Should you drink diet soda if you want to lose weight?

by Andie Mitchell on January 21, 2014

diet cokephoto by Alejandro Mallea

Those of you who follow the blog know that my biggest weakness when it comes to food is sugar. In terms of pure visceral enjoyment, cake may very well be my favorite meal (trust me, it can be a meal). So when I began to turn my health around and cut back on sweets, I turned to diet soda.

When I was craving something sweet, diet soda seemed like the perfect alternative. It was refreshing and temporarily relieved my sweet craving. Best of all, it seemed, was the fact that it was zero calories. Over the years, though, my relationship with it has waxed and waned. I quickly grew tired of Diet Coke and even switched to seltzer water for a long while. I turned back to drinking it regularly when I discovered some delicious options like Diet A&W Root Beer, Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi, and my favorite: Diet Dr. Pepper. Instead of a dessert after dinner, I’d find myself having one or two cans while watching TV or writing. It didn’t take long for me to wonder if I should cut back. Recently, I noticed that after drinking the soda sometimes my sweet cravings seemed to intensify, which was a feeling I never experienced after drinking seltzer.

turkey wrap

I was reminded of this after reading an article in the LA Times about a recent study concerning dieters and diet soda. The study confirmed what many have suspected for a long time: people who drink diet soda tend to eat more calories than those who don’t. Among people at healthy weights, their total caloric intake was still less than those who drink sugary beverages. But for obese and overweight people it appears diet beverages aren’t very helpful in controlling calorie consumption. Now of course, maybe these people would be consuming even more calories without the diet soda, but there is likely a large group of overweight people who unknowingly eat more calories after thinking they have made a wise choice with a zero calorie beverage. Or, some people may crave real sugar after consuming the fake stuff and decide to indulge.

Another concern many people have is related to the ingredients in diet soft drinks. Various studies have researched the potential negative health effects of sugar substitutes. I’m not at all qualified to discuss the science of it, but I think it probably can’t be a good thing to ingest a huge amount of these chemicals. Drinking diet soda in moderation is fine for anyone who enjoys it. But be aware that it probably isn’t a very helpful diet tool. And going overboard could have potential negative health effects related to caffeine or sugar substitutes.

Personally, I’ve decided to try to limit my intake a bit. Diet root beer, Diet Dr. Pepper — I’ll always love them. But I’m going to try to drink a little less for now — except, of course, at the movie theater, where I just have to have ALL THE SODA.

What are your thoughts on diet soda? Do you think it can be a helpful part of trying to lose weight?

 

{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

Chezzie January 22, 2014 at 5:10 am

Hi Andie, I think that soda has a lot to answer for in the States, I suppose it is normal for you but we in Europe are amazed at the size of the drinks served, your smallest glass is really large for us, normal soda is packed full of sugar and very moreish, it doesn’t quench your thirst it just makes you want more. Diet soda is usually sweetened with Aspartame or Sorbitol, both dangerous, I found this article very interesting. http://www.lifewithgreens.com/sweet-poison-that-is-sugar-free

I have used Splenda for years, my friend in California sends it to me but after reading this article I am going to switch to Stevia, 100% pure no chemicals or Agave syrup, I have not had an alcoholic drink for 18 years [heartfelt thanks to AA] nor a cigarette for 16 years but sugar? I just can not give it up. I would have thought that as far as drinks are concerned it would be better to have the occasional normal soda as a treat and try to get into the habit of fruit juices.

Warmest regards, Chezzie

Reply

Kate January 22, 2014 at 8:30 am

When I went through my weight loss, and learned how to enjoy healthy food and exercise, the only think I kept was my diet soda. I knew it was not good for me, and I knew some of the
craving of sweets it could cause, etc. What I found is that I still needed that security blanket in my food life.
I incorporated a lot more water inter my life, and slowly reduced my soda intake. I finally completely stopped drinking all soda (except an occasional Stevia-sweetened drink) a year ago. I rarely want any at all, so never feel deprived of it either.

Kate

Reply

megan January 22, 2014 at 8:41 am

So, a few years ago I heard that it takes 37 glasses of water to rid your body of the chemicals in one can of soda…what???? Whether that is entirely true or a slight exaggeration, it was enough to help me choose water OVER diet pop more often (and now, almost every time!!)…

I do, however, think that on occasion it is helpful in squelching that sweet craving…when it’s “that time of the month” and my sweet cravings increase, a diet pop can help…but, it also runs the danger, for me, of intensifying my craving. SO, I guess I’d say there isn’t a clear cut answer for if it helps…what I usually default to is that I KNOW it isn’t the best choice, so if I can be satisfied with something else, I should choose that; but, if I feel one can will help me resist that entire Dove bar in my pantry, than I”m going for the diet pop :)

Reply

Larisa January 22, 2014 at 8:41 am

My mom stopped drinking diet soda about 3 months ago, because of the aspartame. The aspartame was hurting her bones/joints. She recently switched back to regular pop and is doing better, me personally though, when I started my weight loss journey last year I cut out pop all together and just drank water. I never really liked diet pop because it was always to sweet to me. I drink regular but, only once a month.

Reply

T February 13, 2014 at 1:44 pm

My sister stopped after significant bone/joint problems. Diet Coke. She has improved dramatically. I don’t think people know about this, or the leaching of calcium from teeth, but they should!! It is worth the effort to quit.

