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Did you think that just because diet soda was calorie-free that it was guilt-free, too? Sorry. Even drinking diet drinks is associated with a higher risk of metabolic syndrome. Consumption of sugar (or its equivalents, like corn syrup) in soft drinks has been linked to obesity in children and adolescents. But a recent study of almost all 50-year-old men and women in Framingham, Massachusetts, found that having more than one soft drink, whether sugared or diet, increased the risk of metabolic syndrome by 44 percent over a four-year period. The risk was increased similarly whether the drink was sugared or diet. One theory is that the high sweetness of drinks conditions people to crave sweet foods; another is that ingredients in the drinks can lead to insulin resistance or inflammation.