Do Diet Sodas Make You Gain Weight?

Surely we don’t have to ask the question “Do diet sodas make you gain weight?” How often do we see an advert for a diet coke, diet pepsi, diet soda and it makes the claim ‘no sugar, no calories’ and you think, great this will help a long way towards my diet regime.  I can have as many diet drinks as I want and I won’t put on any weight.  There’s no calories in diet drinks so no calories means no weight, doesn’t it?

Think again

If your diet drink says no calories, then the sweetness that it has to have, to make it pallatable to you, will likely be artificial.  Now here’s the rub.  Are artificial sweeteners safe to consume, especially if consumed in quite high quantities?  If you are drinking diet sodas day in and day out and eating foods that have sweeteners added to them by the food manufacturers, will you have side effects?

Diet Soda Side Effects – The Evidence

There does seem to be a lot of research done regarding the safety of sweeteners, especially aspartame.  But it would appear, on the face of it, that definitive proof of the dangers of sweeteners has not been found… yet.    There does, however seem to be a ‘smoking gun’!

aspartameIn a review by Humphries, Pretorius and Naudé of the University of Pretoria¹, they concluded that aspartame disturbs many processes including compromising of enzymatic reactions, depleting ATP stores in the cells, damaging mitochondria, damaging cellular walls making them more permeable and compromising the blood brain barrier (BBB), oxidative stress and neuro degeneration.  This all sounds very serious and upon reading it, most people would stop consuming diet sodas immediately!

Here’s some more information given by Dr. Edward Group:

“Aspartame is an NMDA receptor antagonist, which means that it inhibits the release of neurotransmitters that cause pain within the body. NMDA receptor antagonists are often used as a form of anesthesia for animals, but not on humans due to the fact that they often cause brain damage in rodents. The possible side effects of aspartame on humans include headaches, brain tumors, brain lesions, and lymphoma”

Stevia rebaudiana
Stevia rebaudiana flowers

Stevia is a sweetener using the plant known as ‘Stevia rebaudiana’  and until now, it has had a reasonably good press.  There appears to be no proven adverse effects from using this natural sweetener, as yet.

I have personally had adverse affects from using aspartame though, with respect to my eyes.  I know if I have inadvertently consumed it, because my eyes react by becoming extremely itchy and irritated.  As long as I keep away from aspartame, I have no trouble with my eyes.  My mum also had this reaction.  She loved yoghurts but if she ate any with aspartame in them, her eyes would react the same way.

I must admit that I’m not in favour of sweeteners.   I do think they could be detrimental to health, but proof positive is necessary for the powers that be to be forced to take action. I do advocate though, only consuming natural foods.  If anything is man-made, I tend to aminosweetsteer clear of it.  That being said, aspartame is actually made from two naturally occuring amino acids, but the resulting dipeptide when aspartic acid and phenylalanine are put together, is not a naturally occuring molecule.  Aspartame is not naturally found in food plants or animals, including humans.  The change of name, image right, was a good tactic by the manufacturer, playing on the word ‘amino’ trying to convince the consumer it’s healthy!

Aspartame is used in more than 6,000 diet and low calorie food products under such brands as NutraSweet®, Equal®, and Tropicana Slim®.  So as well as being in many diet sodas, it is prevalent in a number of foods, some of which we probably don’t even realise have aspartame in them!

So What’s Wrong With That?

The problem with aspartame, is that it appears to be causing a dependency, especially when it comes to diet sodas.  Along with caffeine, aspartame seems to be the key ingredient associated with addiction from drinking diet coke and other sugar free sodas.

camel drinking cokeAre You Addicted to Diet Sodas?

When we consume aspartame or other artificial sweeteners, the brain considers it is getting an influx of sugar for glucose production for the body.  When this doesn’t happen, you start to crave sugar because the body is asking for the fuel which  was promised by way of the sweetness that was consumed.  With the fuel missing, the craving starts to entice you to take in more sugar and/or carbohydrates.  This is how you get addicted.  Caffeine, a psychostimulant and aspartame, which affects dopamine production, increases addictive behaviour.  That could mean though, that ALL sweeteners will cause some kind of addiction, including a so called benign one like Stevia.  Perhaps the problem is more to do with the caffeine?

I can stop whenever I want to!

This is the stock answer of an alcoholic who has not accepted that he/she is addicted to alcohol.  How about trying to stop drinking diet sodas and see how you get on.  If you’re not addicted, you should be able to stop drinking them for a couple of weeks, no problem. How about taking the 30 day challenge?

