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The Dangers of Diet Soda

The Dangers of Diet Soda

by macdaddy on February 12, 2008 · 63 comments

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

On Sunday, I went over to a friend’s house for a marathon board-gaming session. I ate too much home-made chili (Will is from Texas) and drank too much ginger ale.

“Do you have any diet coke?” I asked before choosing the soda.

“No,” said Will. “And besides, that stuff is awful. It’s worse for you than regular soda!

“Come on,” I said. “I know it’s bad, but worse than regular soda?” I was thinking of the two giant diet cokes I’d had with my greasy hamburger a couple days before. I was thinking of how I used to drink two or three diet sodas every day.

“I’m serious,” he said. “That stuff will give you diabetes. Look it up.” And so I did. Turns out Will was telling the truth. Sort of.

Diet drinks and obesity

In 2005, Sharon Fowler and her colleagues from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio presented eight years of research data that explored the link between obesity risk and soft drinks. According to the WebMD summary of the study:

Fowler’s team looked at seven to eight years of data on 1,550 Mexican-American and non-Hispanic white Americans aged 25 to 64. Of the 622 study participants who were of normal weight at the beginning of the study, about a third became overweight or obese.

For regular soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

  • 26% for up to 1/2 can each day
  • 30.4% for 1/2 to one can each day
  • 32.8% for 1 to 2 cans each day
  • 47.2% for more than 2 cans each day.

For diet soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

  • 36.5% for up to 1/2 can each day
  • 37.5% for 1/2 to one can each day
  • 54.5% for 1 to 2 cans each day
  • 57.1% for more than 2 cans each day.

For each can of diet soft drink consumed each day, a person’s risk of obesity went up 41%.

Obviously, there’s a difference between correlation and causation. This study is not meant to imply that diet soda causes obesity, just to point out that diet soda consumption is a “marker” for the condition.

Metabolic syndrome

More recently, researchers have reported a correlation between diet soda and metabolic syndrome, which the Mayo Clinic describes thusly:

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Having just one of these conditions — increased blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, excess body fat around the waist or abnormal cholesterol levels — isn’t diagnosed as metabolic syndrome, but it does contribute to your risk of serious disease. If more than one of these conditions occur in combination, your risk is even greater.

Basically, metabolic syndrome describes risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. According to The New York Times, this recent research indicates:

The one-third who ate the most fried food increased their risk by 25 percent compared with the one-third who ate the least, and surprisingly, 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.

Of course, the best solution is to forego pop altogether. Diet soda leads is associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome. Regular soda is dense with calories. Water has none of these drawbacks.

I did a good job of sticking to only water for a couple of weeks, but I’ve allowed myself to slip. I find that when I do the water-only thing, I feel better, weight-loss is easier, and I make better choices all around.

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lauren Muney February 12, 2008 at 11:09 am

Here’s where I’ll get all scientific:

‘When people tell you that something is bad for you, they usually can’t name all the reasons why it’s bad for you. But truly, if there’s one small thing in it that’s bad, there’s probably a whole bunch of other secret things about its awfulness.’

I know, that doesn’t help you make decisions, does it? This is why it’s SO much easier to say, “EAT REAL WHOLE FOODS”. It’s a ‘positive’ statement which doesn’t keep you guessing. I know, “whole foods” lets out all the ‘fun stuff’ you are craving, the crap that those faked food-like substances are actually making you crave.

What to know a secret…? Ssssshhhh….

The REASON why you crave all those ‘fake foods’ and junk is that your body is UNDERNOURISHED. Really? YES. Your body CRAVES real nourishment so it won’t be hungry, thirty, under-energized, or under-nutriated: it will MAKE you want more food…

…but, the craving person thinks that what the body needs is more [fake] food. So it blithely fills its belly with more sodas, pizzas, Taco Bell, candy, etc etc, THINKING that it can get its needed nourishment. Instead, the cells get gunked-up by the crap –and the outcome is dis-ease (‘disease’): diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disorders, metabolic disorders.

Metabolic disorders? That’s a fancy word for “the body cannot function in its normal manner of growth/energy/waste/burn-off”.

Again, where does diet soda fall in this category of “better than regular soda”? Nowhere. Diet Soda is CHEMICALS with gas (CO2) and coloring (more chemicals). Please don’t ask what it does to your brain: phenylalanine (read the back) is converted to the amino acid tyrosine in the brain, which, in anyone who has any depression, mood issues or anxiety, can really f a person up. SERIOUSLY.

I know I’m a coach and I shouldn’t be talking so hard, but PLEASE, anyone who is listening, get AHOLD of yourself when it comes to your ‘craving desires’ and realize that CHANGE comes from the first step of REALIZING THEY ARE CRAVINGS. The next steps can be done in easy gentleness.

