Diet Soda Doesn’t Help You Lose Weight

Sales of diet soda beverages is the only number on the decline

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Diet soda is falling out of favor. According to new research from Wells Fargo, low-calorie and zero-calorie soda sales slipped about 7% over the past year. Regular soda has fallen just over 2%.

The reason remains a mystery, but perhaps folks are realizing that the benefits of drinking diet soda are just not there. At least, if you’re trying to shed pounds.

Several studies in the past couple of years have torn holes in the theory that zero-calorie sodas mean zero weight gain. Indeed, research presented at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Scientific Sessions in 2011 showed the opposite is true—diet sodas can actually contribute to weight gain.

(MORE: Studies: Why Diet Sodas Are No Benefit to Dieters)

How? There are a few theories. First, scientists speculate that artificial sweeteners fool more than just your palate; they also fool your brain. When you taste something sweet, your body naturally expects a calorie-load that diet beverages don’t deliver. As a reaction, the metabolic system may start converting the sugar that’s already circulating in the blood into fat, on the assumption that more has just come in that can be used as energy. In the alternative, the body may go in the other direction, burning though the circulating sugar so that the incoming soda doesn’t leave you with too much. But since the soda has no sugar at all, you wind up with a net loss—which may lead to a craving for candy or some other high-sugar snack.

It’s also possible that the lack of calories causes diet-soda drinkers to overeat later for psychological reasons. They either feel unsatisfied and eat more to make up for it, or they think they saved on calories earlier by opting for diet soda—a handy justification for eating more.

The plunging sales numbers may suggest that consumers are catching wise to all of this. The solution: it’s better to kick the soda habit and stick to water.

6 comments
JohnGDunganSr
JohnGDunganSr

Maybe it finally sank in to folks that the only people buying diet sodas are overweight, and it is the same people who have been buying that stuff for all these years, with no weight loss...?

AdsaAsdads
AdsaAsdads

You lose weight by going on a calorie deficit. people drink diet sodas because they can get a soda taste and its less calories. if you start snacking on high calorie things and go over the limit of what you're suppose to eat in a day, your going to gain weight regardless of whether you swallowed that soda or not.

MaureenBeach
MaureenBeach

Low- and no-calorie sweeteners have been proven to be safe and an effective tool for weight management, all based on decades of scientific research as well as the support of regulatory agencies around the globe.

Our member companies continue to broaden their portfolios to include a wide variety of product choices, portion sizes and calorie counts to meet the individual needs of consumers. Beyond soft drinks, our companies also offer ready-to-drink teas and coffees, water, sports drinks, juices and more.

ellensrd
ellensrd

Who knows why soft drink sales have been slipping lately, but I don’t think a sales statistic should be used as a springboard to make completely unwarranted – and unproven -- claims about diet sodas and weight gain. As a registered dietitian who works closely with the Calorie Control Council, I’ve looked at the research on this topic. For example, in a 2012 review of dozens of studies, University of Toronto scientists concluded: “… there is no evidence that [low-calorie sweeteners] can be claimed to be a cause of higher body weights in adults.”

DarrenHopper1
DarrenHopper1

I think the energy drink "craze" may also have something to do with the declining numbers for soda. I know I've been drinking a lot more energy drinks in the last year than ever before.