Go ahead, drink that diet soda -- a new study has debunked previous research that claimed it would increase your risk of diabetes.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, researchers at Harvard University have found that diet soda is reasonably harmless.
"There are multiple alternatives to regular soda,' said Frank Hu, one of the study's authors. "'Diet soda is perhaps not the best alternative, but moderate consumption is not going to have any appreciable harmful effects."
Previous studies showed that regular soda does indeed raise the risk of diabetes because of all the added sugar. But surprisingly, research also showed that the sugar-free versions did the same thing.
However the Harvard researchers found that the link between diet soda and diabetes is a result of other factors common to diet soda drinkers, including being overweight.
They analyzed data from more than 40,000 men who were followed between 1986 and 2006. About 7% of them were diagnosed with diabetes at some point. It appeared men who drank diet sodas were diagnosed more than men who didn't.
But when those men's weight, blood pressure and cholesterol were taken into account, the researchers found their diabetes risk was not related to the drinks.
"People who are at risk of diabetes or obesity... Those may be the people who are more likely to choose artificial sweeteners because they may be more likely to be dieting," said Rebecca Brown, an endocrinologist at the National Institutes of Health.
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.