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2 dingbat February 12, 2008 at 11:49 am

And then there’s the problem of phosphoric acid in all sodas, which literally leaches the calcium right out of your bones.

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3 Steve S. December 29, 2010 at 1:50 pm

A well-controlled clinical study by Heaney and Rafferty using calcium-balance methods found no impact of carbonated soft drinks containing phosphoric acid on calcium excretion. The study compared the impact of water, milk, and various soft drinks (two with caffeine and two without; two with phosphoric acid and two with citric acid) on the calcium balance of 20- to 40-year-old women who customarily consumed ~3 or more cups (680 mL) of a carbonated soft drink per day. They found that, relative to water, only milk and the two caffeine-containing soft drinks increased urinary calcium, and that the calcium loss associated with the caffeinated soft drink consumption was about equal to that previously found for caffeine alone. Phosphoric acid without caffeine had no impact on urine calcium, nor did it augment the urinary calcium loss related to caffeine. Because studies have shown that the effect of caffeine is compensated for by reduced calcium losses later in the day, Heaney and Rafferty concluded that the net effect of carbonated beverages—including those with caffeine and phosphoric acid—is negligible, and that the skeletal effects of carbonated soft drink consumption are likely due primarily to milk displacement.

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4 Josh February 12, 2008 at 1:54 pm

There have been a slew of articles written about the “people-who-drink-diet-drinks-gained-more-weight-studies”, the bottom line is that the people in the studies who drank diet drinks ate more, they consumed more calories.

It’s psychological and physiological.

People rationalize they can eat more (a lot more) because they are drinking a diet drink. Also, diet drinks have been shown to spike insulin levels just like real sugar (the sweet taste is the real culprit, a la Shangri-La diet). This last point is sort of what Lauren is saying. Diet drinks make you hungry for real food.

People quote this article a lot implying that diet drinks alone make you gain weight. However, this is false. If person A eats 1500 calories plus 3 diet drinks every day and person B eats 1500 calories per day plus 3 normal sodas, person B will lose less weight. I don’t think this is arguable.

Very thought provoking though.

-Josh

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5 dingbat February 12, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Josh reminds me of another study I read a few years ago which suggested that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda increase the hormones that make you feel hungry. I recall reading this and having an a-ha moment, since I would get hunger pangs so intense I feared I’d pass out before I got to eat again. And whaddya know, since quitting the diet coke I haven’t had hunger like that again. Except for those days here and there when poor planning has me waiting 8 hours between meals.

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6 AB February 12, 2008 at 3:14 pm

I used to drink regular soda. I drank about a 2 litre a day. I ended up weighing 221lbs at 5’5 (female). I was miserable. Of course, there were other factors to my weight, but I read an article that told me how many calories were in soda. So I quit drinking regular soda and switched to diet, drinking the same amount pretty much though. Guess what? My weight dropped to 201lbs within 6 weeks. No other changes at that time, mind you. I was still eating the same junk, still not exercising.

I don’t really drink much diet soda anymore. I’ve since gotten in shape and cleaned up my eating (and am down to a healthy weight). But if I do want soda, I drink diet.

Take correlations like this with a grain of salt. Also, drink water. But occasional diet soda isn’t going to make anyone fat. Eating too many calories will make you fat.

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7 greenman2001 February 12, 2008 at 3:16 pm

J.D., Lauren is making an enormously important point. We can argue all day — just like food processors argue with the FDA — about what exactly is bad about processed foods, if anything, what the mechanism is, what an acceptable risk level is, and — who knows? — it may be that none of these processed foods are bad for you in the slightest. But your body needs an extraordinary array of nutrients in order to function, and it’s built to get those nutrients from whole foods hunted and gathered in the environment — or, in modern human existence, around the perimeter of the grocery store. Processed food either strips away many of those nutrients, or is built up from a fraction of the ones you need — either way, your body isn’t getting what it needs. What happens next is really anybody’s guess: do you crave Lucky Charms because you’re hungry? Because your blood sugar is low? Because a TV ad convinced you? Because the government’s food pyramid says to eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast? Because you have no time to scramble a couple of eggs?

When you commit to eating whole foods that you prepare yourself, on a schedule that feeds your body calories in a steady stream to minimize your appetite, and turn your back on the world of processed foods and all of the cultural baggage that goes along with it — fashion, advertising, “experts,” coupons, “convenience” — all of these issues go away, and you’re faced with a very simple task: find recipes. Cook. Eat.

