Are Diet Soft Drinks Really A Better Alternative?

12SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
8/11/2009 2:08 PM   :  439 comments   :  61,536 Views

When you decide it's time to make a change to your diet, one of the first things a lot of people do is switch out the regular soda for diet. It saves on calories and sugar, and can still give you the caffeine boost and beverage variety you're looking for. But some recent studies say that diet drinks might not be much better for your health.

A 2007 study from Boston University found that both sugar sodas and diet drinks boost the risk of metabolic syndrome- a collection of risk factors that increase your risk of health problems like heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Another study, published in the journal Circulation, found the risk of developing metabolic syndrome was 34 percent higher among those who drank one can of diet soda a day compared with those who drank none. Keep in mind that these studies show an association between diet soda and metabolic syndrome. They don't necessarily say that drinking diet soda will lead you to develop the condition.

One theory suggests that artificial sweeteners may lead to increased food intake because they alter our sense of taste and interfere with the body's ability to properly assess how many calories are in foods. Therefore, you end up eating more- and we know that overweight and obesity are risk factors for developing metabolic syndrome.

I think switching from regular soda to diet is a good way to slowly wean yourself off of these kinds of drinks. But ideally, I think it's a good idea to ditch the soda completely. (Sorry, all of you Diet Coke lovers!) If the idea of drinking water bores you, try adding a slice of fruit or sample some of the sparkling, mineral or fruit-flavored varieties on the market today.

What do you think? Are you a diet soda drinker? Have you noticed whether or not it affects your hunger level and how much you're eating? Have you considered giving it up, or are you happy as you are?


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Comments

  • JWOOLMAN
    439
    By the way- diet soda is a moot point for me personally because I don't like the taste of the artificial sweeteners (or corn syrup or stevia....). But I used to keep real coca cola on hand for medicinal purposes. Just 6 ounces of the real thing (made with real sugar, sucrose or corn syrup) would cut the awful nausea from bad sinus headaches that otherwise would go on for at least six hours (the headaches lasted one or two days, but the six hours of nausea was of the "kill me now" variety). My aunt (a registered nurse) told me about this trick- like me, she wasn't a cola fan, but after surgery she had chronic nausea so bad that she couldn't even look at pictures of food. Someone suggested coca cola and it worked right away. I think the combination of phosphoric acid and real sugar plus real cola extract is key, since I saw the same ingredients in some old-timey cola syrup remedy. If headache is involved, the caffeine can help with that also. I've heard that caffeine can be useful in heading off asthma attacks also for some people (coffee will work).

    Anyway, diet cola doesn't seem to have the same nausea-killing effect as far as I know. - 12/8/2014   1:00:57 AM
  • JWOOLMAN
    438
    If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If you wonder if the diet soda is causing problems, just quit for a while and see if you feel better. If you feel the same, no problem. But do be careful about carbonated beverages- even if calorie-free, they are very acidic and that makes a friendly environment for cavity-producing bacteria even if it doesn't feed them. The acid softens your teeth and so you should wait at least 30 minutes for them to harden up again before brushing. Not a bad idea to drink water afterward and avoid slow sipping since that increases contact time between teeth and acid. (Same cautions about non-carbonated acidic drinks.) A little xylitol (birch sugar) after the drink (or after any food also) will help bring your mouth back to neutrality but won't feed the bacteria. Just 1/4 tsp granulated xylitol or a little xylitol-only mint or gum will do it. Google "Dr. Ellie" plus xylitol for more info. The therapeutic dose of xylitol for oral health is just 6-10 grams spread out over the day (total 1.5 tsp or a few mints or pieces of gum). Xylitol is much better tolerated than other sugar alcohols so few people are likely to have problems with it at that dose (keep away from dogs and cats, though). - 12/8/2014   12:39:51 AM
  • 437
    "Consuming any artificial sweeteners actually does lead to overeating. Open your eyes...most people you see drinking diet sodas are overweight."

