4 Reasons to Avoid Diet Soda

Print
by Fawne Hansen

Sugar has been demonstrated by many studies to be one of the main causes of obesity. Because sugar is full of calories and has no nutritional value, a high-sugar diet is unlikely to contain enough nutrients necessary to maintain good health, and will likely also lead to weight gain. This not only puts us at risk of serious illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but also has adverse effects on our endurance, speed of recovery after exercise, and more.

Over the past 10-15 years, this has led many consumers to switch to ‘diet’ forms of their favorite drinks and foods. These contain less sugar and fewer calories, and are marketed as ‘healthier’ and guilt-free compared to their sugary counterparts. However, the truth is that the artificial sweeteners contained in them can have just as negative an effect on your health as regular sugar can. In fact, sometimes you’d be better to stick with the sugary soda rather than trying the ‘diet’ version.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed in a report that Americans today consume a lot more sugar than they used to, and a lot more sugar than most of the rest of the world. Compared to just three decades ago, the world daily average consumption of sugar has increased by 46%. As it stands, the average American consumes around 156 pounds of sugar every year. Most of that sugar comes from the food and the liquids that they consume. The biggest source of that sugar is sweet drinks. These sugary concoctions account for about 10% of the total sugar consumption.

One method that consumers often use to decrease their sugar intake is to switch to diet sodas, drinks that are supposed to be healthier due to their low or zero sugar content. Just this simple substitution can remove anywhere from 200 to 1000 calories from the daily diet of an individual. However, the effects are not as positive as most would think. This is because the artificial sweeteners used in these diet sodas still trigger the body into behaving as if it just absorbed regular sugar. So even if there is no actual sugar entering your bloodstream, your blood sugar levels will increase just the same.

1. Diet Soda and Weight Loss
The main reason why people switch from regular soda to diet soda is weight loss. After all, diet sodas have a lot fewer calories than regular sodas, so it stands to reason that it would help with weight loss. However, studies have shown that drinking diet soda does nothing to trigger or benefit weight loss in any way. In fact, drinking diet soda can be just as unhealthy (or even more so) as drinking regular soda due to the presence of artificial sweeteners.

One study performed on animals and published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (1) showed that diet soda can be linked with weight gain by increasing the appetite and slowing down the metabolism of the test animals. This has also been confirmed by another study performed on humans where the people who consumed diet foods put on weight due to a tendency to overeat. This behavior is triggered not only by physical reactions occurring in the body, but also by psychological ones – people think they are saving on calories by consuming diet foods instead of normal ones and therefore they think that eating more is ok because it is balanced out.

2. Diet Soda and Diabetes
Another reason why diet soda is preferred by many people is the perceived notion that cutting back on sugar will decrease the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. While there is a link between consumption of sweet beverages and diabetes, the idea that consuming lots of sugar alone leads to diabetes is a myth, as stated by the American Diabetes Association.(2) The truth is that there are many factors that can be a cause for diabetes, including genetics, age, ethnicity and being overweight. However, since being overweight is actually what puts people at risk for diabetes, and since diet soda does not help with weight loss, there is no reason to believe that the latter can have a beneficial effect in preventing diabetes.

One notable study which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed exactly this.(3) This was a long 14-year study covering the effects of all diet foods and their relation to diabetes which targeted over 66,000 women. The study showed that consumption of both sugar-sweetened beverages and artificially sweetened beverages increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

3. Diet Soda and Tooth Decay
People who are aware that sodas will have an adverse effect on oral health should also know that the same can be said about diet sodas. This is because the main difference between them is sugar content and it is not the sugar which causes tooth decay, it is the citric acid. Carbonated beverages are quite acidic with an average pH of 3.2. Years of drinking soda regularly, regardless of whether it is diet or not, will wear away the enamel which covers the teeth and acts as a protective layer. Because of this, teeth will not only suffer discoloration, but will also be at a higher risk of developing cracks and cavities. Again, due to a psychological factor, people who regularly drink diet soda are actually more affected because they tend to drink more since they think that it is safe and healthy compared to regular soda.

4. Artificial Sweeteners in Diet Soda
Most of the problems generated by diet soda are due to the presence of artificial sweeteners which sometimes can be just as bad, if not worse, than regular sugar. While sugar has been studied for a long time and its effects on the body are well-documented, sweeteners come in many forms and new ones are always being developed, so it is hard to say that they will all have the same effect on the human body and what that effect might be. However, existing research does point to some disturbing effects.

There are links between aspartame (the sweetener used in most diet sodas) and seizures, migraines and other neurological problems, as well as cancer.(4) One long 11-year study conducted by Harvard Medical School was not enough to provide conclusive evidence, but it did show a link between diet soda and kidney problems after studying over 3,000 women.(5) Since there is no such connection with regular soda, it is suspected that the sweeteners involved were the culprits.

