August 9, 2022

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Is Diet Soda Bad for You? (Diet Coke for Weight Loss?) | Nerd Fitness

There’s one query we get requested greater than some other: “Is diet soda bad for me?

People wish to know if Diet Coke will make them fats and make them sick, or if it’s all only a bunch of hoopla about nothing.  

We assist our purchasers navigate challenges with soda (food regimen or not) in our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program, and we’re gonna inform you every little thing you want about food regimen soda beneath.

Here’s what we’ll cowl:

Let’s get proper to it!

Does Drinking Diet Soda Lead to Weight Gain?

How much of this Diet Coke, should you drink, if any?

Does ingesting food regimen soda make you fats?

No, it doesn’t.[1] 

It could be tremendous evil if it did, what with the entire “diet” factor and all.

Diet sodas make the most of “high-intensity sweeteners” which is a flowery time period for very-low-calorie (or zero-calorie) sugar substitutes:

  • Acesulfame Potassium
  • Advantame
  • Aspartame
  • Monk Fruit Extract 
  • Neotame
  • Saccharin
  • Sucralose
  • Stevia 

The FDA has accepted these eight high-intensity sweeteners for human consumption.[2] You’ll discover them in all kinds of meals merchandise, not simply food regimen drinks. 

Because high-intensity sweeteners are many instances sweeter than desk sugar, you can also make a drink style “sweet” with out together with any sugar in any respect. 

Most necessary, with out the sugar, you’re skipping out on all of the energy that include it.

Weight loss is dependent upon consuming fewer energy than you burn, so ingesting Diet Coke in comparison with common Coke may help tip the equation in favor of “weight loss.”

  • 12 oz Diet Coke complete calorie rely: 0
  • 12 oz Coca-Cola complete calorie rely: 150

If you’re trying to lose weight, however love fizzy carbonated and caffeinated drinks, the soda with fewer energy looks like a no brainer.

Gif that says "seems legit"

“Steve, hold the phone here! Are you saying Diet Coke is okay to drink? I thought the sweeteners and chemicals in it were sketchy!?!”

The concern of ingesting food regimen soda typically rests on three factors:

  1. Drinking food regimen soda will make you crave actual sugar.
  2. Your physique processes high-intensity sweeteners identical to precise sugar.
  3. Artificial sweeteners (like aspartame) could make you sick or trigger most cancers.

We’ll hit every of those factors with its personal part beneath.

Before we proceed, I have to make a powerful caveat: most research on food regimen soda deal with all high-intensity sweeteners as one.[3] This is regarding contemplating there are eight accepted high-intensity sweeteners in use.

Does your physique course of all eight the identical? 

I get it Barney, this diet soda stuff is a bit confusing.

Some early research on numerous sweeteners do present our our bodies course of them otherwise.[4]

More research are being performed on particular person high-intensity sweeteners as we communicate, so anticipate new data on the topic to unfold.

For now…

Will Drinking Diet Soda Make Me Crave Actual Sugar?

Does diet soda make you crave actual sugar?

If you eat a bunch of sugary and candy meals repeatedly, your physique can begin to crave extra of it.[5]

In different phrases, persistently consuming sugary meals within the afternoon can lead to an urge for sweets after lunch. 

These cravings could make it tough to show down the bowl of M&M’s as you go Debra’s desk (She’s even received the peanut type!).

If you eat a lot of candy, you'll soon want to "feed" this craving.

The query turns into, do the high-intensity sweeteners present in food regimen soda make us crave sugary meals?

The analysis on this isn’t clear: 

  • Studies performed on rats have proven a constructive correlation between high-intensity sweeteners and sugar cravings.[6]
  • A 2019 meta-analysis discovered two research the place aspartame was added on to the diets of people. The outcome? Those who consumed the high-intensity sweeteners discovered their sugar craving to be LOWER.[7]

There could be one thing to the thought that ingesting a Diet Coke may help fulfill the sugar craving.

As lengthy as you keep in mind: “correlation doesn’t prove causation!” 

Anecdotally, a lot of our teaching purchasers declare that grabbing a food regimen soda helps them from ingesting the common sugar-filled model. This may be actually necessary, as a result of “cravings” are one of many prime points dealing with most of our purchasers.

Which is why we work carefully to determine attainable meals addictions in our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program, so we will begin to work by them collectively. Our technique is to take it sluggish, to make small adjustments to change these cravings. Over time, that is one of the simplest ways to see actual progress. 

If you’d prefer to learn the way we may help battle sugar cravings, click on beneath:

Does My Body Process Artificial Sweeteners Just like Sugar?

It's time to learn if our hormones treat high-intensity sweeteners like they would regular sugar.

Another concern of ingesting food regimen soda rests on the concept your physique processes high-intensity sweeteners as it could regular sugar.

The argument states that these sweeteners are so candy that they idiot your physique into considering it’s consuming precise sugar. 

After ingesting food regimen soda, your physique responds as it could after consuming regular desk sugar: by dumping out insulin. This slows down the fat-burning course of.

That’s the gist of it, kind of.

Is it true?