You’re a busy guy. Imagine: you don’t have to think about the potential problems associated with processed foods, research them, talk about them, listen to other people talk about them, read about them, or pay attention to them ever again. What would you do with all that time you’re now spending thinking about this? Probably reading cookbooks and cooking from them and loving the food that you’re making.

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8 Josh February 12, 2008 at 3:17 pm

I know from personal experience that diet drinks knock me out of ketosis when I’m on Atkins and using the urine strip things. Google Seth Roberts (psych phd prof at UC Berkely and author of shangri-la diet which I’ve actually read) he has a neat blog of his research areas. He goes as far as to suggest that when you eat anything sweet to use nose plugs to cut down on taste. My personal, unfounded, theory is that sweeteners may increase insulin even more than sugar since they are so much more “sweeter”. I suppose gram for gram — if one buys into the sweet=insulin and therefore hunger panges — aspartame, splenda, and stevia will have a greater effect. I wonder if there is a meter for sweetness that can be found for, let’s say, Diet Coke versus regular Coke? Is Diet “sweeter”? If so, then we’re on to something.

With all that said I likely drink more diet drinks than almost anyone. I have had between 5 and 7 diet drinks today, my employer has them for free! It’s one of my last “bad” habits. But I don’t think it’s as bad as December 07 when I’d eat over 3000 cal a day and not exercise.

This is probably me rationalizing but at work I can get bottled water instead of Diet drinks, for free. However, I don’t trust water bottled in the same state I’m in. It does not have to meet any goverment regulations as long as it doesn’t cross state lines. Paranoia or dumb rationalization so I can drink my Diet drinks, I’m not sure, probably both.

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9 Jeff February 12, 2008 at 4:58 pm

I don’t much like drinking plain water – even if it’s been filtered or bottled. I decided to put a splash of low sugar cranberry juice in with my water. It doesn’t taste like juice, but it doesn’t taste like water anymore. My ratio is about 1 part juice to 9 parts water. A half-gallon of juice will last me more than a week.

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10 em February 12, 2008 at 5:00 pm

I have two suggestions:

1) Get a Nalgene bottle and carry it around with you. I keep one at the office and one at home. It’s so much easier to get in the habit of drinking water when you have a bottle right there to simply refill. And think of all the soda bottles that you will keep from the trash!

2) Read Michael Pollan’s _In Defense of Food_and you will learn a lot, as Lauren said, about eating the real stuff. Maybe you can do a book review!

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11 Womens Health Mag February 12, 2008 at 8:51 pm

My friend has been drinking diet pop every day for as long as I’ve known him. He’s diabetic and hates to drink water. He does not care about the dangers.

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12 Brigid February 13, 2008 at 8:51 am

I’m glad dingbat brought up the point about calcium and phosporus. That little factoid sometimes gets overlooked. As a woman – calcium becomes a big concern especially as you get older. I don’t have any facts on hand to back me up, but I would hazard a guess that woman are bigger consumers of diet pop than men. That’s a bad combination!

I think a lot of the pop issues stem again from portion. Remember back in the day when Coke was sold in 8 ounce bottles? Now a “normal” single serving is a 20 ounce plastic bottle.

A friend of mine went to Spain a few years back and she said when you ordered Coke, you got basically a juice glass that was not refillable. The people there were flabergasted when they found out you could go into almost any American restuarant and essentially order a small wastepaper basket full of pop AND get a refill if you wanted.

For me – I’m sensitive to all artifical sweetners. They give me terrible headaches, so I drink regular. I might have on or two a week if that. I figure for the few I have, regular pop is fine.

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13 Anca February 13, 2008 at 4:42 pm

I tend to only drink soda (Diet Coke only) at restaurants, depending on how yucky their water tastes and how much I’m craving the sweetness of Diet Coke (which probably just means I don’t realize I’m very thirsty). I’ve only starting drinking soda again (after many years of just water) this year because my boyfriend often orders it and I drink some of his. I think I’m going to propose that we drink no more soda for a whole month and see how it goes. (At home I drink filtered water with a squeeze of lemon/lime.)

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14 FFB February 15, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Read UltraMetabolism by Mark Hyman! Great book about proper nutrition and metabolic syndrome. He talks about the effects of fake sugars as well as high fructose corn syrup. What it comes down to is most soda is just bad for you!

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15 Kenneth Barr May 2, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Remember those studies are correlations. Do you think it is possible that people drank more diet soda because they were putting on more weight and didnt want the calories of the regular stuff?

Though the studies dont prove anything, there may be some substance. Lots of water is good, even if only because it hydrates far better than soda.