Further Reading
(1) Swithers et al, 2008, “A role for sweet taste: calorie predictive relations in energy regulation by rats”, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18298259.
(2) American Diabetes Association, “Diabetes myths”, http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/myths/.
(3) Fagherazzi et al, 2013, “Consumption of artificially and sugar-sweetened beverages and incident type 2 diabetes in the Etude Epidémiologique auprès des femmes de la Mutuelle Générale de l’Education Nationale”, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/01/30/ajcn.112.050997.
(4) The Candida Diet, “If You’re On A Candida Diet, Avoid Aspartame”, http://www.thecandidadiet.com/aspartame-and-candida/.
(5) WebMD, “Diet sodas may be hard on the kidneys”, http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20091102/diet-sodas-hard-on-the-kidneys.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Printable Version

We Are Scouting Top Writers

Are you passionate about fitness and have something to say? Reach a huge online community and get the discussion going - start writing for Tabata Times today!

Share this post
@TabataTimes on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook 
Advertise Here

Most Popular of All Time

CrossFit Roseburg shared a link on Facebook

Three sets of: Bench Press x 6-8 reps @ 20X1 Rest 60 seconds Pull-Ups x Max Reps OR Pull-Ups x 3-5 reps @ 51X1 Rest 60 seconds For time: 50/30 Push-Ups 300 Meter Run 30 Heavy Kettlebell Swings 300 Meter Run 50/30 Push-Ups 300 Meter Run 30 Heavy …

lycan714 published the post Breaking Band on Tabata Times
From your local CrossFit box all the way up to the larger commercial gyms; no doubt you've seen...
CrossFit Roseburg posted an article
CrossFit Southwest Portland posted on Facebook

Friday: WarmUp Run 600m 1 Lap SpiderMan 3 Rounds (barbell) 6 FrontSquat 6 HPClean 6 Press WarmUp for PowerClean+PushPress **Mobility: couch, bandy ham 1 min each side 5 Sets 6 PowerClean+PushPress TnG 9 TTB AFAP Run 400m Rest :90 Cool Couch Roll $$ 3X20 GHD

Fearghal CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

20141023 Ok so I had to jump on the TBT ban wagon ;-)! About a year ago these shenanigans were happening under our roof! Lol! Love our Fearghal Family (whether they are near or far). Finishing up our deload week! Hope you are all feeling refreshed! I know a few of you took today's WOD and made it a PR kind of day!! Great job! A Coach H Warm Up :-) Skill: Press 5-5-5 WOD: 2 mile run

CrossFit A.P.E. shared an image on Facebook

Jake you're an animal! Nice squat and row times bud:)

Rogue Valley CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Rogue Valley CrossFit posted an article
Mahoney CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Friday Deloading Oct 24th/tier-2

CrossFit Salem shared a link on Facebook

Check out this awesome event we will be hosting in December!

CrossFit Roseburg shared a link on Facebook

4 sets of: 1 DB Power Snatch + 2 OH Squats Rest 60 seconds 30 Second Side Plank (each side) Rest 60 seconds 4 Rounds of 30 seconds on/30 seconds off Row Sit-ups Mnt. Climbers DB Push Press

CrossFit Southwest Portland posted on Facebook

Nice work 9:00am Warriors!

CrossFit Portland shared a link on Facebook

You'll be seeing Coach Jonathan Thom around at CrossFit Portland. Here is a Q&A with him and please welcome him to CFPDX!

CrossFit Portland posted an article
Newberg CrossFit Rebuilt shared an image on Facebook

Please come in a drop off toilet paper and paper towels for the Henderson house. The domestic violence house in McMinnville. Not only is October breast cancer awareness month it's also domestic violence awareness month !!! Let's show our support!!

Rogue Valley CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

**SCHEDULE CHANGE** Tonight only. Kids Barbell class starts at 5:30. Also, kids halloween party is next Wednesday! All past, present and future kiddos are invited to join the fun!

Seth Oberst DPT CSCS published the post Going Barefoot for Strength Training on
Whether or not you've read my prior piece on the short foot position, this bears repeating: the...
Tracktown CrossFit posted on Facebook

No video. D had a Pr on her Pw/Jerk+Split jerk at 125lb. That's 5lb's more then her best jerk.

Bridgetown CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

No 5pm or 6pm on Halloween http://wp.me/p3iDcO-2VG

Bridgetown CrossFit posted an article
Bridgetown CrossFit posted an article
Tracktown CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Logan hitting a Behind the neck Pw/Jerk+Split Jerk @ 210lb. His best jerk is 225lbs. Brandon hitting 205lb Pw/jerk+Split Jerk. Brandon's best jerk is 225lb. 5 weeks to GO!!!

Bridgetown CrossFit posted an article
Bridgetown CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Week 3 Thursday - We'll post an image of the workout card so you can share it, save it, pin it or just come do it!!!

Bridgetown CrossFit posted an article
adrummonds published the post ABS Banana Chocolate Chip Protein Pancakes! on
Ingredients: 1 Scoop ABS Chocolate Chip Pancakes 1/3 C Egg Whites 1/3 C Unsweetened...
adrummonds published the post ABS Pumpkin Chocolate Protein Cookies! on
Ingredients and Directions: 1 Scoop ABS Vanilla Cake Batter Pancakes 1 Scoop Vanilla...
Vanessa LaFaso Stolarski published the post How to Break Up with Your Box on
So your back squat hasn’t PR’d squat in six months. The box owner is bedroom WOD’ing with his...
McMinnville CrossFit IMUA posted on Facebook

Not sure who put the big trash can outside last night, but please don't do that again. If you must, bring it back in before you leave. It was full of rain water this morning and extremely hard to get the bag out. Also, there are several cats around that can get into it if it's left outside. Do don't mess with it especially if it's raining, or if you do, make sure it's back inside before you leave.

