Are Diet Sodas Really Bad for You?

Diet sodas

If you think your diet soda habit of three, four, five or more cans every day helps keep your calorie intake down, think before you drink. Research shows that the sugar substitutes in beverages damage our diet and may be detrimental to our health. Studies have linked artificial sweeteners to an increased risk for obesity and disease.

Here are five reasons you may want to put down that soda and pick up water instead:

Diet drinks game your brain. When you eat sweet foods, your brain expects calories. When it doesn’t get them from sugar substitutes, it sends a message to your body to eat more food – increasing your appetite.

You’ll pack on more pounds. Contradictory to the notion of consuming fewer calories, drinking artificially sweetened beverages causes weight gain. If you have more than 21 diet drinks a week, you double your chances of being overweight or obese. That’s an average of just 3 diet drinks a day.

Your sweet tooth is never satisfied. The high-intensity synthetic sugar substitutes in your diet drinks are intensely sweet – from 100 to 20,000 times sweeter than sugar – dulling your taste buds to naturally sweet foods like fruit. This causes cravings for more sweet treats.

Rewarding yourself back fires. You’re more likely to indulge in additional food as a treat to yourself for ‘saving’ all those calories by having diet drinks. This can easily lead to a vicious cycle or regret and more diet soda consumption.

You increase your risk for disease. If you drink artificially sweetened drinks every day, you put yourself at higher risk for not just weight gain and obesity, but high blood sugar, heart disease, stroke, dementia and other serious health conditions, including a 67% greater risk for Type 2 diabetes and 36 percent for metabolic syndrome.


This content was last reviewed and updated during February 2021.

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