30 day challengeDiet coke withdrawal symptoms

So you’ve taken the challenge, but what’s this?  I’m feeling very unwell.  I’ve not had a diet soda for a couple of days and I feel awful.  I have a thumping headache, I’m irritable and uptight.  My joints ache, perhaps I’ve got the flu?  I can’t think straight or concentrate and I’m moody and depressed…   No, you haven’t got the flu, what you’ve got is withdrawal symptoms from a lack of caffeine and aspartame.  If you do drink caffeinated coffee or tea whilst abstaining from diet sodas, you will at least forego some of the side effects from the caffeine deprivation.

Diet sodas will not help you lose weight!

So why was it you were drinking diet sodas in the first place?  Oh yes, it was to help you with your fitness regime and dropping some of that weight which you have been desperately trying to lose for heaven knows how long.  Well, drinking diet sodas will not help you lose weight.  All it will do is drain your enthusiasm and ruin your determination.  The cravings you will have from consuming diet sodas and other diet foods will be overwhelming.  Take it from me,  it’s not you, it’s what you are drinking and eating.

Magnesium MiracleBig Pharma and your health

Start now and kick the habit of diet sodas.  Ok, so they have yet to prove categorically that aspartame is harmful to you but how about just using your common sense.  Does it make sense to you, to consume something that hasn’t been produced naturally and is not a nutrient that you body needs.  Something that is man-made and something that earns millions of dollars for the company that produces it.  Pharmaceutical companies are like any other.  They are in business to make a profit.  Your welfare is supposedly their concern but when push comes to shove, it’s the bucks that count.

Here’s another little paragraph from Dr Carolyn Dean’s famous book ‘The Magnesium Miracle’

“Aspartate is one of three components of aspartame, a sugar substitute. In higher concentrations as food additives, these chemicals constantly stimulate brain cells and can cause them to undergo a process of cell death known as excitotoxicity – the cells are excited to death.”

Anything else wrong with our sodas?

Well, according to many yes there is.  To make us even more anxious about drinking diet coke and other colas and sodas, what about the cans they come in?  Evidently they are processed with Bisphenol (BPA) using the compound to coat the inside of the cans to prevent aluminium contamination.  BPA is also used in the manufacture of plastic bottles such as is used for bottled water.  Bisphenols A (BPA) and S (BPS) are endocrine disruptors. These are chemicals that can interfere with the hormonal system in mammals, causing cancerous tumors, birth defects and other developmental disorders.

caramel color in colasAnd what about other ingredients in our sodas?

In the US, you may notice that diet sodas using aspartame, have a warning on their packaging ie. ‘not for phenylketonurics’ on it.  All food and drink in Europe with aspartame in it, has a warning notice – ‘contains a source of phenylalanine’.  This warning is for those who may have the inherited disease of Phenylketonuria (PKU).  PKU is also known as “phenylalanine hydroxylase deficiency”  and the sufferer of this condition has to avoid phenylalanine at all costs due to possible mental issues.  Many who have this affliction can end up with mental disorders, unless it is caught at a very early age.

The other possible problem, specific to colas, is the ‘caramel color’  Below is a list of the two main cola manufacturers, Coca Cola and Pepsi and you will notice both have Caramel Color.

Diet Coke ingredients list – Carbonated Water, Caramel Color, Aspartame, Phosporic Acid, Potassium Benzoate, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Caffeine.

*Diet Pepsi ingredients list – Carbonated Water, Caramel Colour, Aspartame, Phosporic Acid, Potassium Benzoate, Caffeine, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor.

What exactly is Caramel Colour?

Well whatever it is, it’s not anything like real caramel.  Some kinds of artificial colouring contain a potential carcinogenic, a chemical known as 4-methylimidazole or 4-MEI.  California’s Proposition 65 Law states that exposure to the public of any food or beverage with more than 29 micrograms of 4-MEI has to carry a health warning.  A 12oz can of Pepsi One for instance has more than 29 micrograms of 4-MEI in it.

Pepsi’s Plans

*As of the summer of 2015 Pepsi declared that they will be replacing aspartame with thesplenda  artificial sweetener, Splenda (sucralose).   So what do the critics say about Splenda?   An eminent medic Dr Mercola says “Splenda: The ‘other’ sweetener that’s made from sugar, but is closer to DDT”
(Image is a maltodextrin carrier for sucralose)


PepsiCo is to reintroduce aspartame sweetened Diet Pepsi.  Now, PepsiCo says, the Diet Pepsi with aspartame will be carried in U.S. stores along with the sucralose version.  PepsiCo has made an about-face, they say due to customer demand!  