CrossFit Grants Pass posted an article
CrossFit Grants Pass posted an article
Tracktown CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit Train shared a link on Facebook

http://crossfittrain.com/blog/2014/10/22/we-are-ordering-new-dope-ass-hoodies

Beaverton CrossFit posted an article
Beaverton CrossFit posted an article
Anonymous posted an article
CrossFit Excellence shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit Pearl District posted an article
CrossFit West Santa Cruz shared a link on Facebook

Don’t Try At Home http://wp.me/puz1A-5aN

CrossFit West Santa Cruz posted an article
Telegraph CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Thursday 10/23/2014 WOD http://www.telegraphcrossfit.com/thursday-10232014/

Telegraph CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Oakland shared a link on Facebook

http://www.crossfitoakland.com/november-slots-available-for-strong-school/

CrossFit All Terrain posted an article
CrossFit Oakland posted on Facebook

Thursday is a Recovery Day.

CrossFit A.P.E. shared an image on Facebook

How did you do with you max weight back squat lift today? Were you a little scared? Did you ease off and when doing the final 20 you realized you could've went more? It happens. Just make sure you keep good form. Heels down and core engaged to drive up. The thing is when you do a good squat where your butt goes past parallel, the big boys now have to engage (glutes, hamstrings) to get that weight up! Quads are always working nonetheless but if you are doing a squat above the knee then you will not be engaging much or at all the posterior chain glutes and hamstrings. Posterior chain muscles are so important that make you more powerful and improve your posture (and that means those spinal erector muscles). If you did go pretty hard CONGRATULATIONS!!! You should roll those babies out, get adjusted or have a massage because you deserve it!

CrossFit Ashland posted an article
Tracktown CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Some BIG time Pr's in Advance weightlifting class tonight. Outstanding job tonight!

Newberg CrossFit Rebuilt shared an image on Facebook

Patricia. Two years of working her butt off. Eating clean. And 55 lbs later her confidence beams out of her. She's strong and beautiful. Inside and out. This fitness stuff is a journey. S process. And this is how you do it!!!

CrossFit the Den posted on Facebook

Press 5-3-2-2-1-1-1-1 Then “Annie” 50-40-30-20-10 Double Unders Situps Then 5-5-5-5-5 Weighted Strict Pullups OR Work on your Muscle Ups

Eugene CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Revival shared an image on Facebook

Anonymous shared an image on Facebook
saulj posted on Facebook

World Series Game 2 Giants vs. KC Royals is on at 5:07. Work out and cheer 'em on! Go Giants!

San Carlos CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Kids Fitness is a program designed specifically to meet the special neurological, cognitive and motor needs of children. One of the most important aspects of our Kids Fitness classes is that they are FUN! Kids will look forward to coming to class, and will learn that “exercise” is interesting, fun, and worth doing. Our classes are designed to get kids moving properly and under control. They will enhance their coordination and agility, increase flexibility, build strength, power and confidence. All movements are age appropriate and the 45min workouts have been designed specifically by our trainers for children. Age ranges are from 8 -13 year olds. This program is offered on a monthly basis.

Morgan Hill CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Week21 day3 http://wp.me/p3Bc8L-p9

Morgan Hill CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Week21 day3 http://wp.me/p3Bc8L-p8

CrossFit Sandpoint shared an image on Facebook

Our next Foundations session starts November 3rd! The course will run four weeks on Mondays and Thursdays at 6:30pm for a total of 8 sessions. Foundations is designed to introduce beginning CrossFit athletes to the movements and lifts that we utilize in our normal classes. If you’re looking to get started with CrossFit, this is a tremendous way to start. You will learn the basics, and you will gradually build up to the intensity that we utilize in our daily classes. This will allow for a safe and thorough start to your CrossFit life. In addition, we feel that starting with a group of beginners is less intimidating than jumping in with people who may have been doing CrossFit for years. If you haven't heard of CrossFit, or want to know more about what it is, this article does a tremendous job of describing what you can expect: http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2012/03/01/a-beginners-guide-to-crossfit/ Please feel free to email info@crossfitsandpoint.com with any questions or concerns. If you’d like to sign up, you can register and pay at the link below. The cost is $100. https://crossfitsandpoint.sites.zenplanner.com/membershipTemplate-view.cfm?membershipTemplateId=9736A264-25F5-48A4-BA81-249F2F994347

United Barbell shared a link on Facebook

Less than 3 weeks until the "Fight Gone Bad" United for Youth event goes down at United Barbell! Make sure you register to reserve your space!

The Shipyard CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

It's time, guys! Sign-ups for November On-Ramp are coming up!! Tuesday, October 28th. 5-6pm. Start NOW.

@TabataTimes on Twitter

Watch the latest episode of GPTV