Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Scientific Reasoning Behind Drinking Diet Soda

Well, there is none!

Ask people who drink diet soda and they will probably answer one or all of the reasons below for why they drink them. We asked someone who happened to tweet about going out for a Diet Coke:
  1. They like soda but do not want the added sugar.

  2. They are recommended in all diets (for losing weight).
It is possible that there is a third reason, which did not come from this specific twitter user but from knowing quite a few diabetics. Diet soda, because it lacks sugar, is better for diabetics and therefore recommended by many nutritionists and doctors.

These reasons sound valid but consider the following:
Sugar is a substance that you body knows and can get rid of. Whatever is used to sweeten sugar-free drinks is chemical-based and may do more harm than sugar because it is foreign to your body.

Here are responses to the three reasons listed above:
  1. Do you really "like" soda or are you addicted to it? Recent research has indicated that many unhealthy foods trigger similar effects in your brain as does cocaine and heroine.1 What you may interpret as necessary and something you like can in fact be the same exact way a drug addict justifies using more drugs (please note that cocaine and heroin are considered hard drugs).

  2. A lot of nutritionists, dietitians, and doctors recommend diet sodas to their patients. The idea is that a lower intake of sugar will lower the patients' weight gain. There is no evidence that this is so. In fact, research indicates that diet soda INCREASES your appetite.2 Seems to completely contradict the purpose of getting on a diet (we won't even get into how awful these short term weight-loss diets are for you).

  3. Lastly, diet soda for diabetics. Makes sense, right? Less sugar, better management of blood glucose levels, right? This morning when we read a retweet by @AnnChildersMD that said diet soda is now linked to metabolic syndrome and type two diabetes. The article, which is on the National Health Institute's news health website3 says "A new study has implicated meat, fried food and, surprisingly, diet soda in the development of metabolic syndrome." We looked for the actual study and found one that dates back to April of 2009. They concluded that "consumption of diet soda at least daily was associated with significantly greater risks of select incident metabolic syndrome components and type 2 diabetes."
Our Thoughts
If you like drinking soda, analyze the reason why you like it. Stop drinking it for a month and see if you crave it. This is the only way you will know if you are in complete control. If you at any point in time miss it, be careful because you may only THINK you like it. The body is amazing that way.

Why do health professionals suggest drinking diet soda for weight loss? Simple. They are misinformed. This is a fairly new study and most practicing professionals graduated before 2009 and probably have never sat down to catch up on new discoveries in the health field. Stop drinking soda for a month and see if your appetite decreases.

Diabetics... It is time you stop drinking (and eating) what you like, and you start drinking (and eating) what you have to. There is no simple way to sugar coat that message. That's it. You need to stop and take control. Here's an analogy that might help. Would you put diet soda (or regular soda) in your car's gas tank? I think you answered "no". Why? Your car doesn't run on soda! It's almost ridiculous to have to explain that one, right? Guess what... Your body doesn't run on soda either. Do you care more about your car than you do your body?

Our message
Stop drinking sodas altogether. There are plenty of alternatives. What ever happened to homemade lemon aide (real, you squeeze lemons add the water and brown sugar)? What about this quick and easy (2 minute) delicious strawberry and blueberry drink:

Start taking care of you as much as you take care of your car.

If you are interested in your health and nutrition, follow us on twitter (@glycotrainer) and subscribe to the RSS Feed that belong to this blog and our site,

[1] Junk Food 'Addiction' May Be Real

[2] People who drink diet soft drinks don't lose weight. In fact, they gain weight, a new study shows,2933,159579,00.html

[3] NIH News in Health

[4] PubMed :: Diet soda intake and risk of incident metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)


  1. Great article! Soft drinks are a complete disaster for fertility specially for woman with PCOS or ovulatory disorders--but of course it also negatively impacts the health of the egg and sperm. This is without even mentioning embryonic development! Therefore I also don't recommend it.

    Thanks again for the great information!

    Warm regards,
    Gabriela Rosa
    BHSc, ND, Post Grad NFM, DBM, Dip Nut, MATMS, MNHAA

  2. PCOS = Polycystic ovary disease

    This post deals more directly with diet soft drinks. What would you say about diet sodas and fertility?

  3. Well, some of the artificial sweeteners found in diet soft drinks have been linked to birth defects and malformation as well as infertility.

    In many cases metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and polycystic ovarian SYNDROME (PCOS) co-exisit. There is a lot of research these days showing how blood sugar and insulin irregularities in present in these conditions can negatively impact hormonal balance and ovulation potential in women.

    Furthermore, insulin resistance has also been linked to poor sperm density, thereby negatively impacting male fertility.

    So even though they may seem unrelated at first--they are much more related than many people suffering with infertility might think. And cutting out soft drinks from one's diet (diet or otherwise)is a simple, easy step towards optimising a couple's fertility.

    I hope that clarifies things further...

    Warm regards,
    Gabriela Rosa
    BHSc, ND, Post Grad NFM, DBM, Dip Nut, MATMS, MNHAA

  4. Yes! That is precisely the kind of information I was hoping to get in your reply!

    Thank, Gabriela.

  5. Awesome information! Thanks for listing the scientific proof for something we already knew to be true...that diet soda is NOT a "better" choice when hydrating your body.

    I stopped drinking soda and other sweetened (both real and artificial) drinks a very long time ago. I stick to purified water (reverse osmosis), decaf coffee (black), tea (black, green and herbal) and the occasional beer or glass of red wine with dinner. That's about it!

    Wishing you optimal health,


  6. Thank you for your comment, Pete.

    I like referencing because 1) I'm a scientist, and 2) people seems to be a little less skeptical and more open (or at least shocked) when they're shown at least a study.

    I'm sure I can find more, just short on time to do a real, in-depth literary review (as is what I normally post on

    I almost never drink anything with my meals. I drink a lot of natural water during the day. When I do drink soda is when I have a visitor stay with me and they purchase the sodas. I'll have the 8oz serving that is on the label and always with a high fiber, high protein meal to moderate the insulin response as best as I can (which I'm sure is almost pointless). I don't do alcohol all that much either. I haven't drank in well over 4 months.

    I grew up with hibiscus teas, limeaids, and waters made from fruits like strawberry, melons, and watermelon. What ever happened to those much better and healthier drinks?

  7. The first reference used for this post has expired and is can no longer be viewed at Yahoo!

    Here is a link to the same study on Business Week's website.
    Junk Food 'Addiction' May Be Real