The Diet Secret This ‘Modern Family’ Star Isn’t Sharing

If you’ve seen those Diet Pepsi ads where Modern Family star Sofia Vergara is lounging around drinking soda, you know there are few things she doesn’t reveal. (Obviously, we’re talking about her bank account number. What did you think we were talking about, huh?) Sofia might spill out of her top, but there’s one thing she’s not spilling: the dirty little secret about Diet Pepsi.

According to new research from The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, consuming diet soda not only fails to help us lose weight, it can actually cause us to gain weight. Say it ain’t, Sofia!

The study found that when we drink sugary-tasting beverages, we start to prefer sweeter foods in general. Our taste buds become so accustomed to sweetness that they reject healthy foods like bran and oatmeal in favor of sweeter, higher-calorie foods (breads, desserts, high-fructose cereals, etc.). Basically, we’re trying to trick our taste buds with diet soda, but really, we’re the ones being tricked!

But that’s not the worst part. The same research found that people who make a daily habit out of consuming diet sodas have an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Yikes!

How did the study work? Researchers observed people for almost 10 years and compared diet soda drinkers to a group of non-diet drinkers (this group included both soda drinkers and people who didn’t drink any soda at all). While everyone gained weight over the course of the study, the diet soda drinkers saw their bellies bulge 70 percent more than non-diet drinkers!

The results get even more shocking. When researchers looked only at people who drank two or more diet sodas per day, the increase in their waist size was 500% greater than the increase for non-diet drinkers. Those are some big numbers… and some big fat guts as well!

Our penchant for sweetness has led scientists to further study how our sense of taste affects our appetite. One of the leading scientists is Dr. Alan Hirsch. In his remarkable research, he noticed something interesting: when his patients lost their abilities to smell or taste, they experienced rapid weight gain. Dr. Hirsch hypothesized that there must be certain smells and tastes that affect the way our brains manage our appetites. After studying hundreds of compounds, he found several tasteless and odorless compounds that were shown to control the body’s appetite. He called them “Tastants.”

Dr. Hirsch ran a case study to see how effective Tastants are in controlling people’s appetites. The results were significant. Those who dieted with Tastants lost an average of 30.5 pounds—nearly 15% of their total body weight! Also, none of them experienced any unpleasant side-effects because Tastants do not directly interact with the body’s digestive system.

Recently, Tastants were made available in a flavorless, odorless sprinkle called SENSA. But whether or not you decide to try sprinkling on your food to curb your appetite and lose weight, one thing remains clear: That diet soda you’re drinking isn’t helping your weight loss — not even by an ounce.