    Yup, saw it the last time at McDonalds, an over-weight person ordered a double 1/4 pound, a super-sized fry and a diet coke. ROFL!!! It must be that diet coke!!! LOL!! - 11/4/2014   5:13:31 PM
  • 436
    I loved diet coke but for me drinking it made me crave something sweet to go with it. When I stopped buying it at the grocery store, I'd still end up stopping at a convenience store every day to buy a bottle, and since I knew I'd want something sweet with it, I'd also buy a candy bar. For me, giving up the diet coke also meant no more candy, so that was the answer for me. - 10/14/2014   9:23:59 AM
  • FOXGLOVE999
    435
    I love my diet coke and will not give it up. I have added sparkling mineral water to my diet. Diet sodas are not high sodium anymore, this isn't the 70's. The brussel sprouts I ate last night had about the same amount of sodium as a diet soda. - 9/16/2014   9:31:12 AM
  • 434
    I love my Diet Coke and have it 4-5 every week. I love my water too! I am working on some far more important healthy changes (like eating more veggies and moving more) in my life and giving up diet coke is just not a priority. I am a firm believer that moderation is the key to success. - 6/13/2014   5:35:33 PM
  • 433
    I don't drink soda, period. People use cola to remove rust from metal. It does a pretty good job of it. Just imagine what it does to your insides. Water is nature's hydrator, fills you up without making you sick. Folks who say they 'hate water' are not giving it a chance and/or are addicted to soda. - 5/20/2014   7:11:24 AM
  • 432
    I don't drink Diet Soda for several reasons:
    - I find that drinking them makes me crave sweets.
    - I don't like their taste/aftertaste
    - I avoid Aspartame because it is a potential trigger for migraines
    Mostly, I drink water or tea, but every now and then I treat myself to a regular soda. - 5/13/2014   10:51:55 PM
  • 431
    In response to the correlation between diet soda and strokes, diet drinks have more sodium than regular soda (you're just switching one bad thing for another unfortunately), so they can contribute to high blood pressure if you drink too much of them. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is the number one cause of a stroke. If you love your diet soda, make sure you keep an eye on your blood pressure and drink plenty of other fluids like water. - 4/24/2014   9:07:35 PM
  • 430
    I don't drink, I don't smoke, been with the same man for 24 years, count my calories, limit sweets and exercise nearly every day. Diet Coke is my only vice, and you'll get that can of icy goodness away from me when you pry it from my cold, dead hand. - 4/3/2014   11:52:09 AM
  • 429
    I have lost 115 pounds so far drinking diet coke most days. I find just the opposite. It helps me not to be as hungry. - 10/19/2013   9:33:24 AM
  • 428
    Consuming any artificial sweeteners actually does lead to overeating. Open your eyes...most people you see drinking diet sodas are overweight. Take a look at what fit people drink most of the time. Water, water, water.

    Furthermore, did you know that not drinking enough water, which leads to dehydration, can cause a number of other issues in a day? Headaches, for one. Most daily fatigue is caused by dehydration as well. Fatigue leads to impaired decision making, including overeating.

    Avoid flavored waters, Crystal Light (unless it's Natural), and diet sodas. If you absolutely must have a soda, drink a regular and only have one rarely...very rarely. Juice is also one to watch as many juices have as much or more sugar in than soda.

