The study analyzed more than 22,000 American adults over the course of 10 years, and found that diet soft drink consumers were most likely to eat “discretionary foods” like sweets, chips, and fast food. In conclusion, the more diet soda these people consumed, the more likely they were to crave junk food, and bend to those cravings.
“It may be that people who consume diet beverages feel justified in eating more, so they reach for a muffin or a bag of chips," the study's lead author, Ruopeng An told Pop Sugar. "Or perhaps, in order to feel satisfied, they feel compelled to eat more of these high-calorie foods."
Other triggers for junk food? The regular consumption of coffee and alcohol.
So, this is all well and good, but how does the study advise you kick your diet soda habit? An suggests practicing mindful eating: pay attention to what you eat and drink to prevent weight gain.