Reply

Chezzie February 13, 2014 at 3:38 pm

You can clean burnt saucepans with Coke so just think what it is doing to your body.

Reply

Sandi March 31, 2014 at 6:48 am

You can clean burnt saucepans by simmering water and baking soda in them. You can clean windows and floors with lemon juice and vinegar. So?

Reply

Chezzie March 31, 2014 at 11:11 am

So, you wouldn’t drink baking soda or lemon juice mixed with vinegar would you? you can also remove rust and clean limescale from toilets, soda is rubbish, full of sugar, sweeteners, colouring and gas, all it does is damage.

Jana January 22, 2014 at 9:06 am

I was just thinking about this topic yesterday. A soda is my sweet treat like you said. I really like to enjoy a can with my lunch at work. I was recently diagnosed with insulin resistance, so had to give up everything that was sweet. Now get carbs from veggies. It is frustrating to say the least. I do try to plan so that I can have a piece of fruit. But, I am still struggling to lose. Been on this journey now for 15 months. But seriously, I have even told my husband, what is the point of even eating anymore. No breads, pasta or dessert. Not that I had them a lot anyway. I do enjoy my diet soda each day, but I am curious to know if it still spikes insulin. I use Stevia and Splenda and try to drink sodas with only those two sweeteners. I have talked to a dietician and she cautioned about Stevia because it hasn’t been in the US as long. But, Splenda is getting a bad rap now too.

Reply

Chezzie January 22, 2014 at 9:23 am

I have found that the best way to stop sweet cravings, especially chocolate is to eat grapes, they work wonders with me.

Chezzie

Reply

Lisa January 22, 2014 at 9:27 am

As an anthropologist who studied babies, food and nutrition for my entie life/career I knew that soda was bad for me and yet I kept drinking it. Then I met my husband who is French and who NEVER drinks soda. He was shocked at how much I drank. When I became pregnant I immediatly quit drinking soda because I knew how bad it was for my unborn chilld and my husband asked me, “So you know it’s bad enough that you would never consider drinking one while pregnant and yet you’ll put it in your own body when you’re not?”
He was right and I knew it. If I wouldn’t do it to my unborn child why was it okay to do it to myself? That being said I only ever drank regular soda because I knew from extensive research how bad the sugar substitutes are and would never ingest that!
After weening my baby almost two years later I had my first soda and all I could taste was chemicals. This was what I loved? This was what I craved? It was nothing but chemicals. But the more I drank of that can the more I wanted. It started tasting good, which I knew was a lie, it was simply killing my taste buds. And after I drank that soda I wanted food, sugar most of all. I wanted hamburgers and sweets and junk food. Since then I have tried this experiment both on myself and in my research and every single time about an hour after drinking a soda (didn’t matter if it was diet or regular) the person wanted to eat and they weren’t content with veggies or small portions. They wanted bad food and a lot of it. This has stopped me cold turkey. Soda, diet or regular, has a negative impact on the body and the appetite. Stay away!

Reply

Chezzie January 22, 2014 at 9:45 am

Stevia has been used in the jungle as a sweetener for about 1500 years, the problem with natural products is that the big chemical companies have no money to make out of them so there is very little funding for research, therefore it is difficult to get approval from the relevant bodies to allow it to be freely sold. Stevia has been on sale for years in the Netherlands but only for external use, of course everybody was using it as a sweetener, in 2011 it was approved as a sweetener and has sold like wildfire in all the health shops.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevia

Chezzie

Reply

Hope M. January 22, 2014 at 10:03 am

My rule? Don’t buy soda, but if it’s offered for free (at a cookout, someone else is paying for dinner, etc etc.) then that’s okay. Helps to limit it from becoming an addiction :) (Diet Coke could be my cryptonite.)

Also club soda is a miracle! Tricks me into thinking I’m drinking ‘actual’ soda.

Xoxo

Reply

cindy landham January 22, 2014 at 10:37 am

Yes, i and my clients notice the same thing concerning sweet-cravings – and as i have discovered more yummy and interesting things to drink [sparkling water over ice with a bit of grape juice and lime and kombucha for instance] my cola intake is almost NONE…except of course with popcorn at the movies :)

Reply

Shannon January 22, 2014 at 10:40 am

I don’t drink much soda and I never have. I really enjoy drinking water and I am thankful for that! However, I have recently lost a significant amount of weight (85 lbs so far) and sometimes a diet soda does sound good as something “sweet” since I don’t have to give up any extra calories. I am definitely concerned about the artificial sweeteners and that’s what mostly keeps me away from sodas in general. I have seen the stevia-sweetened sodas and I’m interested in trying those, but I haven’t yet. Also, I have been known to take some selzer water and mix it with sugar free (splenda-laden) vanilla syrup, and it’s delicious! But, once again, not good with the artificial stuff! As far as diet soda and weight loss, I probably don’t drink enough of them to matter, but when I have had one, I haven’t noticed that it stalled my weight loss any. I think there is something to the fact that people may crave real sweets after having one. I think sugar is a very underrated addictive substance (even the fake sugar).

