As I put together the first version of my Fighter’s Diet, one of the things I looked at was my consumption of diet cola. I drank a fair bit of it. It had zero calories, so conventional “calories in – calories out” logic says it shouldn’t hurt. It has zero carbs, so Dr. Atkins says it’s OK too. However, Robb Wolf’s Paleo Diet book and Mike Dolce’s writing both made me take a hard look at some of the really artificial things I was ingesting.
In looking around at the research on diet soda, it’s hard to find a smoking gun. In some sense, I think the impacts this stuff has on your body is so complex that it’s hard to lock up the total impact in just one study. However, there appears to be a huge amount of evidence mounting against this stuff. Here is some of what I found
Diet soda is associated with weight gain. There are still questions about the mechanics of this — does it bind to the same receptors as sugar and mess with your blood glucose? That being said, there is now study after study that shows this. Here are some examples:
- A 2005 University of Texas study showed that people drinking two or more diet sodas per day were 57% more likely to be obese
- A long-term study of diet soda drinkers by the American Diabetes Association showed they 70% greater increase in waist circumference than non-users. Worse yet, those who drank two or more cans per day had a whopping 500% increase!
- Another study shows that diet soda drinkers are 34% more likely to develop metabolic syndrome
More Scary Stuff
- Increased risk of stroke
- It might cause brain tumors,dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, memory loss, and mood changes
- It reduces kidney function
- Reduces bone density
Set all this stuff aside and then there is the question of how much caffeine do you want to be drinking? Managing cortisol levels and getting sleep has become an important part of my program. If I’m drinking a caffeinated beverage with every meal (which I used to do) how is that going to mess with my sleep patterns?
So, that covers a lot of the downside. So, what’s the good side? Well, it doesn’t have sugar. That’s good! However, there’s another good no sugar option: Water! It’s cheaper, it’s easily available and its tasty (once you get your taste buds detoxed for a few days). Contrary to what we see above, water has a pretty darn good reputation in the research! How many useful nutrients are you getting out of your diet soda? Yeah, zero! That’s how many. Maybe that’s why Coke calls their new diet flavor Coke Zero!