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You might call it the if-I-drink-diet-soda-I-can-eat-a-cookie effect. 

According to Johns Hopkins research published in the American Journal of Public Health, overweight or obese Americans who drink diet sodas consume about the same amount of calories each day as their counterparts who drink regular sodas—but more of the dieters’ calories come from food.

The research explored the outcomes of nearly 24,000 U.S. adults. “Although overweight and obese adults who drink diet soda eat a comparable amount of total calories as heavier adults who drink sugary beverages, they consume significantly more calories from solid food,” says lead author Sara Bleich, Ph.D. If you’re a diet beverage devotee and looking to lose or maintain weight, says Bleich, you may need to pay more attention to your solid-food intake, especially sweet snacks.