This post may be controversial, and perhaps even incite a mini-riot. Many of my own family members still drink diet sodas. I still love them….family, that is.

That’s why I’m providing this information. Diet drinks are a not-so-small part of a much bigger picture run by the few giant corporations that call themselves the food industry (jumping off the soap box).

Believe me, I used to drink diet sodas, mostly the ‘un-cola’ varieties. I also downed my share of sports drinks and other diet type beverages. In my early forties, I began training in the gym pretty intensely, and trying to eat ‘clean’. It was around that time when I realized those sodas were full of chemicals, and they began to taste pretty awful. Thankfully, I had no trouble replacing them with plain water or seltzer. I still enjoy the carbonation effect.

Instead of sugar, diet sodas are sweetened with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, acesulfame-k or sucralose. But, you know that. These drinks are calorie free, which technically should help people lose weight and prevent sugar-related diseases like diabetes.

However, the evidence for these beverages having any use in weight-loss is completely nonexistent.

It Confuses Our Brains.

When a person consumes a zero-calorie artificial sweetener, it’s telling the brain, “I am eating sweet, expect calories.” However, no calories come.

Sugar addiction researcher Nicole Avena, Ph.D., who is an assistant professor in the College of Medicine at the University of Florida, explains that in the short term, we’re getting that satisfaction of sweet without the calories. But in the long run, it’s a little more complicated. “If you’re consuming beverages without calories and not getting fullness from sugar-sweetened beverages, you could be priming the brain to want to eat more,” she tells HuffPost. “That’s one of the limitations of artificial sweeteners: In the long term, it could stimulate appetite, versus provide a benefit in the sense they’re reducing calorie intake … Over time, it’s not helping the brain get over wanting sugar.”

Excerpts from an article by Dr. Mark Hyman:

  • Artificial sweeteners are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar, activating our genetically-programmed preference for sweet taste more than any other substance.
  • 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.
  • It also confuses and slows your metabolism down, so you burn fewer calories every day.
  • It makes you hungrier and crave even more sugar and starchy carbs like bread and pasta.
  • In population studies, there was a 200 percent increased risk of obesity in diet soda drinkers.

More information from Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center:

If you’re really trying to lose weight or eat healthier, Katz said the better way to do so is to “rehabilitate” your taste buds by cutting out hidden sugar in foods like salad dressings, pasta sauces and crackers, so that you’re more sensitive to sweetness and thereby prefer less. The links here take you to my healthier, sugar free and tasty alternative recipes.

“Then we can solve the problem without relying on chemistry,” he said. “These chemicals have uncertain, unpredictable effects, and so when you have the option to avoid them, I would prefer that.”

Furthermore, here’s the real ‘skinny’ on the artificial sweeteners used in your diet beverage.

What Is Aspartame Made Of? 

Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. The book Prescription for Nutritional Healing, by James and Phyllis Balch lists aspartame under the category of “chemical poison.” As you shall see, that is exactly what it is.

Click on each ingredient for detailed information…really, do it.

Methanol a.k.a wood alcohol/poison (10 percent of aspartame)

Phenylalanine (50 percent of aspartame)

Aspartic Acid (40 percent of Aspartame)

Diketopiperazine (DKP)

So, now that you’ve read EVERYTHING in this post, I’d also like to offer some great alternatives to diet soda.

  • Infused water – try putting cucumber and apple slices in a big pitcher!
  • Seltzer and a little (real) fruit juice
  • Brewed ice tea (add agave or maple syrup for sweetening) 

This information is not for any other reason except to educate and enlighten.
It is also not meant to be construed for medical or dietary advice.