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Diet Coke is a Joke

Armen Hareyan's picture

Countless numbers of dieters consume Diet Coke thinking that it is inert to their diet efforts. After all, it's called Diet Coke, right? Wrong.


Diet Coke, regardless of how many calories it has, wreaks havoc on your fat loss efforts and will ultimately cause you to gain weight. There are two main reasons for the Diet Coke fallacy. First, the sweet taste from Diet Coke elicits an insulin spike, which blocks your ability to burn fat. Second, artificial sweeteners found in Diet Coke disrupt satiety, the feeling of being full. Combined, the actions of Diet Coke go against a healthy lifestyle. Understanding why ensures that we think twice before consuming it.

When it comes to losing fat, it is more about how much sugar (or sugar substitute) you consume rather than calories or dietary fat intake. Hence, the goal is to consume as little sugar or sugar substitute as possible (including fruits and their juices). Why? The sweet flavor elicits the release of insulin from the pancreas to enhance the uptake of sugar by the cells so that it doesn't linger in the bloodstream. Once insulin is released it inhibits your fat burning hormone called HSL (hormone sensitive lipase). This hormone is responsible for releasing fat into the bloodstream to be utilized as fuel. If inhibited, your body is unable to burn fat and will then begin utilizing amino acids (from muscle) and carbohydrates as fuel. This will leave you feeling tired, grumpy, and sloth-like toward the end of the day. Not to mention, you will become abnormally hungry. Those with large amounts of HSL burn fat all day and look thin and slim. Those who inhibit it by eating or drinking the wrong substances grow fat throughout their adult years.

Second, as discovered by Professor Terry Davidson and associate professor Susan Withers at Purdue University, artificial sweeteners disrupt satiety, the feeling of being full. Their results, published in International Journal of Obesity showed that "mouth feel" plays a crucial role in the body's ability to count calories and that when we consume artificial sweeteners we disrupt the body's ability to count calories based on sweetness. Not able to use mouth feel to count calories, those who drink diet coke will overeat without conscious awareness. In other words, you think you're not eating like a pig, but in reality you are.

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Diet Coke is not the only substance having these abilities. Makers of health food bars and protein supplements are either not aware or ignore the ill effects of sugar alternatives and sugar. This can be seen by the fact that most every health food bar and protein supplement is loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners. The belief that these bars and supplements are healthy for you is a perfect example of how marketing strategies can supersede medical science and common sense.

In closing, Diet Coke is a joke. Stay away from it and other sugar sources if you're serious about losing fat and keeping it off forever. Regardless of your diet and/or training efforts, the aforementioned ill effects of sugar alternatives and sugar will greatly hinder them.

Shane Ellison holds a Master's degree in organic chemistry and has first-hand industry experience with drug research, design and synthesis. He knows that American's want and deserve education, not prescriptions!

Armen Hareyan is the editor of eMaxHealth.com. You can follow eMaxHealth on Twitter, Facebook and on Youtube. Please, subscribe to our channels for daily health tips and share with friends if you find them informative.