Reply

Ti January 22, 2014 at 10:48 am

Diet soda actually makes me hungry. I tend to eat more when I’ve downed a soda. I’m not sure but I think the artificial sweetener bottoms me out more than regular sugar. It gives me a shaky feeling that I can’t get rid of unless I eat snacks to combat it.

I have pretty much given up on diet soda and I feel much more stable. No shakes at all. If I want sweet, I will have iced tea but use real sugar. I know it adds calories but my body breaks it down better than the artificial sweetener.

Reply

Karen January 22, 2014 at 11:18 am

I’ve always enjoyed diet soda ( mom never let us drink regular) but I never was one to over consume. I will typically end up having 2 to 3 a week. So personally i don’t think it is a huge problem toward my dieting plans. We got soda stream this year (got mixes for diet sodas), so i’m waiting to hear how that stuff compares to regular diet soda. I don’t notice an increase in appetite after drinking the soda but i’ve never really paid attention either. so i know what i’ll be doing these next few weeks when i drink soda :)

Reply

Rebecca January 22, 2014 at 11:25 am

My mom drinks (and always has) Diet Pepsi ’round the clock. I actually hate the sweetness of regular cola drinks, but I do enjoy diet. I don’t drink very much soda (my daily drinks are coffee, water, and sometimes tea before bed) but I discovered that Fresca is a great option when I crave something fizzy. It’s pretty low in sugar, but it’s not “diet” so there aren’t fake sweeteners (I guess it’s closest to seltzer, but tastes better IMO). It always feels like a treat, but makes me feel full without actually ingesting too much crap.

Reply

Mary January 22, 2014 at 11:26 am

I used to consume huge amounts of Diet Coke–it got me going in the morning, kept me moving in the afternoon and focused in the evening. The only time I wasn’t drinking Diet Coke was when I was sleeping. I had seen the articles about how bad it was and had tossed around cutting back until one day I was in a drive-thru and they were pumping in the carbonation. It totally grossed me out. That was 2 years ago. Now I drink water or tea (unsweetened). I have a Diet Coke maybe once a month, but I rarely even finish it. I feel better and my tummy is happier. If I crave sweet, I opt for a small piece of dark chocolate.

Reply

Annie B January 22, 2014 at 11:26 am

I have one now and then, and they don’t seem to affect me adversely. Sometimes a Diet Coke or Diet Dr. Pepper just sounds good (once or twice a week) – and I don’t like regular soda. It’s far too sweet anymore. I usually drink water, sometimes with some of the Crystal Light liquid squeezed in. Just a touch. For a real treat, I add it to club soda. Delicious. And I’m down 10 pounds.

Reply

Stephanie Hanson January 22, 2014 at 12:42 pm

This is a really interesting topic and definitely worth discussing. I used to drink diet soda quite a bit, but when I went on my weight loss journey in 2012, water was really the only liquid I consumed. I rarely drink it because honestly it just doesn’t taste that good and the caffeine really affects me. The struggle I face is more related to family members who “can’t seem to lose weight” but are constantly drinking diet soda. My mom is diabetic and in all fairness to her, diet soda is really the only thing sweet that she consumes on a regular basis. She has told me many times “Water just doesn’t taste good so I don’t like to drink it.” This is kind of a controversial topic so I try to avoid it, but soda in general is just simply not good for you. But we all do things we know aren’t good for us…but if they are in moderation maybe we will be fine ;-)

Reply

LG January 22, 2014 at 1:41 pm

I have diet soda (“pop” here in Canada) once or twice per week. It seems to help curb the urge for chocolate after lunch, generally. Even less than a cup will do – just something to sip on and distract me. Something else I also drink that has few calories: a sort of “hot chocolate” drink of 1tbsp cocoa, stevia and a little cream. This gets me through cravings sometimes as well and is yummy! (Ok. Not as yummy as a Sbucks hot chocolate. But not bad for the lack of calories!)

Reply

Sharon D. January 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm

I am a water drinker, and have been for years, but I have a friend who loved her diet sodas. She drank several a day until she tried to lose weight, and found that they were a trigger for a sweets urge. I guess we’re all different, but they always tasted too sweet for me.

Reply

AH@badassbookreviews January 22, 2014 at 1:54 pm

A long time ago, I used to drink diet cola daily. It was a real addiction and it made me feel bloated and uncomfortable. I’ve since switched to coffee and water or unsweetened tea. I’ve also cut out sweeteners in yogurt and other things and found that I really don’t miss them. Your body and taste buds do get used to less sweet things.

I’ll never go back to those diet drinks again.

Reply

Jennifer January 22, 2014 at 3:14 pm

I’ve had my share of diet sodas & regular…regular Coca Cola will always win in my book. BUT it is horrible for you. I try to avoid soda as much as possible (Ginger Ale for upset stomach excluded!) and while I was reading this post, I drank my entire water cup.. 32 oz. Maybe I was subconsciously trying to flush my body out! However, if I am going to drink a soda – it has to be regular. Chemicals or not, “real” sugar has to be better than the fake stuff. I learned that from you!

Reply

Heidi January 22, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I recently cut out diet sodas. Whenever I drink them, I crave junk food and more sugar. I feel like diet soda makes me make bad food decisions. When I don’t drink it, I drink tons more water than I normally would and I don’t feel sluggish, gassy or bloated. I feel more satisfied by the flavor of my foods, too. Diet soda just makes me want to reach for chips or cookies.