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16 Ben May 3, 2008 at 6:20 am

Don’t listen to WebMD, I mean, its true that diet sodas are bad, they do do alot, but WebMD is owned by several pharmeceudical companies, pharms are the most profitable companies in the world, and keep profits up by marketing drugs, all I am saying is that your looking for an unbiased view on the effects of diet soda, and the pharms will probably only tell you one side of things, its called having a conflict of interest.

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17 Wayne September 3, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Of course the people who drank diet drinks were fatter. If you are fatter then you are much more likely to drink diet drinks then if you’re skinnier.

I see these kind of correlation-conclusion fallacies all over the place. People, whenever someone make a correlation based conclusion, please think about the study very carefully: it’s really easy to make a mistake in drawing conclusions from those kinds of studies.

Nutrition is still very much misunderstood. Even professionals and scientists understand very little about the field relative to other fields.

But the article is very thought provoking.

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18 Jim from Northern Iowa September 17, 2008 at 11:44 am

Up until about ten years ago, I used to drink a lot of Dr. Pepper, when I was a bus driver, and got it free when we stopped for a break. But after reading various information about the effects of sodas, decided to swear off them 99%, except for an occasional Hi-C orange at McD’s or something similar, since they are more or less a flavored drink. I drink filtered reverse osmosis water at home, and take along a half gallon insulated jug of water/ice cubes, and have no craving at all for sodas. I can ‘t recall the website, but read that it supposedly takes 32 eight ounce glasses of water to counter the acid in one can of pop; maybe true, maybe not, but for me, you can’t beat a good cold drink of water to satisfy thirst.

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19 joe October 1, 2008 at 5:48 pm

what ever this is so pothetic i drink a 2 liter bottle of diet coke and im skinny im 5’10″ and weigh 132 pounds and theyre claiming that diet soda causes pancreatic cancer but when u think about it what the heck doesnt cause cancer everything today is bad for you even vegtables are bad for you eat to much what ever tho WEBMD is claiming all of this but the fact is 9 out of ten of there posters are pharmeceudical (have no idea if i spelled that right) companies just trying to make $ plus diet coke i99% water so wat ever

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20 cameron October 3, 2008 at 9:13 am

I think that there are more important things to worry about. Honestly, who cares about diet soda?

If you really need to drink soda that bad that you cant drink water instead.. then you obviously have some kinda of problem.

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21 Rueal November 13, 2008 at 1:27 pm

Meh’ Hey peeps just mix some warm/hot water with some honey, and voila you have a nice drink. Also, Milk and honey is very tasty IMHO. Me and my family “dad and two brothers” only drink sodas

occasionally “only a 20.oz every other week” and we used to drink lots of tea, but I thin we all found that an icy glass of water is the best bet. I used to drink alot of soda’s when playing FPS games on my PC, but I often found myself feeling jittery. Now its water all the way!

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22 MElisssa December 25, 2008 at 8:32 pm

people freak out about everything.. you know theres just as many retarded claims that drinking water is bad for you too right? tap water is filled with chemicals and diseases.. yet you can find just as many studies that say bottled water is even more unhealthy.. so is milk.. the key rule is “moderation” eat and drink whatever you want just dont be stupid about it, and dont read into these “studies” too much

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23 sixseven42 December 26, 2008 at 3:45 pm

The ingredients listed on my diet caffeine-free root beer are as follows:

Filtered, carbonated water, caramel color, sodium benzoate, aspartame, natural and artificial flavors, acesulfame potassium, malic acid.

Phenylketonurics: contains phenylalanine.

I’m aware of the dangers of aspartame, but I don’t know what acesulfame potassium, malic accid or phenylketonurics are.

What is phosphoric acid and how is it listed in my root beer ingredients?

I have never been a soda drinker until recently — not even as a child. I always believed that all soda was bad, but now I am in love with my diet, caffeine-free root beer.

I know I should give it up. Just surfing to find out… why, exactly?

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24 LolaSTL December 29, 2008 at 10:18 pm

sixseven42-

Although I hate to admit it, I have also recently become pretty much hooked on Diet A&W Root Beer. I can drink quite a bit of it.

I have never been a fan of any soda, diet or regular, and I never drank it until I began working on the nursing floor after graduation and virtually ALL of the nurses drink diet soda. It’s like a phenomenon. We should know better, but I suppose everybody has their vices.

The ingredients in all sodas, but particularly diet soda, are concerning. For example, phosphoric acid is used in fertilizers, detergents, pharmaceuticals, and food flavoring (which of these doesn’t belong..?). It is irritating to the skin and eyes, not to mention what it does inside of you, where you can’t see.

Sodium Benzoate has actually been removed from Diet Coke after recent studies showed that it actually attacks cell’s mitochondria (the cell’s powerhouse; sodium benzoate pokes holes in cells and allows oxygen to escape, creating free radicals, which causes cells to kind of “rust”… for lack of a better explanation).

Acesulfame Potassium is made from an acid, which obviously isn’t good to ingest, and is linked to various tumors and diabetes.

Malic Acid is the only somewhat beneficial ingredient (besides water, of course) in diet sodas. It occurs naturally in unripe fruit and gives sodas their tang, although it does increase the body’s overall acid intake.

I’m not trying to be preachy. I have a Master’s degree in Nursing, so I should know better, too. Diet Root Beer is just so good! And I have noticed that I have been gaining a little weight, but I tried to attribute it to the pressures of work.

I’m making a conscious effort now to break my addiction to diet soda. I wish you luck in yours, as well ; )

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25 Reitana January 4, 2009 at 1:11 am

Is it possible that those who drink diet soda are more likely to eat foods that are worse for them simply because they think the soda allows them more of an excuse?

“I’ll eat this piece of cake, but only because I didn’t drink regular soda.”

I know that I am more willing to indulge on days that I drink diet soda as apposed to days that I drink regular.

I’ve also noticed that when I drink diet soda I drink less than when I drink regular soda. I would usually drink 6 cans of regular soda on any given day and when I changed to diet soda I drink as little as two all day, and the rest is just water or fruit juice..

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26 ECA January 4, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Do you want the truth?

The body craves certain things to Fulfill its job.

If it doesnt GET those nutrients/vitamins/Flavors/tastes/..

It looks in other sources.

So we Dump everything we can into our bodies to Solve these cravings. The body stores what IT THINKS we can use, LATER, and keeps looking.

WE GET FAT.

OUR body also GETS the idea it needs to CONSUME MORE to get what it wants, so that WHEN you get the PROPER nutrition IT STILL thinks it needs MORE, so it becomes HARD to diet.

when Fruits and Vegetables are MORE expensive then MEAT, we end up eating MEAT.

When we cant find an alternative to eating CRAP, we eat CRAP.

Try and get away from Corn syrup, MSG, carmel coloring, and 1/2 the ADDED CHEAP stuff.

Learn to make soups, HOME MADE..

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27 Ladiesue January 17, 2009 at 11:56 am

I have read all the comments and the article and I do admit I love Diet Coke. However, I don’t find myself craving it. I do fall into that category sometimes-you know the one that if I have a diet Coke then I can have a cookie. Since I am diabetic and my former husband, too, (he was diagnosed years before I was) diet sodas became something we could drink besides water, milk, juice, etc. If I have 1 diet Coke every 2 days that’s enough to keep me from craving it. It’s the taste thing with me. I do drink a lot of water. Great stuff, but I won’t drink it from the tap here at home. Nasty stuff, gives me indigestion after I drink it. Bottled water must be spring water, not the purified stuff – that’s just tap water that was processed over and over again to take out the impurities. Not for me!

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28 Should High Fructose Corn Syrup be Public Enemy #1? February 19, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Great article JD. I feel like people with more unhealthy habits are m ore likely to drink Diet soda. I have no facts to back it up, just the perception that when I worked in food service, the more unhealthy the menu item ordered, the more likely they were to pair with a diet soda. Either way, drink H2O people! Stop butting non-foods in your body!

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29 Jeff March 22, 2009 at 7:28 am

CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION!!!!!!!!!!! Subjects that drink more soda may be more likely to eat more.

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30 Lawrence April 15, 2009 at 8:04 pm

MY MOM REALLY NEEDS TO GET OFF THIS STUFF!!!

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31 Maxine April 24, 2009 at 6:53 am

I drink lots of diet soda and I have lost 220 lbs. so as far as diet soda making you fat hmmmmm I know that isn’t always true! With losing all that weight I no longer have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or any other side effect of being obese, so I think I will keep my last little vice and enjoy it!

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32 alank April 25, 2009 at 3:22 am

Acesulfame Potassium is a sweetener — it is mixed with aspartame to make drinks taste “sweeter” than with aspartame alone. what about “crystal light” type drinks — they are not necessarily sodas but they contain artificial sweeteners. are they just as bad as diet sodas??

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33 IsoTrain April 25, 2009 at 11:08 pm

I can have 2-3 Diet Cokes a day with no problem. I can drink it and roll right over in bed and fall asleep. I can drink it and continue to get in better shape at 36 than I ever have before.

Yes, I believe in many people they will drink diet anything and think they are OK with eating a few crappy things and they just add up over time as does the weight. Unless you have the manpower to keep yourself away from junk. So enjoy your Diet Coke and eat healthy.

