Fact or Myth: Does Diet Soda Help You Lose Weight or Gain Weight?

Diet soda helps you stay thin.

Fact or Myth?

This is a MYTH.

Not only will diet soda not help you lose weight, it may do just the opposite! A growing number of studies link the consumption of diet soda and weight gain. CBS News recently reported this in 2009. Sharon Fowler, an epidemiologist from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, spoke about her research on this trend, saying, “What we saw was that the more diet sodas a person drinks, the more weight they were likely to gain.” diet soda and weight gain

In another study at Purdue University, rats that were fed regular feed and yogurt sweetened with no-calorie saccharin took in more total calories and gained more weight than rats fed regular feed and yogurt sweetened with sugar. Researchers think that reduced-calorie sweeteners — like saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose — may over time condition the body to stop associating sweetness with calories. That interferes with the body’s ability to accurately assess caloric intake. This disruption may, in turn, lead to overeating, they note.

All in all, a growing number of studies link diet soda consumption with weight gain:

  • The University of Texas study cited above involved 1,550 people and found that nearly all the obesity risk from soft drinks came from diet soft drinks. There was 41% higher risk of obesity for each can of diet soda consumed each day.
  • The Framingham Heart Study involved nearly 9,000 people and showed that soda drinkers were at 48% higher risk for metabolic syndrome (e.g. overweight, elevated blood sugar levels etc.), with no significant difference between those taking diet and regular soda.
  • A University of Minnesota study involving 9,500 people found that those who drank one can of diet soda per day had 34% higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome compared with those who drank none.
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