Scientists say for some reason, ingesting saccharin tricks the body and alters the metabolism.
"It seems that normally with sweet foods, that we rev up our metabolism to prepare for that calorie load. What happens when you put a diet food in your mouth, your taste buds taste sweet, but then there's no calorie load that comes with it. There's some sort of a mismatch here, and it seems that it changes your brain chemistry in some way," said ABC News Medical Contributor Dr. Marie Savard.
The food industry criticized the study, saying it oversimplifies the causes of obesity and that findings in animal studies may not necessarily apply to people.