Reply

Chezzie January 22, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Too much water is also not good for you, one and a half litres a day is plenty and that includes tea, coffee, soups and fruit.

Reply

Emil January 22, 2014 at 6:34 pm

@Chezzie One and a half liters is not “plenty” of water. Most physicians would recommend at least two liters of water a day. I was drinking 4 to 5 during days when I was exercising a lot. You just need to make sure you have a healthy influx of minerals and vitamins so that you do not deplete yourself of them through urination. I lost over 130 pounds last year so it worked pretty well for me…

Reply

Chezzie January 23, 2014 at 4:57 am

Hi Emil, whilst exercising is a totally different story, also in very hot weather, I had a problem with my kidneys and was told by the specialist that one litre to one and a half is plenty and to drink when you are thirsty and urinate when your bladder is full.

Chezzie

Reply

Emil January 23, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Hi. Maybe you are right, but I asked a few doctors and they all said two liters. If it works for you then it’s OK.

Reply

Jessica January 22, 2014 at 5:47 pm

I used to be a heavy Diet Coke drinker, and I honestly couldn’t tell you if that triggered cravings for me or not. I actually like the taste of water so I’ve switched to mostly that. In fact, there’s an 8 pack of the 12oz bottles of Diet Coke in my refrigerator right now that hasn’t been touched. I’m keeping it for when I work my third shifts. One a night just helps me stay up since I’ve never been a coffee person. Most nights I don’t need it anymore, or I just struggle through the night without, but it’s nice to know it’s there if I’m having a really hard time. One thing I will say is that I don’t allow myself to go over my calories in a day, so even if Diet Coke triggered something in me, I have gotten the willpower over time to say, “No. You’ve already eaten your calories for the day.” I remember you saying once about your weight loss that you’re the type of person that once you set your mind to something, you go all the way. I feel like that’s what I do. Even if I craved something, I wouldn’t let it interfere with my plans. I would just plan to have a soda *and* cake the next day! ;)

Reply

Monica January 22, 2014 at 9:40 pm

I think like most everything, sodas, diet and regular can be a part of any diet in moderation. Its something that should be a treat rather than something to have every day While I do indulge in regular sodas every once in a while, diet sodas taste too chemically to me. I would much rather drink water.

Reply

Donna January 22, 2014 at 9:45 pm

I drink maybe 1 diet soda a day. I do seem to have a drinking problem when it comes to places that have free refills. I act like I’m never gonna drink again!
It is so true that water intake is really important. I think if you only drink soda and very little water you might have more trouble losing weight. Food is where I run in to trouble really. I do occasionally become self conscious when I eat my weight in pizza and drinking diet soda with it like its going to cancel out my calories or something :)

Reply

Erika January 22, 2014 at 10:03 pm

I am kind of a hater on Diet for the probable negative health impacts of Aspartame et al., and I don’t care for the taste. Also, I have observed anecdotally that Diet drinkers guzzle liters a day whereas non-Diet drinkers tend to drink more moderately.
I buy the 7.5 ounce cans of Coke and drink them every now and then and it hits the (sweet) spot for me pretty well, high fructose corn syrup and all. I also love Dry sodas, which taste great and only contain 50 or 60 calories in a 12 ounce serving.
Iced tea and Pellegrino also really do it for me when I just can’t stand to drink water but don’t want the calories.

Reply

Hootie January 22, 2014 at 10:12 pm

There was a Robin Williams movie called “what Dreams May Come” where you could choose what was in your Heaven. I used to always say that Diet Pepsi would be in my Heaven. I never drank regular drinks growing up bc my family was diabetic. It is all I new and I LOVED it! Regular drinks weren’t good to me. I, like you, favored diet dr pepper and diet mtn dew as I discovered more options.

I quit cold turkey last summer! Two reasons:
1) diet soda (I discovered) is a trigger food for me. Foods like cupcakes and pizza are foods that I only want with diet soda. Due to my severe mold allergy, yeast and sugar are to be avoided. Cutting out diet soda is a means to an end.
2) my chiropractor was really concerned about my nerve supply due to a degenerating flat neck and scoliosis in the lower back. Sugar but more especially fake sugars are neurotoxins. Consuming them on top of my other issues was throwing fuel on the fire. My dr told me she wanted me to quit. She said that it is harder for her to get her clients off of diet drinks than it is to get them to quit smoking. I (as a very stubborn individual) quit that day.

I had never thought, until I read about your drinking coffee with no sweetener, of drinking just half n half in my coffee. Now I love it. I drink unsweetened cold tea, hot tea, water, and when I absolutely have to have a carbonated beverage I drink Coke but not much of it bc of calories. I had read all sorts of things about fake sweeteners elsewhere. My protein powder has stevia in it. I don’t like stevia added to foods and beverages but add honey sometimes. I get a lot of almond flour/honey recipes from comfybelly.com (I’m not affiliated, it just goes with the specific carbohydrate, low toxin plan I’m on)

Reply

Hootie January 22, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Oh and I have tried 10,000 diets and personal trainer, etc but the only way I have lost wt is on the plan I described above

Reply

Deb January 22, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Are there any regular sodas that use real sugar anymore? Don’t they all use some form of highly processed sugar?

