When speaking to people about weight loss, always the subject of soft drink, pop or soda gets a mention. To avoid confusion in this article I will refer to these drinks as soda.
Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock or you simply have rocks in your head, you know that drinking soda will hamper your weight loss efforts.
Bad for your teeth, bad for your general well being and really bad for the weight.
To exemplify the point, an ordinary 355ml can of soda contains 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar! That is a enormous amount of sugar!
Would you eat that much sugar by option? The answer I hope, would be no. The truth is, we could slam down a can of soda in under 5 minutes and in doing so are drinking 9 teaspoons of sugar.
Common sense dictates this is an unhealthy practice and if attempting to lose weight and must be avoided at all costs.
Are They Really Bad For You?
So what about diet soda? Could they be consumed when you want to lose weight?
As most people would do when attempting to answer questions like this, we will ‘Google’ it. Give it a try! I did and got about 2 million search results ranging from diet sodas will make you fat, to diet sodas have no effect at all on weight loss.
So where does that leave the average person who is trying to shed weight? Confused? You Bet!
At a fundamental level they seem benign to our efforts to lose weight, after all it has zero calories and zero sugar. Now, fundamentally weight loss is a very simple equation of a individual using more calories than consumed, forcing your body to burn stored energy sources like fat, which causes weight loss.
In terms of how they affect weight loss, theoretically they ought to be OK since they contain no sugar or calories. Unfortunately not everything is life is that straight forward. When looking at the study it becomes even more confusing, as many studies website diet soda as a cause of weight gain whilst others say diet soda will aid weight loss.
Without going into the merits of each one these studies (some of which don’t even charge their sources), it’s safe to say an argument could be mounted on each side. It appears, as with plenty of health and fitness related topics, opinions can be divided.
Possibly the Most reputable and convincing study that I found was in the San Antonio Heart Study, where there was a direct correlation between the amount of diet soda consumed and an increased chance of weight gain:
Why is Diet Soda Bad For You?
“On average, for each diet soda our participants drank daily, they were 65 percent more likely to become overweight during the next seven to eight years, and 41 percent more likely to become obese,” said Sharon Fowler, M.P.H., faculty associate in the division of clinical epidemiology in the Health Science Center’s department of medicine.”
What the study does not tell you is why there’s a correlation, in fact the causation for your weight gain is unclear.
In trying to interpret the results Fowler hypothesizes that: “It might be that normal-weight men and women in our research whose weight was increasing had switched to diet soda in an attempt to stop their weight gain,” she said. “That is a very real possibility. Another is that drinking soda, either diet or regular, is part of a lifelong ‘Obey your thirst’ nutritional routine that sets up someone for weight gain later in life.
But Fowler pointed out whenever somebody is drinking them, he or she’s drinking it to the exclusion of healthier alternatives like water, milk, or juice. “Can you think of one good thing that comes from a diet soda can on your body? You are giving yourself the taste of nourishment without any at all, so it might be that you seek it from other foods, such as high-calorie desserts,” she said. “Even though you fool your tongue, you do not fool your brain. It is not satisfied. What our investigations indicate for certain is that drinking them will not protect someone from the health impacts of the remainder of his or her lifestyle.”
Personally I believe the study, which was conducted over an extended time period, involved a wide range of participants within the community. These participants bring with them a range of factors, that weren’t measured by the analysis, which could have influenced their weight gain. Factors such as individual health, genetics, Critter Removal Companies, wealth, employment, stress and a assortment of other factors all could have influenced the participants weight gain, not the diet soda alone.
Regardless of the reason why, the research still indicates that drinking diet soda leads to weight gain. Is it conclusive? No! Is it something you should take into account when attempting to lose weight? Definitely?
Fundamentally my main issue with diet soda is, you don’t understand what the hell is in it. It tastes fine and is refreshing, but in it’s rawest form it is a bunch of chemicals that have been carefully blended to make a drink that has absolutely no nutritional value.
Common sense tells us that placing unnatural chemicals in our body on a regular basis is not a healthy practice. Imagine what it is doing to your insides!
Diet versions of sodas are a better option if you are attempting to drop weight, however it is still unnatural and studies are showing that, whilst we aren’t sure why, people are still gaining weight intensive diet soda.
Does that mean that a can of diet soda every now and then will derail your weight loss program? No. But what it does mean is, if you are drinking diet pop everyday, thinking that you are choosing the healthier option, you’re mistaken. You are consuming far too many substances for my liking.
In an ideal world I should be telling you to not drink soda all together. Why? Because I am not perfect, I still enjoy a social drink and that I choose to use diet soda as my mixer. I consider diet soda to be the lesser of the two evils.
What I can say, is that I drink diet soda during the day. If you’re drinking diet soda regular look at cutting back, especially if you are drinking it to quench your thirst.