    Since I've eliminated artificial sweeteners from my life, I've lost 24 pounds and I naturally eat less. No, I don't starve myself or deprive myself of a specific food group. I just eat less. - 8/20/2013   7:51:50 PM
  • VIGILANTONE
    427
    Seems every week they are coming up with more things that are "good" or "bad" for you. Bottom line? I seriously doubt that drinking 1 can of Diet Coke a day is going to lead to overeating. - 7/21/2013   10:23:08 AM
  • OUTWITHABANG
    426
    I was a Diet Pepsi/Diet Coke NUT. When we went out to eat, I'd go through at least three or four refills. I'm four days "clean", though, and feel so much better. I've been drinking a lot of ice cold water and a little bit of a local company's Diet Iced Tea (though I know I should dump that, too -- baby steps?) - 6/18/2013   9:25:12 AM
  • 425
    My mother drank diet coke like crazy once she gave up alcohol. She was thin and practiced yoga and ate well, but drank diet coke non stop. There may be other things at play, but she ended up having multiple strokes. She is now addicted to crystal light lemonade which too has artificial sweeteners. I wish she would just drink water! I ingest very few artificial sweeteners as a result. - 6/12/2013   2:16:50 PM
  • 424
    I know I'm late but I just happened to stumble across this article and well this was the first time I heard mention increase chance of stroke in regards to drinking diet coke and it's kind of ironic that back in 2009 my aunt passed away due to a stroke! She was always a tiny thing but always had a diet coke in her hand - I think she went through about 4 or 5 12 pk cans per week, seriously .... never crossed my mind until I just read this article ... very interesting! - 6/2/2013   12:46:34 PM
  • REFAH85
    423
    I used to drink 2 or 3 cans of diet pepsi a day but when I started to eat clean 2 months ago , I quit drinking soda . instead of soda I drink fresh orange juice or water.My son always reminding me when we dining out to not order pepsi. - 11/26/2012   10:25:37 AM
  • 422
    At the start of my weight loss in 2010, I quit Diet Coke at doctors suggestion.
    Hardest thing I did. I was very addicted. Stayed off for 8 months. gradually started a sip from one small bottle a week. Then a whole bottle, two, before long I was buying my favorite cans in the case and up to 3, 4 cans a day. I am trying to limit my use to one a day. But it's hard. I love Diet Coke. It's my only vice. - 10/15/2012   11:25:48 AM
  • 421
    I quit diet soda a month ago due to a health scare. I'm trying to avoid artificial sweetners, and artificial anything that I can. My lymph nodes on one side of my neck were removed due to inflammation that the Dr was quite sure was cancer but thankfully was not. I only drank 1 or 2 diet sodas a day. I'm struggling to replace that bubbly sweet flavor. I drink my water but I miss my soda so much. Sometimes I just need the flavor and have drank juice or an occassional regular soda. That's too many calories but I'm trying to change this craving. Flavored waters get you back to the artificial thing. The best substitutes I have found is lemon juice in water or to drink hot or cold tea. Natural tea in a can get's you back into the too many calories again as most are sweetend. The hard truth is that neither type of soda is any good for a person. "Occasional" unhealthy choices for me is a very slippery slope. I realize I need to accept that I need to give up unhealthy foods, forget about it, and move on to healthier choices. I'm just trying to eat cleaner. The choices you make do effect your health. You can try to fool yourself but your body will know the truth. - 10/14/2012   9:05:46 AM
  • 420
    After constantly hearing about how Diet Coke was killing me in 300 different ways, I gave it up for almost 2 months. The result: mega increase in number and intensity of migraines, zero weight loss, no "feeling better." I drink 1 Diet Coke most days, sometimes 2. I'm sure that if you drink a 12 pack per day, it's going to affect you negatively, but a moderate amount per week isn't going to do a thing. - 9/10/2012   5:56:24 PM
  • 419
    I try not to overdo it, but I drink Diet Coke because it tastes good. Would I restrict myself if I thought that Coke was tastier? Probably, because those calories could be going to steak, or lasagna, or any number of wonderful things. I have "quit" diet coke a couple of times, but it comes back into my life because it just tastes better than most. I know it's an unhealthy habit, but I'm fit, healthy, I don't drink or smoke... so -- as my doctor said -- one measly-little aspartame-filled vice is probably not the end of the world. - 9/7/2012   10:51:43 AM
  • 418
    I am off diet coke for over two weeks now...I love soda and switched to diet a few years ago to save the calories. Then I just had an aquaintance who got VERY ill---mysterious back pain, fever, recurring bladder infections, they just diagnosed here with aspertame poisoning---she was drinking any where from 2-5 cans of diet soda a day along with any other diet foods she may have been having---she had successfully lost over 60 pounds and used diet soda and sugar substitutes as an aide in doing so. I want to lose weight, but the reason I do is to be as healthy as I can be...I don't want to get sick on the way there!!! - 8/29/2012   1:59:23 PM
  • 417
    I am cutting diet soda down but i still drink at least one or two cans a day. But i don't feel like i need to eat more because of it but i do think that everything needs to be in moderation. - 8/28/2012   8:24:57 PM
  • TEE789
    416
    I'm really not a diet soda drinker. I have been drinking tea and water. I'm trying to lover my sugar intake. I will share this article with a few friends. - 8/28/2012   5:10:15 PM
  • 415
    I think this is where hte "all things in moderation" comes into play. I think anybody who tells you to completely cut anything out of your diet is living in a fantasy world that people with only a mild-moderate amount of discipline cannot adhere to. I never got into Diet Sodas. Only time i drink Diet Coke is with my Captain. And at that point, there is a pretty sure bet my "diet" is going to go out the window for the night anyway. But I still allow myself 7-10 oz of regular coke everyday. That way I'm still getting my "fix" but i'm not going haynuts on calories or sugar. - 8/27/2012   10:48:12 AM
  • CUTTYPATUTTY68
    414
    I have decided to pass on diet drinks for my health, and to get through the trigger time of 4pm I mix seltzer water with MIO and that has helped me soo much! I get the fuul feeling of the carbonated water and am happy. Give it a try! - 8/26/2012   8:50:54 PM
  • 413
    I love my diet Pepsi or diet coke and I'm one who is NOT giving it up! I eat fairly healthy, exercise daily and am at a healthy weight. I'm 44 and it's my one vice I'm not willing to give up. I have 3 young kids and I personally think life is stressful....but enjoyable too! So it's like my "treat"! It has 0 calories so it's not hurting my calorie intake and it doesn't make me eat more. If anything, I think I eat less. If I get a large pop at McD's in the afternoon, it seems to fill me up when otherwise I might be looking around for an unhealthy snack (that has calories of course)! So this is one treat I am not stopping and I don't feel guilty about either. I do try and get my water intake in throughout the day as well though. - 8/25/2012   11:28:59 AM
  • 412
    I still drink an occasional diet soda, but I usually drink iced herb tea, unsweetened. It actually tastes much better than soda. - 5/10/2012   5:51:45 PM
  • 411
    For many years I drank 3-4 Diet Cokes a day. But as I am making changes in my life I'm limiting myself to one Diet Coke a week. We eat out for breakfast on Sunday and I enjoy my DC treat. I did notice that my craving for sugary items is much lower since giving up DC. I drink water and unsweet tea now. I'm sure that drive-thru by my house is wondering why they have so much DC in stock! - 5/10/2012   4:10:56 PM
  • 410
    I generally choose not to drink soda every day. I will avoid any soft drink with aspertame ( Pepsi, Coke, Dr Pepper/7UP brands) or sacharin (Tab soda). These brands seems to leave an aftertaste after drink them. RC/ Dite Rite offers a diet soda line with sucrolose which is tolerable to me. I will choose a small regular soft drink, juice, or water as preferable to any diet Pepsi, diet Coke, or diet Dr Pepper. - 2/17/2012   8:29:44 PM
  • LONESTARBORN
    409
    I really enjoy diet Coke or Pepsi; however, because of I don't tolerate caffeine easily, I only drink them with lunch or dinner. If I drink w/o food, I get headaches so I don't. I do not feel I eat more when I drink DC or DP. Sparkling drinks are a great alternative. Lipton makes an excellent Sparkling Diet Tea Strawberry & Kiwi. Gives me the bubbly w/o the caffeine & I can drink whenever w/o a headache...& I don't overeat because of it. It's all a matter of will power. - 12/28/2011   8:21:04 PM
  • QUIKLYN
    408
    I don't understand the difference in drinking diet soda or the flavored waters or Crystal Light that are suggested in previous comments. They all contain artificial sweeteners, and is that not the problem? It seems that they would cause the same cravings as diet soda. I gave up caffeine back in the summer, and drank an occasional Sprite Zero, 2-3 per week. I really couldn't tell a difference. I am now drinking DC again but am ready to get back on my healthy eating plan and exercise, and I guess I will just drink water and unsweet tea. I have also seen conflicting views about caffeine. I'm confused. - 12/28/2011   6:02:52 PM
  • 407
    I dont like diet drinks as there is something in them that gives me a headache and coke pepsi etc give me the runs - 12/19/2011   9:10:36 AM
  • 406
    I just heard a recent study that says diet sodas can cause a stroke risk increase of 60%...no thanks. - 9/12/2011   3:49:52 PM
  • 405
    I never have any artificial sweeteners, they are so bad for you. I have raw sugar or raw honey if I need it. - 8/3/2011   12:28:54 PM
  • 404
    I have definitely noticed that when I drink soda, it causes me to crave...I drink DIET only! I know that when I don't want to crave, as much as I love soda, if I lay off, it will help me reduce cravings.
    - 7/28/2011   12:32:07 PM
  • BOSHAD
    403
    I do not find that diet soft drinks make me crave sweets. I use it to stop eating food. I do think it may affect fluid retention and perhaps your body's availability to absorb nutrients. I am trying to cut back, - 7/27/2011   12:02:33 PM
  • 402
    I keep reading how bad diet soda is (anything with artificial sweeteners for that matter), and wish I didn't drink it but I figure slow changes are better than nothing. I try to cut back, and eventually, I hope to kick the soda addiction entirely. - 7/26/2011   8:53:55 PM
  • PICKLEDGINGER2
    401
    I drink a few diet soft drinks per week. - 4/23/2011   6:09:48 AM
  • MYDOGJAX
    400
    I don't drink any type of soda very often but I do prefer the taste of diet soda over regular soda. Once again this comes down to personal choice. The studies are out there for people to pay as much attention to them as they like. - 4/20/2011   9:44:27 AM
  • 399
    Have you ever looked at the chemicals that are in your tap water including sodium?? Chemicals are everywhere in our world. Regular coffee & tea have caffeine you can always find something, so it is moderation. If I drink a soda it is just one and I am not hungry for a long time after. I do make sure I drink 16-20 8oz glasses of water as well. - 4/19/2011   1:52:44 PM
  • 398
    If the idea of drinking water bores you, try ... fruit-flavored varieties on the market today.