Mr. Ellison claims: "The sweet flavor elicits the release of insulin from the pancreas to enhance the uptake of sugar by the cells so that it doesn't linger in the bloodstream." This is incorrect. According to a study titled 'Functional magnetic resonance imaging of human hypothalamic responses to sweet taste and calories' by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a study meant to investigate this very claim, it was found that sweeteners with no caloric content DO NOT cause an insulin response. Additionally, there is no clear study indicating that artificial sweeteners effect satiety. Artificial sweeteners only fool the tongue, not the caloric regulators in the brain. Each of the major tenets of this article are either false or unsupportable. Dave reference: http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/82/5/1011
Yeah sure...Without these studies defending the artificial sweeteners and alike, how would Coca Cola and other producers sell their products? Soni
It's one thing to say that artificial sweeteners might not be great for your health. But if they do cause insulin spikes, there should be studies that show this. I have yet to see one.
No one really cares what you think
What a load of crap. Irresponsible. Don't buy his book because while he may know about chemistry and generating molecules, he knows less about medicine than I did after 10th grade. "Basically, artificial sweeteners confuse your brain. The enzymes in your mouth begin a cascade that primes your cell receptors for an insulin surge, and when it doesn’t arrive your brain feels cheated. That’s why most diet sodas are loaded with caffeine — so you’ll still feel a jolt. But even if your brain is distracted momentarily, soon enough it wants the energy boost you promised it — and you find yourself craving carbohydrates. In one study, people who used artificial sweeteners ate up to three times the amount of calories as the control group. But again, this is individual. It all comes down to the brain’s perception of calories, which can get thrown off whenever artificial ingredients are substituted for whole food. In my practice I’ve seen that many patients are better able to break their addiction to sugar and maintain weight loss with the help of sugar substitutes. This is probably because insulin is not involved. Also, the substitutes are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, so you may use less of them. In certain cases, I think moderate use of artificial sweeteners is okay — as long as you feel well."
Wow, you seem like you know what you are talking about. I consider myself to be a resonably intelligent person with a college degree, but I have little knowledge in nutrition. So, if a person were drinking a can or two of diet coke a day, would that put them at risk for weight gain? I have read so many conflicting arguments that I really don't know what to believe anymore.
Funny. I came across this after listening to friends giving me not trustable information about my Diet Coke habit. I'm constantly asking people to show me studies - actual studies by legitamit professionals, and all I get are articles like this one that make a lot of claims but don't show the facts. I'm not saying the sweetner debate isn't valid. I just think everyone should look at the facts - the studies - not the hype. Question your freinds and question what you read. - Paul Greenwood
I have a friend who is slightly on the larger side, and she drinks this every morning, and sometimes with her evening meal/ She has found that drinking diet coke has had a positive effect on her as she has shed lots of weight. However the only one bad implication of this is that she has developed really yellow stained teeth, so her boyfriend left her for a white toothed beauty! I know this doesnt seem fair, so my advice would be if want to be slim AND have yellow teeth go for the diet coke, but be at risk of loosing your partner! Yours Krishan Ladwa who goes Lampton school!
Despite your schooling, you clearly have never heard of tooth whitening. It is very easy to do nowadays.
I have lost a large amount of weight using Diet Coke as a soft drink instead of regular Coke which has about 16 teaspoons of sugar per serving. This misleading argument is sadly going to keep others from using this as a weight-loss aid. My Doctor also said this type of argument became prevalent after the "wood alcohol" argument was proven to be a bust. Remember that, "nutrasweet will cause wood alcohol to form if your drink gets warm." hype. Sells books, but not true.
oh my god i am so confused...shud i drink it now or shud i stop it i dont know why in summer i feel like eating something or the other every hour...i drink only one diet coke per day and i am loving it i am not hungry for the next couple of hours but what all i ready above is a little scary i loved the responses though ;)
So true diet soda sucks! Don't you ever realize the only people who drink diet soda are FAT?!?
One of the most defensible things as far as artificial sweeteners go is that it's safe for Diabetics (which reeally makes me question that insulin factoid). You probably shouldn't be drinking soda at all, but being pre-diabetic myself, I feel a little strongly. I'm no doctor (my dad is, but he's very good at ignoring me), in fact, I'm not even out of high school, but the most rudimentary health course will tell you that a lot of eating disorders are emotional. And compulsive eating is an eating disorder. Taking care of myself emotionally has been the best step for my health that I have ever made. Food has become fuel, not comfort. I can neither prove nor disprove the validity of a sweetener's ability to significantly make you eat more. I drink diet soda only occasionally, count my calories daily, and have noticed no real trend in either direction. However, I think we can all agree that sugar itself is a dangerous thing, and less sugar, I think, makes for less emotional crashes that, guess what? Make you eat more sugar, which, again, makes you crash, and... yeah. If aspartame has the ability to break that cycle, I don't think that's a bad thing. Generally, you can only force yourself to avoid things you're used to eating for so long, and diet cola can be great for weaning off soda. It's missing something, yes, but it's just enough to satisfy. If someone who drinks 1 can a day can make the switch to diet cola, they could save at least 100 calories a day-- About 10 pounds a year-- with no other changes to their diet. That seems pretty significant. I agree, however, that health bars need less sugar. If I think it's disgusting, there is officially a problem. :) And am I right in thinking that this article is against consumption of fruit? *gasp* That's awful. I do not have a chemistry degree, and I am not saying that everything in this article is inaccurate (though I would take a bet on fruit). Frankly, I'd like to see more information on substances that I so trustingly put into my body. However, this seems a little bit like an attempt to defend an opinion that the author already had.
