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Q: Is diet soda bad for weight loss?


Q: Is diet soda bad for weight loss?

A:  Although diet soda does not contain calories or sugar, some studies have shown that artificial sweeteners, like those in diet soda, are associated with weight gain and increased blood sugar.  It’s not entirely clear why this happens, but scientists and health professionals suspect that a few factors might be at play. One theory is that artificial sweeteners might interfere with your body’s natural ability to regulate your food intake based on a food’s sweetness. In other words, you aren’t as satisfied with smaller amounts of sweets, so you tend to overindulge. In addition to this, you may using diet soda to compensate for eating fattening meals, which then results in weight gain.

In terms of safety, most artificial sweeteners are considered safe by the FDA, but because there is not long-term research on the effects of high amounts of these man-made compounds over time, it’s safest to keep your intake minimal. For instance, having a diet soda once or twice a week is probably not going to have any effect on your weight or health, but drinking one or two a day is where it can start to add up. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the acids in soft drinks — including diet versions — can erode tooth enamel.

If you’re a daily diet soda drinker, we recommend slowly replacing soda with naturally flavored water or seltzer/club soda. Seltzer has the fizziness of soda, and if you add lime, lemon, or even a splash of juice (no more than 1 – 2 ounces) you also add flavor. Before you know it, you’ll be kicking your diet soda habit, and possibly losing even more weight!


Who out there is a diet soda drinker?  Are you trying to kick the habit?  Already kicked it?  How’d you do it?


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10 Comments on “Q: Is diet soda bad for weight loss?”

  1. Felicia Tomasulo

    always disliked the taste of artificial sweeteners, now there is reports it has caused cancer it lab rats

  2. Jeet Chowhan

    Interesting- We think Diet Soda “With no calories or sugar, it’s the perfect alternative for weight loss”. But it might be bad for your kidneys.Diet soda is associated with a twofold increased risk for kidney decline. You can visit http://jeetchowhan.com for more information about diet.

  3. Christine

    I’ve heard this before and believe it completely! I quit drinking soda cold turkey back in Feb. 2012. I now drink water and unsweetened ice tea instead.

  4. Marissa

    I haven’t had a diet soda in almost two weeks. I switched to seltzer water with 1 half oz of lemon or limeade. I just don’t want them anymore.

    1. Willow & Stephanie Post author

      Marissa, seltzer with lemon or limeade is a great switch! If you get tired of those flavors, you can also add a tablespoon of pomegranate or orange juice. Or try one of the flavored seltzers (we love raspberry and cherry flavors!) — they just have fruit essence but aren’t sweetened. :)

  5. Amelia

    So interesting! I’ve always heard that artificial sweeteners can make you feel hungrier or crave sugar, but it’s nice to see this info from dietitians I really trust. I used to indulge in diet sodas a few times a week – albeit the supposedly “natural” Hansen’s…but now I find that sparkling water does the trick. All I need is a few bubbles :)

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