Is Diet Soda Bad for You? Science Based Facts

  • Usman 

When someone finally thinks of making a commitment to go on a diet, one of the first steps he or she takes is to replace normal coke with diet soda. The underlying assumption is that diet soda is good for weight loss. But is there a possibility also that diet soda is bad for you?

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Soft drinks are sugar bombs

It is true that a can of normal coke is loaded with about 39 mg of sugar (more than 9 teaspoons), which is equal to full day’s recommended daily intake of sugar. This is so much sugar at a single serving that our body goes into overdrive in managing this much sugar loaded in blood. It triggers production of more insulin. And over time, there is risk of our bodies developing insulin insensitivity which is a sure way to diabetes.

Since it is not how our bodies have been configured to eat, soft drinks have been linked with diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease among so many other health risks.

On the other hand diet soda is free from this calorie overload. But is it still something that can do any good to you when target is to lose belly fat. Or is diet soda bad for you?

Diet coke ingredients

Artificial sweeteners replace sugar in diet soda. For example, diet coke uses aspartame and acesulfame-K as artificial sweeteners. Other diet coke ingredients include caffeine, carbonated water, phosphoric acid and a host of other chemicals. Phosphoric acid is probably used to add a tangy flavor which helps body not reject so much sugar intake in a short time.

Is diet soda bad?

And science on health risks of artificial sweeteners is not conclusive. In fact FDA clearly gives artificial sweeteners a clean chit and considers these as safe for food use. Research studies have linked saccharine, an artificial sweetener, with cancer. However, National Cancer Institute is of the view that there is no clear link between saccharine and cancer.

However, there are research studies that have found that aspartame, an artificial sweetener used in diet coke, can trigger blood sugar spike which can lead to diabetes.

Diet soda can make you hungrier

Artificial sweeteners used in diet soda trick human body into thinking that it is receiving sugar, while in reality it is not. Since body does not actually receive sugar, it can feel hungrier – which is exactly how you do not want to feel when you are trying to lose a few extra pounds.

Your drink less water with diet soda

It is also natural that when you drink more soda, you will consume less water. And not being hydrated can negatively affect weight loss and dieting. If soda is your drink of choice because of a long-established habit, there are different ways you can use to limit consumption of diet soda.

How to reduce soda intake

Ditching the soda habit can be very challenging for many people. Drinking soda leads to addiction to caffeine and flavor of soda. A good approach might be to not stop soda cold turkey. For someone whose daily soda intake includes several drinks, it might be a good idea to gradually cut back.

One thing is sure that we need to stop looking at diet soda as our main hydrating beverage source. If you can’t live without diet soda, try to limit it to one per day. This gradual withdrawal will eventually make you believe that you could be satisfied even with less soda. In fact, you may someday decide to let it go completely.

While answer from FDA to the original question i.e. is diet soda bad for you is that it is not harmful, a lot of science points out that diet soda is not worthy of being added to a healthy diet.

It might be the right time you said goodbye to diet soda and welcome a new you. By reducing soda and drinking more water, your weight loss challenge would be easier to manage. And of course you can save money as well – after all soda is pricier than plain water.

If you are convinced that diet soda is bad for you, then here are few things you can do instead of opening multiple soda cans every day:

  • Drink regular soda. If flavor of soda is your lifeline, then opt for regular soda so that you can account for these liquid calories in your diet plan
  • Try carbonated water such as Pellegrino or Perrier. These might satisfy your taste buds for citrus taste of soda without all the sugar, calories and novelty chemicals.
  • Drink iced herbal tea. This might serve as your go-to drink for a flavorful addition to your meals. 
  • Make a cocktail of club soda and juice. You will be able to see the satisfying soda bubbles without any addition of chemicals and loads of sugar teaspoonfuls to your body. 
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Muhammad Usman

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