Reaching for a can of Diet whatever may seem like the waist-friendly option, but new research shows that low calorie bevs may be responsible for a multitude of bodily defects.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Meghan Azad, a researcher at the University of Manitoba, has long been studying the effects of sugar substitutes. The results aren’t pretty. “Nonnutritive sweeteners are significantly associated with modest long-term increases in body weight, BMI and waist circumference,” says Azad. “I think originally it was calories that were the problem, and we’ve made something that was zero calories, so we’re good. But now we’re learning that it’s not just about the calories.”

The exact reason why diet drinks could still make you gain weight has not yet been pinpointed, but prior research by the American Heart Association found that those who enjoyed a daily diet drink were almost three times more likely to develop dementia or suffer a stroke. So while sugar-free options may seem good for the diet, they’re not so good for your wider health.

Like most things, everything in moderation. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying an occasional fizzy drink – just don’t drink it like water.