That Bad For You, Study Shows, and Addicts Everywhere Rejoice

Good news for diet soda fans: At least one new study says diet soda is not that bad for you. Diet drinks don't get a lot of love in the press these days, and probably for good reason. Both the long-term and short-term effects of artificial sweeteners are unknown — and unpromising, much to the chagrin of Diet Coke-heads everywhere. But according to Australian researchers, our stomachs react to artificially sweetened beverages about the same way they do plain old water.

In the study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, researchers tested the effects of drinks containing sucralose and Acesulfame potassium (or "AceK," the artificial sweetener used in Diet Pepsi). They concluded that drinking artificially sweetened drinks produces no different response in healthy human guts than drinking a glass of water does. This is controversial "because there's a lot of conflicting research into artificial sweeteners," said senior study author and University of Adelaide professor Chris Rayner. "Human studies have been unclear as to whether artificial sweeteners have a positive or negative effect."

Some studies have suggested that artificially-sweetened drinks like diet colas confuse our body's reward system, priming us to eat more later, crave sweets, or store more fat. One recent study linked high consumption of artificially sweetened drinks to increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

But while artificial sweeteners may interact weirdly with the gut in the long term, it appears they have "limited impact" in the short-term, according to this new research. So, uh, drink up?