Does Diet Soda Make You Fat?

by Mike Geary, CNS, CPT on January 12, 2010 · 1 comment

By Mike Geary, CNS, CPT

Is diet soda really good for weight loss, or does it contribute to fat gain?

We all know by now that soda (aka “pop” in some areas) is one of the most evil things you can put in your body… the nasty chemicals, the gut-fattening high fructose corn syrup, and a myriad of health problems caused by this carbonated cocktail worshiped by those that don’t care about their health or body.

Surprisingly, many people falsely believe that “diet” soda is in some way a good thing for losing body fat.  In fact, I hear people all the time proudly state that they eat so healthy and only drink diet soda.

So let’s set the record straight…

There is NOTHING even remotely healthy about drinking diet soda. In fact, I’ve even seen several studies that showed dedicated diet soda drinkers got even FATTER than their regular soda drinking counterparts.

Here’s some findings from an 8-year University of Texas study that I had read…

An excerpt from the study author:

“What didn’t surprise us was that total soft drink use was linked to overweight and obesity,” Fowler tells WebMD. “What was surprising was when we looked at people only drinking diet soft drinks, their risk of obesity was even higher.”

“There was a 41 percent increase in risk of being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink a person consumes each day,” Fowler says.

OK, as if we didn’t already know how bad regular soda was for us, and now they’re showing us studies that diet soda makes us even fatter than the already bad stuff!

There’s a lot of complicating factors as to why this occurs…

One reason is that the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas create a negative hormonal response in the body that increases fat storing hormone production and increases cravings for more sweets and refined carbohydrates in the time period after consuming the diet drink.

Another reason is that people may subconsciously think that because they are drinking a diet soda, that gives them more leeway to eat more of everything else, hence consuming more calories overall.

I’ve said this all along, but the bottom line is that if you’re serious about your health and body, soda of any kind (and artificial sweeteners in anything for that matter!) should be avoided at all times, except for very rare occasions when you can’t avoid them.

About the Author: Certified Nutrition Specialist and Personal Trainer Mike Geary, author of the internationally best-selling e-book The Truth about Six Pack Abs, is a contributing author to Muscle & Fitness & Oxygen magazines and is regularly featured on fitness websites around the world. Mike specializes in body fat reduction strategies and functional strength and power training. To learn more about his innovative training strategies and the latest nutrition tips, check out his website at

[Editor’s Comments: So what should you drink if you are looking for a good alternative to diet sodas?

Mike suggested the best alternatives are good old water with lemon or unsweetened iced teas. The best thing about drinking iced tea is that you have so many great options to choose from. You can try green, white, black, oolong, red or even an herbal tea.

If you really need to sweeten your drink, try adding a little of the natural non-caloric sweetener stevia. Here’s where we buy ours =>> Try Stevia.]

Required Legal Disclaimer: some of the links mentioned within this post or posts they lead to are my affiliate links and I get compensated for recommending those products. However I NEVER recommend something I don’t believe in and welcome your questions and feedback.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Sarah-Jane Bedwell, R.D. January 13, 2010 at 5:30 pm

As a registered dietitian, I know that weight management is based on calorie balance. In other words, if you eat the same number of calories as you burn, you maintain your weight. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. And this is true of all calories-no matter where they come from. That’s why I stress to all my clients, which include the food and beverage industry, that all foods-even sodas- can be included in a healthy diet when eaten in moderation and balanced with physical activity. In fact, data, which have been published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition and supported by the American Dietetic Association, speak to the safety of diet sodas and actually show that low- and no-calorie sweeteners, often found in diet soda, can help you manage your weight.

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