    These are full of Splenda or other sweetners so what is the difference with diet soda?
    I know a lot of folks like Splenda, but I can not tolerate the taste and aftertaste. So I avoid any drinks with Splenda. So want me to stop drinking Diet Coke-make it
    with Splenda.
    I drink it instead of snacking on a sugar snack-it helps me eat less junk food-call it my one vice. I have cut back, and switch to decaf tea or herbal tea in the evenings. - 4/19/2011   1:29:53 PM
  • 397
    Say it ain't so. Just went I go over my code red addiction and turn to diet pepsi here comes this blog. But I have upped my water intake so hopefully I'm not doing to much damage. - 4/13/2011   5:19:02 PM
  • LITTLEMISS0610
    396
    Just like everything else in life, MODERATION is key! Diet soda, regular soda, fatty foods... If you drink ONE diet soda once in a while, the effects will be minimal, but if that is all the liquid you consume, you will probably run into some problems. Its important to stay hydrated, and soda does the opposite, but if you want one, have one... not five. - 3/6/2011   4:35:59 PM
  • 395
    I've been drinking diet soda all my life. Same with my parents. I actually find the opposite of what this article is trying to say - I drink soda at night when I know I should stop snacking on food, because it keeps me from eating more. I've switched to caffeine-free and I only drink about a can a day (if that), but since it doesn't interfere with my eating habits, I'll never give it up completely. - 2/15/2011   10:57:04 AM
  • 394
    What I found for me is that eating low fat items (processed) I want more they do not satisfy my craving. So I choose to eat regular food but less of it. - 1/27/2011   2:11:07 PM
  • MEMAWS5
    393
    I can take or leave sodas. I drink a lot of coffee and water. When I drink soda, if possible I mix 1/2 and 1/2 reg and diet. Dont use a lot of artifical sweetners (mostly light yougart). My choice of sweetner is honey. I don't know whats ok, good, or the best choice. - 1/25/2011   10:17:20 PM
  • 392
    Almost everything I buy is fat free or sugar free and because of this sugar substitutes are in everything I eat...even the yogurt I'm eating right now.
    I wouldn't say it makes me want to eat more; though I buy these lower calorie options so I can eat more while still staying in my calorie ranges (because I know I'm going to want to eat a lot whether or not it's sugar free).