Reply

RBee January 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm

I enjoyed your thoughts on this topic, and as always you are so diplomatic. I used to be hugely addicted to diet soda, Diet A&W Root Beer in particular (high five!!!). I would sometimes take a 1 liter to work with me because a can wasn’t enough :)
Fast forward to today, where I almost never drink soda and am happy with water and hot tea for the most part. I’m not sure how it happened, I didn’t really make a conscious effort to eliminate soda, but I think it happened about the same time I switched my diet from semi-Atkins to semi-vegan and have a much healthier lifestyle overall.
The one thing I won’t forget is all the damn preaching I got from other people about how bad diet soda is for you, “it’s worse than the real stuff” etc etc. Because of that I never try to shame or guilt others into changing their diet. I figure the truth can speak for itself and each person needs to find what works for him/her. I really appreciate the way you relay your own personal experiences and give good info without being boorish :)

Reply

Albert January 23, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Hey guys, there is a program that helps my little sister, she was kind of overweight (don’t say a word lol) now she looks like a different person! very cheap and easy to follow… I think is only for girls… Take a look!
there is a FREE presentation, you can watch it and see how it works!

http://smb06.com/venus-factor1390009061

Reply

Jill January 23, 2014 at 1:08 pm

I prefer regular soda, and since we don’t stock it in our house (because I find it too delicious – I would just drink it!) we enjoy it when we visit my in-laws, who stock all of our favourites. I just read a similar discussion at Weighty Matters (http://www.weightymatters.ca/2014/01/what-reading-latest-diet-soda-causes.html) and he notes that whatever works, if you’re trying to lose weight, can be beneficial. He notes though, as you do, that less is more where diet (i.e. artificial) stuff is concerned. I spent a good portion of my 20s at McDonald’s and was always amazed at the people who would order a supersized meal, and then get a diet drink. I suppose it’s saving calories where you can, but it seemed a little pointless if they’re going to have a 1700 calorie meal anyway.

Reply

Jessica January 26, 2014 at 9:28 am

Hi Jill! While I agree with most everything you said, especially about whatever works for you and taking diet foods in moderation, I do find myself an exception to your assumption about McDonald’s. I would be that person, ordering the 1700 calorie meal and then getting a Diet Coke. I assure you though, it never had anything to do with calorie counts(though I’m sure there are people that do think that way). I have never liked the taste of regular Coke, so for me it was purely a taste decision. I only point this out because your comment made me wonder just how many times I assume something based on someone that I don’t know’s actions, and end up being wrong. I’m glad we’ve got a blog like Andie’s where we can all come on and share different thoughts and views and not feel shamed or attacked if we don’t all agree. :)

Reply

Jill January 27, 2014 at 7:34 am

That is an excellent point, Jessica! I do know people who enjoy the taste of diet drinks, so of course to order one with a meal makes perfect sense. I always figured it was a caloric thing but plenty of people tell me they find regular Coke or Pepsi too fizzy or too sweet. I shouldn’t assume to know other people’s motivation for their choices :)

Reply

Suzy January 23, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Hi Andie,
I have cut out diet soda and definitely feel better, my teeth feel healthy and not so sensitive. I do not like drinking all those chemicals, and now since cutting it out completely I cannot drink it again it taste disgusting to me-strange I know!

Reply

Shannon January 23, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Stop drinking any sodas or artificial sweeteners for 30 days (or longer) and then re-introduce them. After you see how your body reacts, you won’t use them again. It is amazing how our body compensates for the “bad” stuff we put into it. Try it :-)

Reply

Karleigh January 23, 2014 at 7:59 pm

A funny “break up letter” to diet soda…. http://pantrymedicine.com/blog/ambqhh4omrhv88duh3ca4xtf39wva3

Reply

jackie January 24, 2014 at 12:20 am

I am the youngest in my family so by the time I started drinking soda it was Diet Coke, because that’s what my Mom and sisters drank. I drank it for YEARS…about 4 years ago I watched a documentary on aspartame and figured if 15% of what they said was true I shouldn’t be drinking it. So I quit cold turkey and never looked back. It took me a very long time to find any alternative but I found that that made room for a lot more water in my life. Then about 2 years in I started drinking La Croix (lemon…lime…coconut) and found that just like the Diet Cokes of yesteryear they became a treat in the middle of the day and fed my need for the carbonation and cold little refreshment in the middle of the day. It was amazing how much I consider not the taste…or treat…or whatever it was to me

Reply

jackie January 24, 2014 at 12:24 am

woops hit sent to soon…

it should say when I consider more the health implications and not the giving up of the taste…or treat…or whatever that was to me of how easy it was to give up.

I think that was my lesson in this. Diet sodas, I don’t believe are a better alternative because I think the real sugar is better then the alternative.

But, that was me and I know everyone has their own struggles. I think like you usually point out we need to think more about our health and making good choices over the long run because ultimately when we want to make good decisions for ourselves not to be skinny or for others but to just be healthy and happy then we have the most success.

Reply

Ben James January 24, 2014 at 5:05 am

I remember there was a period that I was somewhat addicted to Coke. It can be really hard to break away from that; it wasn’t until I changed my focus towards becoming fitter that I was able to do so, where failure wasn’t an option. I became so focused that I simply forgot Coke existed. Was kinda weird how I was able to block it out, but just getting up every morning and going for a walk, and then eventually a run was able to do that. But I can certainly related to those that feel like their tongue is almost tied to sweet stuff like Coke.

