Okay, okay, we already knew that the habitual afternoon diet drink wasn’t doing us any favors. Packed with ingredients like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin, diet soda pumps your body full of artificial chemicals. A recent study from the University of Iowa even found that aspartame (the amount you’d get in two diet sodas a day) dramatically ups the risk of heart disease in women.
But since the low-cal version subs in these artificial sweeteners for real sugar, diet is at least the better option for your waistline, right? Wrong. Despite zero calories, diet drinks may actually encourage you to consume more calories than you otherwise would, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Illinois found that diet drinkers overcompensate for the lack of calories in their beverage by noshing on extra food—often dishes that are loaded with extra sugar, sodium, fat, and cholesterol—throughout the day.