Dubai: Diet sodas could make you fat, warn health experts following reports of another case of weight gain and fatigue.

Dubai resident Geordie B., a 33-year-old working professional, had complained of abdominal weight gain, mood swings and chronic fatigue at a Dubai clinic. Her medical history revealed that she drank 8-10 diet cokes per day, and has been doing this for the past 10 years.

The attending doctor, Isabella Tausz, specialist in Family Medicine, Preventive Medicine, Anti Ageing Medicine and Hormone Restoration, at the Eternity Medicine Institute, Dubai, told Gulf News that the patient's blood test revealed deficiency in Vitamins D and B12, protein and serotonin, as well as a hormonal imbalance.

Dr Tausz said her patient is one of several cases who has an unhealthy lifestyle and bad diet, including consumption of diet beverages. Speaking about the adverse effects of such beverages, she said diet soda as a wise alternative to regular soda is a misconception.

She said: "In diet soda, the sugar is replaced with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame which induce adverse physiological reactions and hormonal responses that can stimulate appetite and increase carbohydrate cravings, leading to weight gain. Several studies, including one published by the American Heart Association, have shown a correlation between diet soft drink consumption and obesity or factors that lead to obesity."

Diet soda contains artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes — aspartame is the most common. According to the Aspartame Information Centre website, aspartame is 200 times sweeter than table sugar, and is found in more than 6,000 products — the most well-known being diet soda.

Dr Tausz explained further that a person who drinks diet soda may feel it's acceptable to make up for those calories with other high-calorie food. "While the tongue is temporarily satisfied by the sweet taste of diet soda, the brain still craves calories for energy. It is imperative to kick the habit, replacing it with healthy, safe alternative like pure water, flavoured with fresh lemon for taste, and herbal teas without sugar."

Gulf News also approached Bernadette Abraham, a Dubai-based health and fitness professional. She highlighted the link between diet drinks and weight gain. "Diet soda is perceived to help people lose weight while it may in fact lead to weight gain," she said.