Also, before you even mentioned the LA Times article about diet soda drinkers still taking in more calories, that’s where my mind went. The problem with diet soda is often that — a license to consume more calories in food. Too often it’s a case off, “Large Whopper Meal, large sundae, 10 nuggets — oh, and diet Coke for the drink.” Pfft.

Reply

Chezzie January 24, 2014 at 6:14 am

Do you mind if I ask how old you all were when you started drinking soda?

Reply

Nadine January 24, 2014 at 9:34 am

Yeah, I think moderation is the key with everything. The devil is in the dose :)

Reply

Bictor January 25, 2014 at 1:25 am

I agree with what you said in your post about drinking diet soda. In my honest opinion, drinking any kind of soda is extremely bad for you if your goal is to lose weight. Regardless if that can of soda says “0 calories”, there’s a bunch of ingredients in that drink that aren’t natural. Your body will most likely go into a fat storing mode if you’re constantly drinking soda.

Reply

Neha January 25, 2014 at 3:12 am

I just don’t think that’s true. Andie herself admits to drinking diet soda regularly, and she has lost (and maintained) a pretty significant weight loss. As have many other people. I’m not saying that diet soda is healthy, but I don’t think it magically makes you store fat.

Reply

Sarah Logan-Reynolds January 25, 2014 at 11:21 am

They can pry my Diet Dr. Pepper out of my dead hands. Better yet, bury me with one. (I have to bury my mom with a Dr. Pepper.) If this is my worst habit, then I am okay with that.

Reply

Jana January 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Sarah, I am kind of along those lines with you. If that is the only thing I do, then why not. For me, this is all about a life style change and not a diet. I want to be able to do this for life. Because of insulin issues, I have already given up so much sugary foods. The only sweet thing I allow myself is a soda at lunch. I decided to not take a soda in my lunch on Thursday. Just to see. My body or mind was going nuts craving something sweet. Almost like it was telling me that I was not done eating. I actually found myself trying to find other things to eat. With my soda, that does not happen. I do try to stick to Diet Rite or Stevia, but love to have a coke zero vanilla or cherry on occasion. Now, I have tried to use Crystal Light, they will make me crave sweets like crazy.

Reply

Owen Hogarth January 26, 2014 at 9:17 am

Hi Sarah Logan-Reynolds

I wonder why such a strong feelings towards the soda. Reactions like these always make me wonder what can they put in there to make someone would rather die than give up a drink?

Reply

Aerevyn January 25, 2014 at 2:10 pm

I’ve read abstracts of studies stating that diet sodas actually slow down metabolism. Sounds like mother nature’s practical joke on dieters. I will say that I’ve known this about diet soda for years, and spent years drinkng diet soda. At this point, I drink seltzer with a little fruit juice if I want somethink fizzy. I drink a diet soda maybe once or twice a month – like when I HAVE to have a fastfood meal.

Reply

Energy Drink Dude January 26, 2014 at 1:42 am

My biggest concern with diet sodas would be the method of sweetening. It seems that many beverages use aspartame, saccharin, or sucralose. Aspartame I keep myself and family and anyone else that will listen away from. Aspartame is made from bacteria excrement so it tends to make people shy away from it when they hear about that. But aside from that it may have some long term negative affects. I would look for beverages with natural choices like Stevia and Xylitol, which are green lighted in my book.

Reply

Chezzie January 26, 2014 at 5:15 am

Hi Energy Dude, it is also risky to give Xylitol a green light it also carries dangers, my son had terrible stomach cramps and diarrhea which was caused by chewing gum containing Xylitol, he only ate one now and again but each time he would have a bad reaction.

Reply

trimandwin.com January 26, 2014 at 2:34 am

It did help me in the beginning to drink some diet soda to lose weight. But later it did nothing but harm to me and I was constantly dehydrated ( I even drank water and diet soda). I agree with Kate with the security blanket! But I recommend changing over later. It has been forever since I drank diet soda, but I do believe it had a high sodium content besides the chemicals :(

Reply

Chezzie January 26, 2014 at 9:46 am

What worries me is that it seems to be part of the American culture to be brought up on soda, diet or otherwise, I am sure that it is a major contribution to the weight problems suffered by so many.

Reply

christine davis January 26, 2014 at 11:14 am

I have never liked the taste of diet soda. I’m a pepsi junkie but limit myself to one or maybe two a week. It’s like a treat for me to have a soda on a saturday. But that’s it, the rest of the time I drink one cup of coffee in the morning with one splenda and some fat free vanilla creamer. I consume 64 oz of water everyday. I have this huge water bottle I call the Green Monster. Cause…It’s green :) Any water I consume after I guzzle down the 64 oz is a bonus. Of course, I do like my wine when we go out on a Friday night and limit that to two glasses. I’ve lost 61 lbs in the past year so I guess I’m doing something right? LOL Another 70 to go to reach my goal!