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34 Josiah February 13, 2010 at 6:53 pm

I used to be really addicted to soda, but I realized how bad it is for your body and mind and I knew that I had to stop but I didn’t know how to do it. I just completely quit drinking soda for like two weeks and after that it was so easy to completely stay away from it. Its been over a year now and every time I have a little soda occasionally it tastes like I’m drinking syrup, its disgusting! I don’t even enjoy it. You should try too :)

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35 tania February 22, 2010 at 1:51 pm

my son has had diabetes since he was 4 years old and drinkin diet soda is crazy to say would cause diabetes. It’s like sying if you cross your eyes they will stay like that forever. come on give me a break….. Get educated. I been in diabetes classes with my son for 6 years and i Never heard that.

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36 inboulder May 13, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Oh come on, you just have correlation, and no evidence for causation what-so-ever, moreover you have no evidence that there are any ‘dangers of diet soda’. From your reasoning one could conclude that calorie restriction (dieting) causes obesity, or that nascar causes obesity, or that gastric bypass causes obesity. This is a fantastically poor post.

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37 Brenda June 1, 2010 at 10:12 pm

I’ve worked as a food server for over twenty years. General rule of thumb, the skinny person at a table will order regular soda and drink one glass. The fat person will order diet and drink 3-5 glasses. To be honest, I never really paid attention to the actual food consumption, just thought it interesting. I’m not the only server to notice this.

I recently read that fake sweetners stipulate appatite, which explains the situation. I’ve also read that the fake sweetner “tricks” the brain into thinking the body is getting carbohydrates — and that shortly thereafter, the brain/body realizes that no sugar has come in and suddenly the sugar craving hits — causing overconsumption.

I enjoy a pepsi maybe once a month. When I first lost weight, the first thing I cut from my diet was regular sodas — of which I was drinking 4-5 a day. Boy did I miss them at first (carb cravings). I seldom even think about soda any longer.

Brenda

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38 Linus July 2, 2010 at 11:30 am

Whether its diet or zero calorie or regular, soda is a soda. Its like a slow poison with chemicals that do not kill you or hurt you in the here and now; but can put a major hurt on you if you continue to abuse it and do it for a long time.

It may not hurt you that much in your 20′s; but you will pay a price in 15 to 20 years from now. I recovered from a Brain tumor surgery and medications which were prescribed for a lifetime. How? Certainly, not by drinking soda!

You see, the body get acidic and sugaric (pardon my parody, but you get the idea) with these synthesized drinks and the effects of that show up in what is now called “metabollic syndrome” ( a collection of oberved facts like blood pressure, cholesterol, insulin and calorie overload) to indicate what i call a “disease syndrome” ( a collection of diseases such as diabetes, obesity, blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.

With my own life, i’ve been able to overcome cancer and get well. I’ve posted a lot of them at http://www.wyssyr.com/blog.

Choose, Change and Enjoy…

Linus

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39 common sense September 17, 2010 at 2:25 am

drink and eat what you want as long as you workout and burn as many calories as you consume but also dont forget about your friend name H2O.

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40 really April 14, 2011 at 6:23 am

To think that you can eat whatever so long as you exercise and burn the calories is senseless. Ever see someone fit, thin and under 30 have a heart attack, etc. Health from the inside out is important, if I can clean off battery Terminals with Diet Soda, there is no way I’m drinking it. Yes H2O is your best friend. I think of Nutrition as being the “Cars” and water the “Highway”.

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41 Mulleton September 20, 2010 at 4:23 pm

So you are probably wondering why people who drink Diet pop actually are more at risk for Diabetes and weight gain. Or maybe it makes sense… regardless, here’s what happens inside your body:

When you consume Aspartame, or Sucralose, or any other fake sugars your body leaps into action, just like it would if you had consumed real sugar. Your pancreas releases insulin to gather up what the body thinks is sugar and deliver it to the liver to be safely stored and processed. However, as the insulin travels through the blood stream it doesn’t find the large number of intruding sugar particles the pancreas thought there would be. Thus it just delivers whatever it finds to the liver.

When the insulin reports to the liver, he is extremely inconvenienced by the mistake. He had been preparing for a new load of sugar and had off-loaded all his reserves to make new space for the sugar (hence the energy boost) and now will not have enough reserve sugar for next time. Furious about the drastic miscalculation, he yells at the pancreas for being so ignorant in sending him, and the insulin, false information.

The pancreas, feeling a little upset at himself for the enormous miscalculation, promises to make adjustments for next time. Only perhaps next time it will be real sugar and the pancreas won’t send out enough insulin to round it all up. Real sugar is like glass to veins and arteries without insulin to carefully transport it, which is why diabetics often can suffer from vision impairment and loss of sensation in extremities (fingers, toes, etc) without their pancreas producing the proper amounts of insulin to transport the sugars.