    I drink lots of water everyday, but I love Diet Coke. It is a weakness. Some times, if I feel like overeating a lot or feel a binge coming on, I will run out and drink a ton of Diet Coke, because the carbonation really makes me feel full.

    I can't tell if diet soft drinks are bad or not. If it has anything to do with artificial sweeteners, what about the risks associated with all the low-cal, sugar free food out there? - 1/25/2011   2:45:22 PM
  • SHEILABOBEILA
    391
    It drives me crazy when I hear people talk about "not enough scientific evidence" when it comes to proving whether we should be eating a particular food (or non food). There are some people who will never be satisfied with ANY study regarding something they like to eat or drink (or smoke or whatever....!) Look how long it took for studies to finally PROVE how bad smoking is for everyone, that it will DEFINITELY kill you. Over 50 years? Long long before that there were studies that "hinted" at the fact, people dying all over the place, but the almightly tobacco companies fought and fought to keep the public addicted and unaware so that they could help us with their wonderful product? NO WAY! If we stopped smoking they wouldn't make any $$$$. What is the difference between diet coke manufacturers and tobacco companies? Does Pepsi Co. want us to have more friends and a better life? No. Does Pepsi Co. know there are studies out there showing a problem with too much sugar intake, and a "potential" problem with artificial sweeteners and other ingredients? Yes. Are they doing anything about it? No. Bottom line: if your body doesn't recognize what you put in it then there are potential problems....your body wasn't meant to ingest chemicals not just every day but EVER. Don't sit back and wait for some huge company that doesn't have your interests at heart to dictate what you should be eating and drinking. Give them the middle finger and take care of yourself!!!! We all know deep down how bad this junk is for us, and it's hard to reverse the brainwashing we've all been through over the years, but it can be done and BY GOD IT FEELS SO GOOD!!!!!! - 1/25/2011   11:24:27 AM
  • 390
    I drink water about 75% of the time. I may have a DC two or three times a week. Instead of DC, I'll drink tea to change things up a bit. Overall I do pretty good in this area but have work to do in other areas. Ugh - always something! - 1/25/2011   2:30:32 AM

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