Hey friends! Happy Tuesday! Is diet soda bad for you? We’re breaking it down today on The Grapefruit & Granola Podcast.
One of the reasons I wanted to record this episode is because I have become increasingly interested in diet soda intake as it relates to insulin resistance. I’ve found some of my clients drinking A LOT of regular soda because their physicians have said to them that diet soda is just as bad as regular soda- this statement has given them the impression that it’s just as bad for their blood sugars as regular soda, which I think is debatable when consumed in large quantities.
Before I get into today’s episode, I think this is a perfect opportunity to discuss how nutrition information is not one-size-fits-all. For a client with extremely high blood sugar and Type 2 diabetes, discussing limiting soda consumption may be appropriate. For a patient with an eating disorder, discussing eliminating soda, or any food/beverage, may be triggering. Please keep this in mind as you listen to today’s episode.
I can’t believe we are already at episode 10 of the podcast. It has been a lot of fun- and a lot of work- creating this show! One of my favorite parts has been being able to connect with other amazing dietitians like today’s guest, Andy De Santis. You may know him as “Andy the RD” on social media. Here are the show notes for today’s episode:
Is Diet Soda Bad for You? (Episode 10: Grapefruit & Granola Podcast)
What is diet soda?
- In diet soda, the caloric part of the soda, which is typically high fructose corn syrup, is replaced with a small amount of artificial sweetener (such as aspartame or sucralose) that doesn’t have any calories
Is the artificial sweetener bad for us?
- It obviously saves you the calories but we’re now starting to see studies about how it affects your health in the long-term
- Most studies have been observational rather than cause-and-effect
- Studies have found that people who drink diet soda regularly don’t have good health outcomes
- However, this may be for reasons other than their diet soda consumption such as diet, lack of exercise, or other lifestyle factors
- Research doesn’t show a lower risk of disease for diet soda drinkers
- We shouldn’t be consuming diet soda liberally with the notion that there won’t be any consequences
What about aspartame?
- One of the most commonly studied substances in food science
- It’s on the FDA’s list of foods that are generally recognized as safe
- Would like to see studies about the effects if a person consumes a large amount over a large period of time
What are doctors saying?
- Doctors are telling people that diet soda is as bad as regular soda
- Unfortunately, patients are taking this to mean that they can drink regular soda instead, rather than cutting back on both
- There is a large amount of research on added sugars and the negative impact they have on health
What does Andy say?
- Reducing calories from soda can drastically reduce the number of calories and help with weight management
- Nothing is definitive – there’s no hard evidence that supports one side or the other
- For people who ask “should I be drinking regular or diet coke?”
- It depends – you should be having so little of either that it shouldn’t matter
- If a person struggles to manage their weight, maybe diet soda would be the better option
- If you’re having either a lot, maybe you should cut down!
Studies related to diet soda
- Beneficial effects of replacing diet beverages with water on type 2 diabetic obese women following a hypo-energetic diet: A randomized, 24-week clinical trial
- The effects of water and non-nutritive sweetened beverages on weight loss during a 12-week weight loss treatment program
- Replacing caloric beverages with water or diet beverages for weight loss in adults: main results of the Choose Healthy Options Consciously Everyday (CHOICE) randomized clinical trial
- Sugar-sweetened beverage and diet soda consumption and the 7-year risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus in middle-aged Japanese men
- Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and fruit juice and incidence of type 2 diabetes: systematic review, meta-analysis, and estimation of population attributable fraction
- Diet soda intake and risk of incident metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)
- Association between sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies
- Altered processing of sweet taste in the brain of diet soda drinkers
- Sugar- and artificially sweetened beverages and the risks of incident stroke and dementia
About Andy De Santis, RD, MPH (Andy the RD)
Andy is a private practice dietitian and nutrition blogger from Toronto, Ontario. He holds a Master’s degree in public health nutrition from the University of Toronto and is an avid advocate for effective nutrition communication as a means for improving people’s health. That’s exactly why you will find him doing so much blogging and instagramming!