AN artificial sweetener widely used in fizzy drinks makes female dieters pile on the pounds, research suggests.
Sucralose, found in Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi and other soft drinks, increases food cravings and appetite in women and the overweight.
It was not found to have the same effect on men of a healthy weight.
Researcher Professor Kathleen Page said: “Drinking artificially sweetened drinks may trick the brain into feeling hungry, which may in turn result in more calories being consumed.”
The sweetener, also known as Splenda, is 600 times sweeter than sugar and calorie-free.
Many people use it for weight loss but it has been linked to type 2 diabetes, Los Angeles-based Prof Page added.
It also harms gut bacteria, other studies show.