Diet soda has long been advertised as the healthier alternative to regular old fat soda. But as I learned previously while analyzing all the ingredients in Diet Coke, the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas (specifically aspartame) will still fuck you up pretty bad: “Even though Diet Coke might not have the calories that a regular Coke does, artificial sweeteners still affect our hormones like insulin in ways that can make us hungrier and reduce the amount of fat we burn,” physician and biochemist Cate Shanahan, author of Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, told me at the time. As a result of the above, diet soda might even cause you to gain more weight than regular soda.
One 2016 study showed that low-calorie sweetener users tend to have a higher average body mass index, a 2.6-centimeter larger waistline and a 53 percent higher incidence of abdominal obesity compared to participants who reported never using low-calorie sweeteners. Similarly, a 2008 study found that drinking artificially sweetened beverages was associated with an almost doubled risk of being overweight or obese.
For this reason, diet soda manufactures were sued last year for deceiving consumers into believing their beverages would help them lose or manage weight, when in reality, scientific studies have shown that they do the exact opposite. [Source]
Contrary to the misinformation here, low- and no-calorie sweeteners and the beverages that use them have proven to be an effective tool for weight loss and management. For instance, a randomized clinical trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that those who consumed zero sugar or reduced sugar beverages in place of caloric ones consumed fewer calories than other control groups, including those who consumed only water.
America’s beverage companies agree that it’s important for people to be mindful of their sugar intake. We’re helping support American’s efforts to cut back on sugar and calories by offering more products with less sugar or zero sugar, smaller portion sizes and calorie labels on the front of all of our products. Learn more here: BalanceUS.org.