If this cycle repeats itself too much, the pancreas can stop producing insulin almost altogether. Just think of the principle of “Half of a half of a half” and you get the idea of each time this happens how the pancreas might react for the next time. When this happens, you have successfully given yourself diabetes the same as if you had overloaded on sugars and worn your pancreas out.

So moral of the story? Don’t drink diet pop… or pop altogether in reality.

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed physician or an expert in nutrition or the health sciences. I heard this explanation from a friend who is a personal trainer studying for her masters in nutrition and thought I would pass it on. The details may be slightly off… but you get the gist of the story. And the moral….

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42 CAEdge October 25, 2010 at 11:09 am

I can’t believe some of the junk science that people are spouting here…
I tend to crave things that taste good. DUH. I find plain water is gross and forcing it down makes me feel a little queasy (unless I’ve been working out and I’m super thirsty). I guess feeling queasy is ONE way to not over eat, huh? It’s hard to know what is “safe.” And then the amounts you consume can render even safe ingredients, unsafe.

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43 Darren November 11, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Great info. I use to drink diet all the time. Now I don’t even drink any pop. Just water and tea. I keep telling people it’s bad for them but they usually don’t listen. I guess they just don’t care that much about their health.

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44 Denver Photographer March 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm

It’s a little worrisome to think about how much diet soda I actually drink.

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45 Morgan McKay June 6, 2011 at 11:47 am

Mac – I am heading to the dentist today. I have experienced a rash of cavities ever since I began consuming diet sodas and Fresca about 5 years ago. I am 33 and got my first cavity at 30. After being off them for a long time, I started drinking them again recently and now have a huge tooth ache that needs to be addressed.

I am dropping these from my diet altogether and substituting them with FREE flavored water http://goo.gl/rENjJ
Morgan McKay recently posted..A Seasonal Lunch

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46 jo mama June 19, 2011 at 9:39 am

You guys against diet soda are just a bunch of haters!!!! Your just jealous that you like regular pop and are obese while us who drink diet are fit and in shape.

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47 Big Man July 7, 2011 at 10:34 am

I am a big man. Always have been. Even before diet sodas. Earlier this year I was about 426 pounds and 6 feet 6 inches tall. I was discharged from the military for being overweight. Over the years I have been on every diet. The Atkins or South beach have worked the best for me but I never lost the weight that everyone else has. I would drink 4 or 5 diet sodas a day sometimes more. I drank about a gallon of water each day but I still drank the diet sodas. I don’t eat snacks, candies or sweets. I have one banana for breakfast. I have a 1 cup of salad greens or Broccoli for lunch with a pack of lite Italian dressing 25 calories.
Dinner will consist of about 2 cups of salad one pack of lite Italian Dressing. 1/2 cup of Rice or Potato. A leg and thigh from a broiled chicken or one slice of meat loaf. My wife portions out my food so I am not cheating by over measuring. I eat no snacks but I may occasionally have a 1/2 cup of chocolate pudding as a treat after dinner. I eat this way every day and have for about the last thirty years but the weight just continues to increase not a lot but steadily increases.
Most of my doctors have said it is simple math excess calories eaten equals weight gain. They claim I am cheating and not telling anyone about it. My wife can attest to this. I had given up trying to control my weight.
Then I went on a cruise. (Great more fattening food). To my surprise I lost weight. I started looking at what I ate. I actually ate more food on the ship than I do at home, about twice as much. I did not really increase my exercise level while on the cruise so what was the difference. –
I was too cheap to pay for the soda on the ship so I did without.

I have lost about 50 pounds in 12 weeks. I am eating the same foods, doing the same amount of work. Nothing has changed in my routine. Yet I am losing weight.
I never believed the stories about diet soda. My doctors had all said it is a matter of calories. Well my new doctor agrees with me that I can’t drink diet soda. I don’t know the science behind it but I think MULLETON had it right. I am still loosing weight. I may someday have a diet soda again but only with a meal.
Our bodies are all different what works for me may not work for you. But I have been big all my life but really big since I was 18 years old. The only time I weighed less than 350 was when I taught scuba diving and I was so busy getting in and out of the water and equipment that I did not have time to eat. Seriously. It only lasted about 3 months then the weight started coming back on.
I only wish I had learned of this when I was 18. Good luck to you if you are over weight. Try eliminating the artificially sweeten food and drinks. It is working for me.

