Artificially sweetened drinks are being blamed -- again -- for sabotaging diets in a new U.S. study that found diet soda could lead to increased food intake.

After looking at national consumption patterns related to diet beverages and calorie intake, researchers from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health concluded that overweight and obese adults who drink diet beverages consume more calories from food than obese adults who drink regular sodas and other sugary beverages.

The results come as consumption rates of diet soda in the U.S. have seen a dramatic spike over the last few decades. The authors note that 20 per cent of the population consumes diet drinks today, up from three per cent in 1965.

Data was compiled from National Health Surveys conducted between 1999 to 2010. The results were published in The American Journal of Public Health last week.

The findings corroborate previous research that found artificial sweeteners may cause greater activation of the brain’s reward sensors, disrupt appetite control and cause people to increase their overall food intake.

Another study published last year also provided compelling evidence for avoiding diet soda, after researchers wrote in the journal General Dentistry that the consumption of artificially sweetened drinks is as damaging to the teeth as the use of crack cocaine and meth.