Diet Soda and Artificial Sweeteners Bad for Health

Author: Thomas C. Weiss
Published: 2014/04/08 - Updated: 2022/08/19
Contents: Summary - Definition - Introduction - Main - Related

Synopsis: Article looks at artificial sweeteners and whether diet soda consumption is healthier than drinking regular sodas. When artificial sweeteners are introduced, a person's body sends the appropriate sweet signals to the brain but fails to deliver the sugar punch. When you consume a diet soda, you miss out on nutrients provided by natural sugars your body might find helpful and receive questionable ingredients that work against your body's efforts to maintain a healthy balance.


Diet soda might not have the calories or sugar regular soda does, but it is filled with other chemicals that affect a person's health, such as artificial sweeteners, phosphoric acid, salt, and caffeine. The presence of these chemicals in diet soda is even more concerning when parents give their growing children diet soda to avoid the sugar in regular soda. Different studies have been presented related to diet soda; most show that it might set people up to gain more weight.

Main Digest

A regular 12 ounce can of soda has the equivalent of 9 teaspoons of sugar, often in the form of high fructose corn syrup. Ponder consuming a 12 ounce glass of iced tea with 9 teaspoons of sugar mixed into eat, or perhaps eating 9 teaspoons of straight sugar. Soda pop is liquid sugar that is manufactured to be sweet and relentlessly marketed.

Perhaps it is no surprise that people are gaining unprecedented amounts of weight. Our children are developing Type II diabetes as well. Americans have the distinction of being the most overweight of all economically developed nations. Faced with statistics such as these, it also is not surprising that people may believe choosing a diet soda is somehow healthier. Americans are also the top consumers of artificial sweeteners on the planet.

Diet soda does have fewer calories than a regular one. If a person receives a disproportionate amount of their daily caloric intake from soda pop and switches to diet soda, they may indeed lose weight. The key word is, 'may,' because it seems that artificial sweeteners can actually set people up to gain more weight.

Artificial Sweeteners and Weight Loss

A number of views have been posed concerning artificial sweeteners, but many scientists agree that artificial sweeteners might interact with the body's sense of sugar satisfaction. Some experts are exploring the possibility that artificial sweeteners confuse a person's taste buds and their sense of being satiated. Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio compiled data that provided surprising results.

Artificial Sweetners and Diet Soda

The researchers studied more than 1,500 people who were between the ages of 25-64. They examined whether the people consumed regular or diet soda pop. Unsurprisingly they found a correlation between the daily consumption of multiple cans of all soft drinks and obesity. Yet they also noted with surprise that after looking only at those who consumed diet soda their risk of obesity was even higher. In fact - the researchers discovered that for every can of diet soda a person drank each day, their risk of obesity rose by 41%.

Other studies performed found different variations, yet a distinct pattern is emerging. Certain data indicate that a person's body learns to predict caloric intake by the texture and taste of certain foods. When artificial sweeteners are introduced a person's body sends the appropriate sweet signals to their brain, but fails to deliver the sugar punch.

Experts are not presuming that diet soda is making people gain weight, yet there does appear to be a connection. What is being explored is the idea that by offering a person's taste buds something that seems to be sweet and seems to signal other parts of their body that glucose sugars are on the way, they are being set up for cravings. People eventually and often times unknowingly give in to these cravings. What this means is that consumption of artificial sweeteners that seem to be real may be setting us up to eat more later.

The idea has been supported by a study performed on rats at Purdue University. Researchers found that rats that were fed artificial sweeteners consistently ate more than the group fed high-calorie sweeteners instead. People may give themselves permission to eat more thinking of the calories they have, 'saved,' by drinking a diet soda.

Extras You May Not Desire

When you consume a diet soda you not only miss out on any nutrients provided by real sugars your body might find useful in reasonable quantities, you also receive a list of suspicious ingredients that work against your body's efforts to maintain a healthy balance. The most notable of these is caffeine. A number of diet drinks are cola-based or have caffeine added to them. It is part of the mix created by soda pop manufacturers to make soft drinks, especially diet soft drinks, appear more substantial.

Caffeine gives you a boost similar to sugar, but the buzz really is not providing your body with anything it needs at all. The compilations of consuming caffeine and addiction are lengthy and include insomnia, fatigue, chronic anxiety and the worsening of symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Caffeine is a diuretic and while you might think that diet soda is relieving your thirst the exact opposite is the truth. Diet soda often contains salt as well.

Carbonated sodas also contain calcium-leaching phosphoric acid. So much acid in your system can change your pH balance to an unhealthy level. Healthy detoxification happens in a slightly alkaline environment. Too much acidity sabotages the detoxification process.

Dropping the Diet Soda Habit

For people who rarely drink soda or sweeten their drinks it is most likely preferable to use real sugar or even drink an occasional Coca-Cola. Drinking a soda might even be therapeutic if you have an upset stomach. While permitting a child to drink soda pop is not preferable, if you must then one that is not a diet soda is most likely better.

If you find that you have a habit of reaching for a diet soda you might be driven by the caffeine in it. It may be a behavioral habit, the kind of thing where reaching for the soda is what you do when you stop working, or fill the car up with gasoline. Psychological addiction to caffeine is very real and habits may feed each other.

The next time you reach for a soda pop take a moment and think first. What can you drink that will best serve the needs of your body? Bear in mind that if you have any level of dependency on soda your body is sending mixed signals and you react with mixed responses.

The time may be right to transition to the best drink of them all...water. It could be that you are simply thirsty and while soda pop might be close at hand, water is far better for you. It is easy to forget how satisfying a glass of water can be, especially if your system is used to drinks with all kinds of added ingredients.

Water is the key to weight loss. Water hydrates all of your body's systems and cleans your body of toxins. It may not be everything your body is asking for because you are hungry, but being hungry is alright because everyone needs to eat. Even if you are attempting to lose weight, a healthy body will tell you when you are hungry and you should listen. When people eat the right foods they lose weight.

Resources That Provide Relevant Information

Author Credentials:

Thomas C. Weiss is a researcher and editor for Disabled World. Thomas attended college and university courses earning a Masters, Bachelors and two Associate degrees, as well as pursing Disability Studies. As a Nursing Assistant Thomas has assisted people from a variety of racial, religious, gender, class, and age groups by providing care for people with all forms of disabilities from Multiple Sclerosis to Parkinson's; para and quadriplegia to Spina Bifida. Explore Thomas' complete biography for comprehensive insights into his background, expertise, and accomplishments.

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Cite This Page (APA): Weiss, T. C. (2014, April 8). Diet Soda and Artificial Sweeteners Bad for Health. Disabled World. Retrieved May 20, 2024 from

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