There's one huge flaw in the theory that diet sodas raise insulin. If people drank 128oz diet sodas and their sugar didn't go up but their insulin did, then we would have a lot of comas. If 128oz of diet soda isn't enough to make a significant difference on insulin levels then 12oz of diet soda sure isn't. The main way diet sodas cause you to gain weight is two fold. One they have sodium. Salt is added to cover the aftertaste of the sweetener, salt in small amounts acts as a sweetener. The sodium dries out your mouth and makes you either want to eat something or drink more. Two the caffeine and carbonation increase the acidity of your stomach. More acidity makes you naturally want to eat something to calm the acid. Also, because the soda is diet it isn't leaving anything behind for your stomach to churn on. So if diet soda doesn't cause you to eat more then it will certainly leave you with an ulcer in waiting or some form of irritable bowel syndrome. If you're having trouble balancing the soda then give yourself the rule to drink twice as much water as you do soda. I try to do this in the morning and the afternoon by drinking two 16 oz cups of water. The hydration helps. If you're still having problems giving up the soda- like you're seriously addicted like me- then maybe something like adderal or concerta is an answer. You still have the side effect of high blood pressure, but you don't have the GI side effects anymore and you have enough energy to stay awake. However this is really only a solution for ADD symptom qualifiers.
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An interesting, yet ultimately baseless theory given the fact I have lost over one hundred pounds going on three years now and have maintained my current weight with slight increases and decreases dependant upon whether or not I fancy a treat. In this allotted junture I have consumed at a mininum of two cans of diet pepsi a day on average with as many as four being frequently, especially in the recent year with no noteworthy weight gain. In actuality I have lost more weight as I type this now. Soda does inflated your stomach for a slight period of time, hence bloating however it does not increase fat gain. Such is a falsehood to conceal poor eating habits, although such is not to insinuate soda is a healthy choice, merely not a fat gaining choice.
What about the sodium and other contents? Do they indirectly cause weight gain? NA+ causes more water reabsorption right thus decreaseing BP? Would that cause ur metabolism to slow or anything to that effect?
And yet, some how I lost 75 lbs ( from 296 to 221 ) while drinking large amounts of diet coke. I also started eating smarter, drank more water, and started working out, but I never stopped drinking diet coke. Don't believe the "experts" on this matter. Drink as much diet coke as you want.
If you have been losing weight it's not because of the diet coke. It's your eating habits and the fact that you're drinking more water. Watch one season of biggest loser you'll learn A LOT!!!! Diet coke is very bad for you!
this might be a necro reply but everyones different, different effects on different people some people could stop drinking cokes all together and lose 20lbs where as others only lose like 3 and they originally weighed the same
I think for very heavy people then any effort to eat less and excercise more will result in weight loss regardless if they continue to consume diet soda, But for thin people trying to get skinny then i dont think they can consume the same way and still lose weight. YOu might not gain any whilest drinking it but it is harder to lose it with artifical shit in your diet!
i dont care even if it says diet its shown that all soda is bad for you soo how is diet soda any different. Soda is just a drug that rots teeth and makes you fatt! WHO WANTS THAT? sooo keep drinking that soda and will all be fat toothless wonders.
Yeah, if you stop shoving Twinkies down your throat and get off the couch, of course you're going to lose weight regardless of your beverage choice. Drinking diet isn't the panacea beverage manufacturers would have you believe.
well, I drink a can of diet coke every day or every other day, and i'm losing weight because it makes me feel fuller, also with a combination of a general lower-calorie intake... everything in moderation :)
diet cokes yummy
i agree lol :) so much nicer than the regular coke
the real coke is the ultimate best, diet coke! ha
No, this article is a joke. I have lost 100 pounds and kept it off for 4 years and I drink anywhere from 12 fl oz to 1 liter of diet soda a day. I haven't had any problems at all. The only way drinking diet soda can cause you to gain weight is if tasting something sweet causes you to want to eat, something that has more to do with you than the soda or sweeteners (and something you need to work on if you want to lose weight).
Lost 18 Kg, never gave up the Diet Coke. Not saying that its not harmful to your health but it doesn't 'blocks out the fat loss'.
I switched to diet coke/pepsi recently because it has no calories/sugar. I lost about 10 lbs already with minimal exercise. Now, I used to be a heavy regular cola user drinking in upwards of 6-8 a day. I stopped doing that and have maybe 1 or 2 diet cokes a day when i want to get my caffeine and carbonation fix. Between those times i opt for a regular coffee or a big bottle of water that i can refill. Its done wonders. You have to limit your intake on colas and sugars people. Sitting around drinking regular pepsi and surfing the net is going to make you dehydrated and fat. Moderation is key.