A man has told how a lifelong addiction to Diet Coke has come to dominate his life. Darren Jones, 38, can't go a day without downing 18 cans of the soft drink - the equivalent of 42 litres a week, costing him around £3,000 a year. Over the past decade his habit has gradually worsened and now he can't leave the house without a bottle of Coca Cola. I'll have a Coke: Darren Jones, 38, has been downing 18 cans a day for the past ten years - the equivalent of 42 litres a week The father of two from Stockport insists his huge intake hasn't caused him any health problems. Furthermore he doesn't let his children drink the sugar-free soft drink Astonishingly the father of two, from Stockport, Greater Manchester insists his huge intake - which amounts to 65,700 cans over the past ten years - hasn't caused him any medical or dental problems. [h=4]More...[/h] Why the word 'diet' on food labels has fallen out of fashion (we'd rather pick up 'zero' and 'smart' products) 'It's not for women': Dr Pepper introduces manly fizzy drink with 10 calories and sugar in gunmetal grey cans and bottles [h=3]CAN DIET DRINKS ACTUALLY MAKE YOU FATTER?[/h]Artificially sweetened diet drinks may actually cause you to pile on the pounds, say scientists. A study review by Professor Qing Yang at Yale University found aspartame and saccharin both increased the desire to eat more. The June 2010 paper found that artificial sweeteners can activate food reward brain centres without fully satisfying the resulting cravings. So while the drinks themselves contain hardly any calories they may encourage consumers to reach for another treat afterwards. But he did say that if he doesn't get his daily fix he can get moody and irritable. He said: 'I don't really drink anything else. When I don't have it my family says I'm a nightmare to be around.' Although he has bottles stored in his kitchen he doesn't let his children Abbie, seven, and James, six, drink the sugar-free soft drink. Despite Mr Jones insisting that his addiction hasn't affected his health, health experts have warned otherwise. Dr Vicci Owen-Smith, NHS Stockport's deputy director of public health, said: 'Diet Coke has artificial sweetener and contains caffeine. Too much of either of these may cause harm.' In June, U.S. researchers confirmed artificial sweeteners and diet drinks cause weight gain, possibly by boosting a craving for sugary foods. Diet Coke was first introduced in the U.S. on August 9, 1982, becoming the first new brand since 1886 to use the Coca-Cola trademark. It was sweetened with aspartame, to save money, after the sweetener became available in the U.S. the following year. A Coca-Cola spokesperson commented: 'Our packaging clearly shows caffeine, calorie and sugar content in relation to recommended daily guidelines.' Mother-of-two Claire Ayton was also revealed to be a Diet Coke addict earlier this year. She said she felt constantly tired, thirsty and found it impossible to lose weight as a consequence.