If there is one question I can count on during the first month with a new patient (usually the first day!), it is, “can I drink diet soda and if not, why”? It’s a great question and one I have multiple answers to.
Since the birth of diet beverages in 1960 until 2000, diet soda consumption increased by more than 400%. With this trend, you would assume obesity would start to decline, though it’s only increased. What’s the deal?
Aspartame, acesulfame potassium and sucralose have all been used to recreate the sweet taste of soda and other beverages without the sugar and calories. Despite being endorsed by some big name health groups a few years back, recent studies have shown that diet soda can actually correlate to small weight gain, with other studies showing diet beverages can increase the risk of obesity by 47% and can be associated with a 43% increase risk in strokes and heart attacks.*
Another reason to stay away from artificial sweeteners it has been found to raise insulin levels even higher than table sugar, which creates an environment of fat storage, not fat utilization. Keeping insulin low is key to unlocking our own stored fat burn.
Lastly, since artificial sweeteners are engineered to be even sweeter than sugar, it can increase cravings for sweets and lead to overeating, increase appetite and increased cravings. You may potentially overcompensate by eating more of the real sugary stuff.
In conclusion, you may find conflicting studies about weight gain and diet beverages, and they can be confusing. However, here are Enara health, we try to promote whole foods, water, minimal chemicals and processing, and diet beverages just don’t measure up.
*Studies sourced from The Obesity Code, by Jason Fung