Consumers are getting wise

I think that customers are coming around to the fact that aspartame is most likely detrimental to their health, the evidence is growing and it is this that had reduced sales of all sodas, including the new Diet Pepsi.  Parents are particularly worried about the affect of sodas on their children and so they should be!  I suspect this about turn will do nothing for Pepsi’s profits.  What’s Ab Lincoln’s old saying…Ab Lincoln said

Your comments along with your experiences would be welcome.  Are you addicted?

Ches Power AuthorChes

  1. Ref: Direct and indirect cellular effects of aspartame on the brain. Humphries P1, Pretorius E, Naudé H.
    Eur J Clin Nutr. 2008 Apr;62(4):451-62. Epub 2007 Aug 8.

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Do Diet Sodas Makes You Gain Weight?
Article Name
Do Diet Sodas Makes You Gain Weight?
Diet soda health issues and addiction. What is actually in our diet sodas and the possible health risks from consuming these drinks when they contain aspartame, caffeine and other ingredients.

26 thoughts on “Do Diet Sodas Make You Gain Weight?

  1. Years ago I use to drink Diet Coke and I felt addicted to it. Perhaps it was the Aspartame or some other chemical. I have read bad things about Aspartame, though. It’s crazy that these unhealthy drinks are allowed to be sold, considering they cause so many health problems. Yet cannabis is illegal. It’s all about money, I think. People can grow cannabis themselves, so there is no money in that. But there is money in people buying bottles of soda. Big business wins, everyone else loses.

    1. How right you are Marcus. Money is the root of all evil, as the saying goes and it sure does apply when the big consortiums are involved. Trouble is, when it involves health, the consequences can be deadly. Thanks for your comments.

  2. Great and needed information, in my opinion! I personally have not had soda in years, and I just drink water. I believe in eating my calories, not drinking them. People do not realize the real problems that may occur with diet soda, and how it does affect the brain. In my pharmacology class, the professor explained that diet soda is often like a street drug that people take because it does alter the brain. Reading about the endocrine disruptors was very interesting. I wonder since diet soda have a lot of artificial ingredients, if that plays a role in some health issues that have recently developed. I also believe there is no point in drinking them to lose weight because that is simply not the case. People see no sugar and get excited, but you really drug deep and gave the truth to diet soda.

    1. Thank you for your comments Arturo. I’m gratified that you’ve not drunk sodas for years and I hope you’re also encouraging your family to keep off them too. Aspartame has been researched and the concensus of opinion is that it does affect the brain detrimentally. Unfortunately, Big Pharma takes no notice of this and the FDA has no clout to ban this poison. I think you are right about all the unnatural ingredients playing a role in our modern health issues. It is interesting to note that some of these conditions have come about reasonably recently, possibly in unison with our crappy junk diet! Ches

  3. GREAT reasons to not drink soda period. We do not have any sodas in our house. I only buy water, juice and milk. Sometimes when we go out to eat, we will have soda. This post should be a wake up call for a lot of people. Too many people today consuming so much soda and it’s so unhealthy.

    1. Thanks Matt’s Mom for reading the post and your comments and input. Yes, if we stopped drinking sodas, we would be a much healthier population! Ches

  4. I personally don’t like the taste of diet soda so I won’t drink it unless I am super thirsty and Inhave no other options. Thank god because this stuff sounds lethal. Especially the part where you mentioned how it damages our body. If this is the case then our body will be able to even clear our toxins we normally can do like urea and stuff. I am just guessing though. Thank you for the information

  5. Thanks for this article. It displays the harsh reality of soda pop and the toll it can have on people if they continue to have them as part of their diet. I had no idea what the caramel colour was or let alone ever considered to look into it but the fact that more 4-MEI than is allowed and classified as a warning scares me. Do you think anything is going to happen to the companies if this continues or are we going to watch our pop drinkers wither away slowly?

    1. Hello Brandon and thanks for reading the article. Yes, the 4-MEI is something that most people know little about and of course, this allows the manufacturers to get away with it. We must always remember that these organisations are just businesses. They are working for profits first. People’s welfare from consuming their goods is secondary. We must all be more diligent and speak out otherwise nothing will be done. If we’re suspicious about a product, we mustn’t buy it. That’s the only way to get them to change. Also, these large organisations like Big Pharma and the FDA are very powerful and control much of our medical profession. The only way is to hit them is in the wallet! Thanks for your comments and imput and good health to you and yours. Ches

  6. Hi Ches,

    Wow! I never realized about the cans that the sodas come in. I personally don’t drink or eat anything that’s processed anymore since I went raw vegan. But I never thought about the cans themselves having BPA in them.

    I’m glad I came across this article. No wonder there’s so much cancer running rampant, and the government allows this stuff to be produced and sold. Jeez. It seems like they are purposely killing off people. I hope this article reaches more people. I’m gonna share it. Thank you so much for this great article!


