Health Team

Will diet soda help you drop the pounds?

Posted February 22, 2010

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— When people want to lose weight, they often start cutting calories in what they drink. It's what makes diet sodas so popular, but even at zero calories those diet drinks might not help people lose the extra pounds.

“I buy into the ads that (diet sodas have) less calories,” said Charmaine Barker.

WakeMed Registered Dietician Stacey Moretz says it's the sweet taste from aspartame and Splenda that fools the body.

“They use a sweetener that's 200 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar,” Moretz said. “Our brain and body connection with what we're tasting expects calories.”

Some studies suggest that the body fools you back and makes you crave the calories it expected with that sweet taste, so it may make you hungrier and make you eat more than you would have without the soda.

Even flavored powder packets people add to water have artificial sweeteners, but Moretz suggests that it may still be a good way to wean people off drinking so many diet sodas each day and bring them back to nature's drink.

“The best option is water, absolutely, and that's another concern with these beverages, “ Moretz said. “Are they being used in place of more nutritious beverages?”

Better options are water, low-fat milk and 100 percent fruit juice, in moderation. If it's the fizz you like, try sparkling water.

Moretz says diet sodas are OK in moderation. They are still a better option than sugared soft drinks, especially for people with diabetes.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Iconoclast Feb 25, 2010

    All I know is that a few years ago when I switched from regular to diet sodas, I lost 40 pounds in six months.

  • scientistjo Feb 25, 2010

    "“I buy into the ads that (diet sodas have) less calories,” said Charmaine Barker."

    Hahaha! What is there to "buy into"? Diet sodas have ZERO calories. So that would be about 140 fewer calories per can! Does this person know that there are nutrition labels right on the can?

  • wiley14 Feb 25, 2010

    So water huh? You mean that same water that we heard a few years ago had all kinds of chemicals and drugs in it? Or the water that supposedly is filtered by other chemicals in some factory? And is that water supposed to come in plastic bottles that has yet another chemical in it?

  • mrsmom Feb 25, 2010

    And all this time I thought it was the large pizza I ate while drinking my diet soda that keep me from losing weight.

  • scarletindurham Feb 25, 2010

    I absolutely believe this. I joined weight watchers through work (not overweight, just needed to join a healthy program to lower my insurance premiums). I really liked the program as it helped me start eating healthier, but the beverage I used to drink with all my meals was skim milk. I looove milk. Well, WW adds a points value to skim milk, so I switch to diet soda which does not have a "points" value. I NEVER used to drink diet sodas (regular soda maybe 1 time a week) and even now after only 3 weeks I start to crave them. I'm just going to go back to my milk and water!

  • iamyeary Feb 25, 2010

    I drink my tea and coffee without sugar, always have. Hot or cold, always UN-sweet. I drink lots of water also. My trick is to keep a bottle of plain water at my desk, bedside table, or area where it is convenient and I don't mind if it is room temperature. It helps me feel full and hydrated between meals. Once in a while I do enjoy a non-diet soft drink, but we all need a treat now and then...;-)

  • FromClayton Feb 25, 2010

    be careful with that fake has all kinds of problems. Google it if you don't believe me. My baby doctor tells me to absoutly stay away from it while pregnant....there is a reason why.

  • Connected1 Feb 25, 2010

    Diet sodas are a myth. A healthy person avoids sodas -- diet or otherwise -- at all costs. Weaning yourself off of sodas will result in FEWER cravings. It's what is in the sodas that bring on the hunger. Try water with lime juice, or green tea and honey You'll be doing your body a huge favor.

    I worked with a guy who pounded Diet Pepsis like they were going off the market. His typical consumption was basically one EVERY HOUR that we worked, so he was putting down nearly two cases every week. He had some major health issues, the least of which was his infamous "front gut", that huge buildup of fat BELOW his belt line. Couple his horrific diet with an incredibly sedentary lifestyle, and you're looking at a guy who is going to have some major health issues in the next decade or so.

    Google "dangers of diet sodas", and I can assure you that you'll want to stop drinking them. Swap out the diet drinks for water and exercise, and enjoy the feeling of good health!

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 25, 2010

    You can't fool Mother Nature. She always wins.

  • Ready2Taxi Feb 24, 2010

    Read up on "metabolic syndrome". Consuming artificial sweeteners will increase appetite and cravings for carbohydrates. If you're dieting be sure you get plenty of water.