Diet sodas are often marketed as being a harmless, healthier substitute for sugar-laden soft drinks and juices because they offer the same delicious taste, but without the high calorie and carbohydrate count. If you’ve ever tried to use your anti-aging diet to drop a few pounds, you may have even bought into the idea. But the truth is, diet soda really isn’t much of a saving grace for your weight loss diet. In fact, it can actually do more harm over the long-term.
The sugar from diet sodas is removed and replaced with artificial sweeteners, which is what supposedly makes it beneficial for your anti-aging weight loss diet. Manufacturers use a variety of artificial sweeteners, such as acesulfame potassium, aspartame, or sucralose. While these ingredients are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is evidence that, when added to a weight loss diet, these ingredients cause a number of health issues, including cancers, tumors, thyroid issues, and even weight gain.
Ironically, there is even evidence that despite the lack of sugar, drinking diet soda for your weight loss diet can lead to the health issues you’re trying to avoid in the first place. A recent study found a connection between consuming artificial sweeteners and developing obesity, type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease. The findings also showed that drinking one diet beverage a day in your anti-aging weight loss diet plan significantly increased the risk of developing one of the above mentioned conditions.
While it may appear that the artificial sweeteners found in diet soda can help with your weight loss diet, a study from Purdue University’s Ingestive Behavior Research Center revealed that when rats were given artificial sweeteners, they actually started to gain weight. The theory is that the artificial sweetener tricked the rats’ brains into thinking they were getting more calories than they were and when they didn’t get enough to satisfy their appetite, they started to eat more.
Another study also found that diet drinks have the opposite effect when used as a weight loss diet tool. Researchers behind the San Antonio Heart Study discovered that participants who consumed upwards of 21 diet beverages a week (that’s averaging three per day) were twice as likely to struggle with weight gain.
Cognitive Distortion and Your Weight Loss Diet
When someone relies on diet drinks for their weight loss diet, they may wind up suffering from cognitive distortion, which counteracts the purpose of the weight loss diet. Cognitive distortion occurs when you’re conscious of the fact that you’re saving calories and, as a result, you splurge on other food choices. The logic is that you can afford to eat another high-calorie high-fat food because you’re drinking a healthier beverage. And then you wonder why you’re not reaching your weight loss diet goals. Over the long run, drinking large amounts of diet soda for your weight loss diet can actually lead you to consuming more calories than you realize.
The Verdict on Diet Drinks and Your Weight Loss Diet
Despite the health risks of diet drinks, the American Diabetes Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics generally support low- to no-calorie sweeteners for your weight loss diet because of their ability to curb sugar cravings and help manage blood sugar levels. The trick is to drink them in moderation, rather then relying on them solely for your weight loss diet; they can complement a weight loss diet made up of well-rounded food choices, but not make up the foundation of your anti-aging diet.
Better yet, skip sodas and sugary drinks altogether, whether they’re diet or not—besides, nothing is better for your weight loss diet than water. If you feel the need to satisfy your sweet tooth, opt for healthy natural sweeteners like honey or fruit. Fruit contains natural sugars that can actually be nutritious for your weight loss diet. At the end of the day, the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks are just more chemicals that you’re putting into your body, so you’re better off just avoiding them.
“MYTH: Switching to Diet Soda Will Help Me Lose Weight,” Jillian Michaels.com web site; https://www.jillianmichaels.com/fit/lose-weight/myth-diet-soda, last accessed November 11, 2013.
Roussell, M., “Ask the Diet Doctor: Can Diet Soda Make You Fat?” Shape web site, December 15, 2011; https://www.shape.com/weight-loss/food-weight-loss/ask-diet-doctor-can-diet-soda-make-you-fat.
Rudavsky, S., “Study: Diet soda doesn’t help you lose weight,” USA Today web site, July 10, 2013; https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/10/diet-soda-health-problems/2507219/.
Strawbrdige, H., “Artificial sweeteners: sugar-free, but at what cost?” Harvard Health Publications web site, July 16, 2012; https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/artificial-sweeteners-sugar-free-but-at-what-cost-201207165030.