    1. Hi Jeanette and thanks for your input and comments. I’m pleased you’re smart enough to reject all that’s processed. Being suspicious of the agenda of Big Pharma, Big Agra, the FDA and all other such organisations is probably sensible too. It certainly beggars belief when those we’re supposed to trust are actually producing produce which are damaging at least and lethal at worst. The problem, as always, is profits and greed. Thanks for sharing the article. Ches

  7. I’m not a fan of soda and more so of diet sodas or diet anything. I know that diet or light means that “stuff” has been added to replace what has been removed. Which doesn’t always mean, the fat.

    Personally I believe the best way to be as healthy as possible is to eat and drink as natural as possible. I’m seriously considering making everything from scratch myself, including ketchup. I want to be healthy and I want my family to be healthy. There’s no price tag for the cost of our health!

    Thanks for this great article. I learned a lot! Wish you had a share button because I would share the heck out of your articles!!


    1. Hi Liz, you really seem to be on the ball with you and your family’s health. It’s so good to know that people are starting to take their health into their own hands. A great idea to make everything from scratch down to your ketchup which is a healthy food if you make it yourself from fresh tomatoes. As for a share button, I’m afraid I’m rather social media challenged! I really will have to find out how to do it! Thanks for your positive comments and good health to you and yours. Ches

  8. I have always thought that Diet sodas actually making you gain weight was a total myth but deep down I somewhat still believed it. Thanks for the interesting read that goes into how much of it is myth and how much of it is real. The addiction part is really fascinating and I wouldn’t be surprised if your brain made you believe this soda was good for you!

    1. Hi there Eric and thanks for reading the blog. I hope that you are now steering clear of diet sodas or at least cutting them down. Yes, the addiction part is quite worrying and I wonder how many youngsters are on the path to being hooked on diet sodas and will be drinking them through their adult lives! Please make sure your children, if and when you have any, don’t go down this path. Good health to you and yours, Ches

  9. Your right, I never believed that myth that diet soda was good for you. It tastes horrible for one and still has the same bad iridescence as original soda. I had no idea that diet soda was addictive thou. I bet soda companies knew this fact.

    Thanks for writing such an informative article.

    1. Hi Merceadez and thanks for reading the post. Most people don’t realise when they are addicted until they try to stop drinking it. The side effects will actually encourage them to renew the habit and of course, those companies that develop and produce the drinks know their products inside out. But there, they are just a company trying to make as much profit as possible, at the expense of the poor consumer as usual! Ches

  10. Great article on Diet Sodas. I actually cant stand them. I really dont drink any soda with the exceptional sprite, maybe once every other month. I really just dont like them. I always cringe when I see people drinking the diet soda like it is water. I wonder how many people dont really realize what they are putting into their bodies.
    Thanks again for the great write up.

    1. Hi there Marc and thanks for reading the post. Thank goodness someone is sensible enough to know how bad these drinks are for you. It’s a bonus if you don’t actually like them. I suspect you’re a very healthy person, I sincerely hope so. If you have any niggling problems like muscle spasms, migraines, eye twitches, back pain, lactic acid buildup after exercise etc., have a look at this page, it will give you a clue to a possible problem: Best wishes and good health, Ches

  11. I have heard that diet sodas can be bad for us because of the poor substitutes that are bad for us, so I always stick to normal sodas. Although they aren’t good for us either if we consume too many! LOL.

    I only drink one small can of Soda a day on my lunch breaks, and luckily I don’t suffer from withdrawal symptoms on my days off. So I manage to keep the addiction under control.

    I have learned about some great insights here in to diet sodas, so thank you very much for the knowledge 🙂


  12. Hi Chessie
    This is a rare, elaborate and interesting post about Diet Coke. Well done!
    I did not know it does not help with weightloss. I use Stevia.


    1. Thanks Daniella, It certainly is an eye opener isn’t it. You just don’t know what they’re putting in your food/drink nowadays, or what they’re using to put your food/drinks into!! Best wishes to you, Ches

  13. Thank you for this great article. You elaborated well how diet soda is dangerous for our health. Unfortunately, people are not aware of this. They just think about calories and forget about sweeteners that they intake with this kind of drink and could be harmful to our health.
    I didn’t know that caramel colour is also bad for our health. Thank you for an eye-opener. I will definitely stay away from diet sodas.

    1. Thanks Tamara for reading the post. I’m very gratified to learn that you will give up diet sodas and now you know what they can do, perhaps you can spread the word to your friends and family. Good health and good luck to you. Ches

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