Diet Soda and Your Metabolism

Ever felt like having a soda, but didn’t want to indulge in all the sugars? So you turn to a Diet Soda instead. Thinking you are doing yourself a favor by going with the diet instead of the regular soda?  Thinking you are avoiding all the sugars, so you are being healthier? People often think “how do you lose weight?” Eat low fat foods and less bad foods, and then substitute diet drinks for sugary drinks, right? No, wrong.  Counting calories is what we have been taught is the way to lose weight and be healthier.  But these ideas are false.

We are told that dieting and weight loss is all about making better choices. 


If we all made better personal choices then we could stop obesity and the diabetes epidemic.  But in truth, what we are not told is that Diet soda can actually make people gain weight and can actually cause Type 2 Diabetes. 

How does that happen? That’s certainly not what soda distributors want us to believe, when they are highlighting their efforts to fight obesity through the production, distribution and encouragement of drinking diet soda.  Companies proudly promote the fact that they have low or no calorie drinks and that they cut sugar out of their soda by 90 percent.


If losing weight, and being healthy, were all about the calories, then consuming diet drinks would seem like a good idea.  But is it a good idea?  In fact, it may be worse than having us all drink regular soda.


Diet Soda, Artificial Sweeteners, and Metabolism

Here is how weight gain, fat retention and slower metabolism, are actually possible with drinking Diet Soda.

  • 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.
  • Diet Sodas trick your metabolism into thinking sugar is on its way. This causes your body to pump out insulin, the fat storage hormone, which causes more belly fat.
  • It also confuses and slows your metabolism down, so you burn less calories every day.
  • It makes you hungrier and crave even more sugar and starchy carbs like bread and pasta.
  • In animal studies done with rats, the rats that consumed artificial sweeteners actually ate more, their metabolism slowed, and they put on 14 percent more body fat in just two weeks – EVEN eating less calories.
  • In many different population studies, there has been shown to be a whopping 200 percent increased risk of obesi ty in diet soda drinkers.

Recent research has shown that diet soda certainly affects the metabolism, but not in a positive way.  Scientists have proven that diet soda causes the metabolism to slow down so tremendously because the body becomes confused and does not process sugar correctly.  It has been proven that diet soda may also affect hormone levels and can ultimately increase the likelihood of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndromes and cardiovascular disease. 


Insulin and Diet Soda

Diet Soda confuses our brains.

When a person consumes a zero-calorie artificial sweetener, it’s telling the brain, “I am eating sweet, so expect sugar and calories.” However, no sugar and calories come.  This then can cause insulin spikes in the body.


How Insulin Works

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas when blood sugar or glucose levels rise. Insulin maintains glucose levels in the blood and is chiefly responsive to its fluctuations only in the bloodstream. When insulin is released, cells receive a signal that causes the uptake of glucose into the cells and out of the bloodstream. Glucose is then stored for energy use when needed. The entire process is a “building” phase, which also promotes fat storage.


When Diet Soda is consumed, and insulin levels spike in the body, fat storage is ultimately the result.


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”. “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.”


Diet soda and Women   

Diet Soda consumption has also been associated with lower bone mineral density in women, and children, and one notable study focused specifically on the effects of diet soda on bone health. The authors stated that this research was sparked by the observation that diet soda drinking behaviors are often different than regular (sugar-sweetened) soda drinking behaviors. Women often use diet sodas in an effort to avoid weight gain, either to stave off hunger between meals or as a replacement for calorie-containing beverages. Many women drink over 20 diet sodas per week.


These researchers discovered that parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentrations rise strongly following diet soda consumption. The job of this hormone is to increase blood calcium when it starts to get too low, by stimulating bone breakdown. As a result, calcium is removed from bone.


In the study, women aged 18-40 were given 24 ounces of either diet soda or water on two consecutive days, and urinary calcium content was measured for three hours. Women who drank diet soda did indeed excrete more calcium in their urine compared to women who drank water.   The authors concluded that this calcium loss may underlie the observed connection between diet soda drinking and low bone mineral density.


Give up that Diet Soda

Ultimately, Diet and Regular Soda are the leading cause of the onset of type II diabetes in middle aged over-weight Americans and most experts agree that carbonated, flavored, sugar-filled or diet beverages are not good for your health. While regular and diet sodas are both borderline dangerous, diet drinks seem to pose a much greater risk to the body

In conclusion, drink water… and lots of it. If you aren’t drinking 8, 8 oz. glasses a day, you are only hurting yourself. Today is the day to make a change. 


Would you like more information?
 My friend James over at Health Style Hub recently finished building an online tool that calculates BMI, BMR, and TEE. His article is one of the best I’ve ever read! His information is comprehensive, updated, and convenient. You can read more HERE

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