Reply

Laura January 26, 2014 at 9:51 pm

I’m a firm believer in not ingesting anything containing any artificial sweeteners so diet drinks are definitely not in my house. I would rather have a sip of a full sugar drink, than an entire bottle of a diet one.
After reading all the previous comments regarding weight loss etc. with diet beverages, I have to note that I was watching “My 600 lb Life” last week and the doctor was giving shit to one of the patients for having a diet Dr Pepper after her gastric bypass surgery. He made the comment that the carbonated beverages actually make your stomach expand from the carbonation, which makes perfect sense to me, and thus, causes you to overeat, as your stomach is now larger.
Anyone have any thoughts on this? Because if you’re really concerned with curbing your sugar craving, I would think there are better ways to do it than diet pop.

Reply

David January 27, 2014 at 3:00 pm

I like your post and my opinion on the matter is that one should avoid or at least limit the amount of things like soda it consumes. However sometimes the temptation is simply too big so i indulge once in while on sada and sweets and yet i have succeeded in losing few pounds past weeks. For me it’s simply too hard without a bit sweets and soda once in a while.

Reply

Nicole @ Just Live It January 27, 2014 at 5:27 pm

I gave up Dt. Coke last year, although I still occasionally enjoy it (because I’m secretly still in love with the stuff). I was at my skinniest when I drank Dt. Coke a lot (due to my also watching my diet and exercising a ton around the same time). At the same time, it made me feel bloated. I feel much healthier now that I’m not drinking it regularly. :)

Reply

Aishah @ Coffee, Love, Health January 27, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Hi Andie,

Just wanted to say I came across your blog and it was a beautiful breath of fresh air. I read the section on “weight loss” and it resonated with me so much. It’s like you took the words right out of my mouth and you described everything so perfectly. This journey can be truly agonizing- as you said- but it’s also beautiful. I am still trying to get there and I’m so thankful I found your blog to keep me motivated. You are beautiful- thank you! :)

Reply

Michelle January 28, 2014 at 1:54 pm

I had a scary health appointment last week where my blood pressure was super high and I realized that trying to lose the weight I’ve gained over the last few years was just too hard for me to do on my own. I marched myself right down to the Weight Watchers office and signed up even though, to me, it felt like an addict finally attending their first AA meeting. Humiliating. There are a lot of things about it that I feel uneasy about, like the extreme focus on fat free, sugar free everything, but I’m going along with it because studies have shown that the program is more effective than trying to do it alone and I’ve been struggling for years to do this by myself.

I have to say that the ability to have a Diet Pepsi when I need to is a lifesaver at this point and in reading through the comments in this section, I felt a bit shamed for doing so. In thinking about it, though, I think it’s fine. If it’s a choice between two evils, I think it’s better to lose the weight even if it means that I am having some Diet Pepsi in the process.

Michelle

Reply

Aishah @ Coffee, Love, Health January 28, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Hi Michelle!

I couldn’t help but comment after seeing what you wrote. I understand it can be a tough process and feeling “deprived” makes it harder but I promise once you see and feel the changes- the motivation to maintain the healthy changes you have made will sky rocket. Just be patient and loving with yourself. I haven’t tried Weight Watchers but many people rave about. I hope you aren’t doing sugar-free and fat-free altogether because I imagine that can be very difficult. I lost over 20 pounds initially by going low carb (but high fat) and then lost 20 more through exercise. I am still on my journey and I understand it isn’t easy- but you are worth it! :) good luck.

xoxo
Aishah

Reply

Lori January 28, 2014 at 9:58 pm

I dont think this is commonly known but diet drinks can spike your insulin. So it kind of makes sense that you actually might crave more food because of that insulin spike. I found about that when I was pregnant and had gestational diabetes.

And after reading everything I have read about the artificial sweetener in diet sodas, I have pretty much sworn them off. My favorite beverages during the summer and or winter is water and tea, both hot and cold.

Reply

Kayla January 31, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Andie, once again you are spot on! I am an RD, and my recommendations to clients are almost exactly what you wrote. Like (almost) all foods, diet sodas are OK in moderation, but not something that I would necessarily recommend people consume all the time. Artificial sweeteners are among the most widely and critically studied substances in our food supply, but safety concerns aside, they don’t provide any nutrition, so they’re certainly not a requirement for a healthy diet. And they can increase our dependence on sugar, which arguably has more confirmed detrimental health effects than artificial sweeteners.

If you’re used to drinking diet soda every day, you can still have the fizzy bubbles! Try flavored seltzer water as an alternative( my favorite is La Croix Grapefruit!) or add some real fruit slices to plain sparkling water. (p.s. I used to think sparkling water was gross! It’s a bit of an acquired taste – especially if you’re used to regular or diet soda – but after drinking it for awhile, I love how crisp and refreshing it is :)

Reply

Sharon Hartwig January 31, 2014 at 1:26 pm

I drank diet pepsi pretty much every day until about two weeks ago when after hearing how bad it was for you, I quit cold turkey and now am drinking water and tea. First of all, yuck. I hate water, and am quickly getting tired of tea. I feel no different, except that now I seem to be getting heartburn on a daily basis. I am going to do this, but am really not liking it. :(

Reply

Becka January 31, 2014 at 3:27 pm

I quit drinking my favorite thing in the world, diet coke, on January first after fifteen years of three a day. I really miss it. I am not as hungry all the time and I don’t crave sweets as much but I haven’t really dropped a magical ten pounds like I hoped it would. If anything positive it has given me a little confidence to make the next better choice for my health. But it’s been no panacea and it really shows that I had some kind of void that it filled for me because I really miss it.