Do high-intensity sweeteners trick our our bodies into releasing hormones (insulin)?

Again, the research on this are blended:


I'd say don't stress too much on the insulin response of diet drinks.

This isn’t a HUGE deal. Of all of the issues to fret about close to weight reduction or getting wholesome, this doesn’t maintain the highest spot on the checklist.

While hormones do play a task in weight reduction, the primary figuring out issue will all the time be an vitality stability (energy in vs. energy out).

Since most food regimen sodas have subsequent to zero energy, I’d say the insulin response of high-intensity sweeteners isn’t that necessary in your weight reduction journey.

There are much better targets within the quest to eat healthy, like eating lots of vegetables and eating enough protein at every meal.

Can Drinking Diet Soda Cause Cancer? (Is Aspartame or Saccharin Dangerous?)

Are the ingredients in Diet Coke sketchy? Let's find out!

The different concern folks have about food regimen soda is that it’ll trigger most cancers and kill them and everybody they know.

Slightly hyperbolic maybe, however…

Should we be fearful in regards to the components of food regimen soda inflicting us hurt?

Some historical past is so as:

In the 70s a high-intensity sweetener (saccharin) was proven to present rats most cancers.[10] People flipped out and truly banned saccharin in America, though it’s since been reintroduced.

Why the reintroduction? 

Because no most cancers hyperlink has ever been proven for the human consumption of saccharin. And people have regarded.[11] Rather a lot.[12] 

Not every little thing that’s cancerous to rats is dangerous to folks, and vice versa. 

Plus, you would need to drink 800 cans of food regimen soda to get to the degrees of saccharin given to the rats within the examine.

Even an all-night binge of Call of Duty would solely put a small fraction of a dent in that.

Diet Coke is a notorious aid in the late-night gaming world.

How about aspartame or any of those different high-intensity sweeteners…

Are they sketchy?

Earlier I acknowledged the FDA, the United States’ regulation company, accepted eight high-intensity sweeteners.

They aren’t the one company that has performed so. Australia, the EU, Japan, and Canada have all reviewed and accepted these sweeteners.[13] They did so after an intensive investigation. 

Despite looking for issues, regulating agencies have found no harm in high-intensity sweeteners.

So it’s secure to say that high-intensity sweeteners are okay for use in an inexpensive quantity.

This brings up the query…

How Many Diet Sodas Can I Have in a Day?

Can you drink an entire 2 liter in a day? More than one? Let's find out!

While the sweeteners in food regimen soda have been accepted secure for human consumption, there’s a restrict to this approval.[14] But I received’t make you pore over charts and do the mathematics…I’ll try this for you.

What’s the variety of 12-ounce food regimen sodas deemed secure in a day?


Which is A LOT of food regimen soda. 

However, it must be famous that food regimen soda just isn’t the one place high-intensity sweeteners are discovered. 

Many different meals merchandise make the most of these sweeteners to chop again on sugar and energy. So keep watch over protein bars, yogurts, baked items, and so on, for hidden high-intensity sweeteners.

The different concern with ingesting a number of food regimen soda could be the caffeine. Caffeine in moderate amounts is fine, however should you go overboard you can enhance your anxiousness and interfere with your sleep.[15] 

Yeah, maybe it was too much Diet Coke...

There’s about half the caffeine in Diet Coke versus a daily cup of espresso, which remains to be an honest quantity. 

If you’ve bother sleeping at night time, contemplate how late within the day you’re having your final can of soda. Perhaps set up a 2pm “caffeine cutoff” if you end up tossing and turning at night time. 

Another downside with food regimen soda: most of them comprise precisely zero vitamins. It’s water, some sort of sweetener (sugar or not), flavoring, coloring, and carbonation.

Drinks like espresso and tea even have some antioxidants current, so that you could be getting some advantages with these caffeinated drinks.[16] 

If you end up ingesting a number of food regimen soda, contemplate mixing in some espresso or tea as a partial alternative. 

Sparkling water may assist with the swap too, should you love these fizzy bubbles.

At this level, we should always word that stopping food regimen soda consumption could be simpler mentioned than performed.

Can You Be Addicted to Diet Soda?

Is Gollum addicted to Diet Coke AND the Ring?

Yeah, diet soda can indeed hijack your brain's reward system.

The Coca-Cola Company hires people to seek out the proper mixture of:

  • Carbonation. The bubbles really burn your tongue a bit of, which offers a pleasurable expertise. Kind of like sizzling sauce. 
  • Sweeteners. Sure, it isn’t sugar, however your mind likes them simply the identical.
  • Caffeine. The jolt from caffeine will present you a lift and lift your dopamine ranges. The mind likes this.
  • Flavor. After ingesting Diet Coke for a while, your mind will begin to affiliate the flavors with carbonation, sweeteners, and caffeine. Which will make you begin craving the flavour of Diet Coke. This might be a part of the rationale folks turn out to be model loyal to explicit food regimen drinks. 

How are you aware when you have an dependancy? If you end up approaching our 18 can a day security restrict, that’s positively an indication. 

Another could be should you discover food regimen soda interfering together with your life (not sleeping after ingesting Diet Coke all night).

You don’t need to go chilly turkey on this one: 

  • If you usually drink six cans of food regimen soda a day, strive 5.
  • After a month or so of this, strive 4.

This is the precise technique we observe with our 1-on-1 Online Coaching purchasers, and it’s the most probably to succeed. 

Small adjustments over time are the ticket to everlasting success.

Is Diet Coke Worse for You Than Regular Coke?

Are Diet Coke and normal Coke the same, health-wise?

Before you utilize this text as justification to begin ingesting a six-pack of Diet Coke a day, let’s discuss another attainable issues.

We’ve talked about all of the mechanisms in food regimen soda that may make it unhealthy (high-intensity sweeteners, caffeine, and so on). My conclusion is that these elements are doubtless overblown.

However, we should always acknowledge that ingesting food regimen soda can typically be linked to well being points:

  • Despite food regimen sodas containing low to zero energy, ingesting them is correlated with weight problems.[18] Is this simply because people who find themselves obese are extra doubtless to devour a “diet” drink? We don’t know.
  • Diet soda consumption has been related to kidney illness.[19] Is this due to the excessive phosphorus content material of food regimen soda, or as a result of individuals who drink soda doubtless have a poorer food regimen than those that don’t? This has nonetheless but to be answered.
  • Soda, even the food regimen model, isn’t nice in your enamel.[20] Diet sodas are acidic, resulting in the erosion of tooth enamel. Although to be truthful, this examine discovered the acids in orange juice extra corrosive than Diet Coke.[21]

There’s an necessary level right here: ingesting common soda can also be linked to kidney illness, enamel erosion, and weight problems. Even extra so these final two factors (due to all of the sugar and energy).[22] 

So the issues of ingesting food regimen soda would even be present in ingesting common soda…much more so.

Drinking Diet Coke would be the lesser of two evils right here. 

Is Drinking Diet Soda Bad for Weight Loss? (Next Steps)

At the end of the day, prioritize water over diet soda, but don't stress about the diet soda.

If you’re beginning your weight reduction journey and questioning the place food regimen soda matches into the image, I need you to know I’m pleased with you.

You’re beginning to ask questions and also you’re on the lookout for solutions. This is a superb first step.

If you’re trying to lose weight and at present ingesting common soda, the swap to food regimen could be transfer. 

You’re gonna devour fewer energy that approach, vital for weight reduction.

This is why considered one of our prime suggestions to our coaching clients is to chop again on sugary drinks. 

However, should you at present drink food regimen soda and are attempting to shed some pounds, there could be some higher targets to shoot for:

These are way more necessary than an occasional Diet Coke right here and there.

If you end up firing on all cylinders (you eat well, you strength train, you get lots of sleep), then possibly contemplate changing food regimen soda with tea, espresso, or carbonated water. There are sufficient unanswered questions on consuming food regimen soda to warrant the swap. 

The most necessary factor you are able to do now? Commit to a change:

  • One much less common soda a day
  • One much less Diet Coke a day
  • A daily walk very first thing within the morning

Pick one thing you possibly can observe. Something with a transparent “yes or no” that you may mirror on on the finish of the day.

This will assist you begin your weight reduction journey.

It's now time to take some action on your weight loss journey. You got this!

Want some assist getting going? Slightly nudge out the door?

Okay, however solely since you’ve been good this entire time:

#1) Our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program: a training program for busy folks to assist them make higher meals selections, keep accountable, and get more healthy, completely.

You can schedule a free name with our staff so we will get to know you and see if our teaching program is best for you. Just click on on the picture beneath for extra particulars:

Your NF Coach can help you lose weight and get healthy!

#2) If you need an actual blueprint leveling up your vitamin, take a look at Nerd Fitness Journey! Our enjoyable habit-building app helps you train extra often, eat more healthy, and stage up your life (actually).

It’ll additionally present a step-by-step plan from transferring away from common sodar, maybe to a food regimen model and even tea.

Try your free trial proper right here:

#3) Join The Rebellion! We have a free e-mail publication that we ship out twice per week, stuffed with suggestions and methods that will help you get wholesome, get robust, and have enjoyable doing so. 

I’ll additionally ship you tons of free guides that you should utilize to begin leveling up your life too:

Alright, I believe that almost does it for me.

Now, your flip!

What are your experiences with food regimen soda? 

Did you utilize them as a instrument that will help you shed some pounds? 

Or did you wrestle with weight reduction till lastly dropping food regimen soda out of your every day consumption as properly?

Share your story within the feedback!


PS –

Check out the remainder of our sustainable weight reduction content material:

PSS: I wish to give a hat-tip to Precision Nutrition, whose fascinating article served because the inspiration for this submit. 


Photo supply: Corrie Miracle: Diet Coke, Zeyus Media: Sugar Spoon, Stavos: ScientistEmmi: GollumSarah Korf: nutritional information, Ryan Hyde: Water, Mike Mozart: Diet Coke, Laura Lewis: mirror, Mike Mozart: Diet Coke


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