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48 greenlivingeco July 14, 2011 at 8:28 am

I quit cold turkey today!! I did some research to help motivate me as well. If you need more incentive check out http://www.greenlivingeco.com/dangers-soda-pop/ it talks about the dangers to your health but also about the environmental impact, it is hideous! So whatever it takes to kick the habit, good luck to all out there trying to quit, it is hard but worth it. ( I know I’m only on day 1…;)

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49 Dirk August 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Is this specific to coke/corn syrup sodas? What about soda water or tonic?

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50 Elaine August 3, 2011 at 4:33 am

Drink sparkling water! Same bubbles as soda but none of the bad stuff :)

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51 Shannon September 19, 2011 at 7:09 am

How can drinking diet soda make you fat when there are NO CALORIES in them? Just asking. Yes, sodas are bad for you but I rather drink the diet than the regular. The regular taste too sweet and has a sick taste to them.

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52 Joe November 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Ok, so to address the story of how the body is tricked into producing insulin becaus ethe sweet taste of soda enters the body. This is BS. Masters Degree in Nutrition or not, the body doesn’t produce anything based on taste. If this were the case, chewing gum would cause diabetes. The body produces insulin based on chemical receptors that sense sugar (not synthetic sweetners). I have been hypoglycemic since I was 18 months old and never drank sodas until I was a teenager. Once I began, I noticed that they regulated my low sugar levels. Diet sodas do not regulate my levels. I am military and have always been on the border of the weight chart but always within the standard. I am now 39 and my metabolism has slowed a bit. Couple that with the stress of work and a divorce and a single man’s diet along with beer, weight gain was the obvious result. i have gone to several nutritionists and only one actually made sense. Calories=energy. Excess calories are stored as fat for later use. No matter what kind of calories you intake the results are the same. If your body requires 1600 calories a day to function and you eat 1600 calories of ice cream and chocolate you will not gain weight. You may not feel full and satisfied but the basic requirement will be met.
We all know how calories are measured hopefully. A calory is the amount of heat required to disintegrate the food particle we are measuring. Now although the human body does not utilize heat as it’s primary means of digestion, the scale is relatively accurate. The difference is the metabolism each of us has. All are different and are represented as what is needed by the average man or woman. a 2000 calorie diet is what is said to be the avergae daily intake. In reality, the average man burns 1800 calories in an active day. Therefore the food pyramid is wrong.
In order to meet your target weight you should take the number of the weight you want to weigh and add a zero to the end. In this instance, a 2000 calorie diet will result in a 200 lb person. Diet sodas have little to no calories and therefore do not count towards your intake. Granted, diet sodas may have other health concerns from the impurities that are included but the question at hand is do the make you fat? The answer is NO and they will not cause diabetes.
The use of diet sodas along with exercise will help you lose weight when compared to drinkoing regular sodas and sitting on your butt. Water is best but diet sodas are a definite improvement over regular sodas and are ok when you drink in moderation.

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53 Lawson September 20, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Anything in excess is bad for you :-) . A good alternative is diet green tea with ginseng. Ginseng has been proven to speed up metabolism a tiny bit but nonetheless it tastes good and is not bad for you. I made a complete lifestyle change in february when I weighed 340 and a good diet + moderate working out/cardio I’m down to 240. Its soooo hard to cut out caffeine though, major headaches and body shock for a couple weeks :-P

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54 Rachel February 15, 2012 at 10:22 am

I agree that diet soda increases hunger. Initially, my move from regular soda to diet soda helped me lose weight about 7 years ago. I lost about 25 pounds in 3 months primarily by watching my calorie intake, eating more veggies/healthy foods and light exercise but I think the diet soda helped too. Fast forward to 2012 – I have gained only about 5 pounds since then (still a normal BMI) but have noticed that I get hunger pangs that make me want to snack a lot (which makes me worry about more weight gain into “overweight” BMI category!), so I decided to do an experiment – quit the diet soda (I drank it every day) for a couple of weeks and drink regular if I have a craving for soda. After two weeks, my hunger is SIGNIFICANTLY down! And even when I have a regular soda (in moderation), I tend to have a few sips and I feel satisfied like I don’t need any more. Like my body gets the sugar it needs and then says it’s full…. I’m amazed at this and also that since I’ve been eating less, I’ve lost a pound and feel less bloated than before. I think everyone is different but this has been my experience. Like I said, the diet soda did help me initially to lose weight. *shrugs shoulders*

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55 Benjina July 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Hi :) That’s eye opener to learn about diet soda, I feel thankful that there is someone like you dedicate to writing the blog about this. Thank you for sharing!! :)
Benjina recently posted..Low Carb Diet Overview

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56 Dave Winslow February 8, 2013 at 9:36 pm

How many time do we have to read these BS diet soda stories. Junk Science.

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