Reply

Mindy February 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Just wanted to thank you so much for the inspiration you’ve been to me. After 28 years of being overweight I’m finally ready to take my life back, and your words have bolstered my resolve and my confidence. I’m also a huge diet coke fan, but have learned over the last three weeks of dieting that the less I drink it, the less I crave it (and other sweets) and that’s a huge eye opener. Thanks again, and I’d love for you to follow my journey. http://yearofskinny.weebly.com/

xoxo,
Mindy

Reply

Becky February 11, 2014 at 9:08 am

I’ve found that nearly all kinds of soda (and especially diet ones) are nothing more than an easy way to intensify a craving and gain weight. The thing is they are supposed to act as a substitute of some form, but they ultimately make more harm than good.
When it comes to having a refreshing drink, the best option is to turn to plain, homemade and natural, no matter if you’re trying to lose weight or just maintain your health.
I’m a big fan of regular water, but buying a juicer is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life – you can make all sorts of combinations and still wind up with a drink that’s incomparably healthier than any other you can find in the store.

Reply

Corra February 11, 2014 at 4:13 pm

I’ve just, JUST cut out diet soda over the last couple days-feeling slightly addicted, and starting to get some strange side effects. I didn’t know what was causing them, (shaking, ringing in ears, headaches…)
It’s going to be hard to break the addiction- but I think with the help of club soda i’ll be able to pull it off!
Glad to have read this, it just confirms everything I was feeling!

Reply

Gail February 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm

I’ve been a bit of a diet soda addict on and off for years! I’m going through a bit of a low period for it just now (unlimited water, coffee and tea/tisanes in my current office), but sometimes I can easily drink a day’s water allowance in the stuff! I’ve been type 1 diabetic since childhood, so regular sugary sodas just taste wrong to me – it’s something that I associate with low blood sugars or illnesses where I can’t handle food. It’s probably a bit like a healthy person knocking back Calpol! I’ve gone through a few up and down periods in my weight, can’t think of any particular correlation between that and the amount of pop I get through though!

By the way, I just rediscovered your blog on Pinterest after finding it ages ago and losing my link – super inspiring! :)

Reply

Jenn March 4, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Just found your blog – LOVE it!

In terms of this topic – I have so much to say, but I’m not the blog writer so I’ll do my best to keep it relatively short. After drinking diet coke for almost my entire life (31 years), last spring, I just stopped drinking it on a whim. Which was especially ironic because my husband had just gotten a new job at Coca-Cola a few months earlier.

Anyhow – I didn’t give it up for any particular reason other than my new job didn’t offer free soda like my old one did and so I switched to tea and water instead. Within about a week – I noticed that my face was completely clear for the first time since I was 13. Not a single tiny pimple to be found. A few weeks later – while dining out, I ordered a diet coke. Not even 12 hours later – I had terrible cystic acne flare up on several spot on my face. Not putting the two together – I resumed normal tea/water drinking and my face cleared up. A few weeks later – drank a diet soda at McDonald’s. Again within about 10-12 hours, I started getting that terrible under-the-skin acne.

So essentially I put 2 and 2 together. Not sure what it is, but Diet Coke makes makes me break out in a terrible way – my body must be allergic. And to think I’d been putting that stuff into it all these years not ever realizing! Now – my face is 100% clear at all times as long as I don’t drink soda. Not sure if it’s just something in the DC formula, or artificial sweetener in general.

Now the one bad thing I noticed is that when I stopped drinking diet coke – I did gain 5-10 pounds. No clue why as I didn’t switch to sugary drinks (only water or unsweetened tea) but it’s the only thing I really changed in my diet and so I can’t figure out what else the culprit would be.

Reply

Rose March 15, 2014 at 2:41 pm

I have diabetes, so Splenda in my coffee and diet sodas have always been my go-to when I’m looking for a sweet treat or a pick-me-up to get me through the school day. When I started graduate school I realized my Coke Zero intake was going through the roof!

While I am concerned about the long term effects of artificial sweeteners, I’ve realized I just don’t have it in me to worry about every single chemical and ingredient in all the foods. I’ve halved my intake of diet sodas (still working on Splenda in my coffee though) and instead reach for unsweetened iced tea with lemon, or just plain ice water. In my life balance and moderation is key, and that’s what works for me.

Reply

Sandi March 31, 2014 at 6:44 am

I sometimes wonder if I’m the only person in history to have preferred diet soda since discovering it as a child in the mid-60′s. I begged for Fresca or Tab, rather than an sugared soda. Regular soda always upset my stomach and made my teeth ache like they’d been through an acid bath. I have cut way back on my Diet Coke consumption over the years for various reasons, but I still have 1-2 a day. It’s my coffee in the morning. My refreshing follow up to a sweaty household chore. Maybe it’s because I’m a ‘crunchy-salty’ carb craver, as opposed to someone who craves sweets, but I haven’t drank sugared soda unless even water wasn’t available in nearly 40 years.

Reply

OLWomen April 21, 2014 at 4:40 am

Soda is not good for health what ever it is but in terms of calories of course diet soda is beneficial if compared with the regular soda, moreover white drinks are better than the colored ones, right or wrong?

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: