I want to start out by saying that I LOVE the taste of diet soda. You could even go as far as to say that I was addicted to the taste. The allure of the 0 calorie beverage that tastes amazing is very tantalizing. Until recent, I used to think that because diet soda had 0 calories there was no way that it could prevent weight loss, let alone lead to weight gain. After doing some research and experimentation of my own, I have come to the conclusion that regularly drinking diet soda can in fact prevent weight loss and perhaps can even lead to weight gain. Here are 3 reasons why drinking diet soda could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts.
Aspartame is probably the biggest culprit when it comes to diet soda affecting your weight loss. Because of this, let’s take a closer look at what aspartame is and its effect on the body.
Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. Aspartame (APM) is an artificial non-saccharide sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages. In the European Union, it is codified as E951. Aspartame is a methyl ester of the aspartic acid/phenylalanine dipeptide. It was discovered by accident in 1965 when James Schlatter, a chemist of G.D. Searle Company, was testing an anti-ulcer drug. Aspartame was approved for dry goods in 1981 and for carbonated beverages in 1983.
Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious, including seizures and death. A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as part of aspartame dangers are:
- Muscle spasms
- Weight gain
- Vision problems
- Hearing loss
- Heart palpitations
- Breathing difficulties
- Anxiety attacks
- Slurred speech
- Loss of taste
- Memory loss
- Joint pain
According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame:
- Brain tumors
- Multiple sclerosis
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease
- Mental retardation
- Birth defects
So it’s safe to say that aspartame is some bad stuff and unfortunately it is one of the most widely used sugar substitutes. But how does it specifically affect weight loss? One of the possible side effects of aspartame is that in some people the brain can confuse aspartame as real sugar and when it’s ingested, it will cause the body to trigger an insulin response. The problem with this is that when your body releases insulin your body goes from fat burning mode into fat storing mode. So if you are one of the unfortunate people that this happens to, drinking diet soda could be spiking your insulin levels directly affecting how your body burns fat. The only real way to be certain if this is the case for you is to get a blood glucose meter and monitor your blood sugar levels after consuming diet soda. If the levels go up then your body is having a negative response to the aspartame and inducing an insulin response.
Increased Hunger & Sugar Cravings
The next side effect of drinking diet soda is that it can cause you to experience hunger and sugar cravings. Since artificial sweeteners can be up to 200x sweeter than regular sugar, your body can become addicted to it causing cravings and even detox symptoms. So even though these artificial sweeteners are either 0 calorie or very low calorie, then can have some serious unwanted side effects that can indirectly affect your weight loss efforts. It’s kind of like eating a potato chip. Once you pop, you can’t stop. Drinking diet soda can leave you hungry and craving other foods and sweets in the process.
Increased Bloating & Water Retention
The third side effect of drinking diet soda is that it can cause you to retain water which will leave you feeling bloated. Yes, I know that water gain is not fat gain but holding too much water can have some serious negative side effects on your body. Consistently holding too much water can cause difficulty breathing, skin wounds, chest pain ,low sodium levels, and even high blood pressure. All of the extra water can put an extra strain on your organs including your heart, kidneys, and the liver. If your body is constantly under extra stress it will not perform its functions at optimal levels. If you body is not functioning properly it will most definitely have a hard time losing weight.
One thing that I would like to make clear is that not all diet sodas are created equal. The ones that contain aspartame are especially bad and you should try to avoid them at all costs. Especially if you’re trying to lose weight. If you’re looking to satisfy that sweet tooth try to find beverages sweetened with Stevia, for Stevia is a much healthier option. The next on the list would be sucralose or Splenda and finally sugar alcohols. While these would be healthier options, it would still be wise to limit your intake and consume them in moderation. Just because a beverage has 0 calories doesn’t mean that it can’t have a negative effect on the body. It maybe just the reason that you’re struggling to lose those extra pounds. I hope that you found this information to be useful and somewhat informative. Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!