Medically Reviewed by Sindhu Vas – Post Graduate in Nutrition and Food science
Diet cola / sodas are sugar-free drinks or artificially sweetened versions of the regular cola with virtually no calories. Most are sweetened with at least one of these sugar-free agents: acesulfame potassium and aspartame.
Diet soda is loaded with artificial sweeteners and chemicals that can be harmful to your body.
Here’s what you DON’T know about diet coke and other sugar-free sodas and why it’s actually not helping you lose weight.
Diet soda could trick the brain
A lot of studies have shown that artificial sweeteners in the diet soda trick the brain into thinking that more calories are consumed, but when the calories don’t come, it affects metabolism and appetite regulation.
You may overestimate the calories saved by consuming diet cola and may inadvertently consume regular sugar-sweetened beverages.
Often people consuming diet soda could make poor food choices like a burger, fries or potato chips or a piece of cake because they think they can afford extra calories.
Sometimes these poor choices turn into life long habits.
Recommended Read: Aspartame, the artificial sweetener killing us!
Diet soda is associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome
Artificial sweeteners in beverages increase the desire for sugar-sweetened, energy-dense beverages/foods disrupting the ability to estimate energy intake and remaining energy needs.
Thus, diet cola and other artificially sweetened soda consumption may result in over consumption, increased body weight, and consequent metabolic dysfunction.
- Artificial sweeteners are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar. This activates our genetically programmed preference for sweet taste more than any other substance.
- The artificial sweeteners in diet coke overwhelm your taste buds with an onslaught of sweetness. In fact, brain scans show that diet soda alters sweet receptors in the brain and prolongs sugar cravings rather than satisfying them.
- They trick your metabolism into thinking sugar is on its way. This causes your body to pump out insulin, the fat storage hormone, which lays down more belly fat.
There is no free ride. Sugar-free drinks are not good substitutes for the regular drinks.
They increase cravings, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes. Not to forget, they are addictive.
What should I drink then?
You can replace diet soda with refreshing beverages such as water, fruit juices, green tea, fresh lime juice, and coconut water. You could try this refreshing minty buttermilk too!
Recommended Read: How calorie counting can fool us into consuming diet colas!