Is Diet Pop Bad For You?

is diet pop bad for youWhen it comes to nutrition, I know I talk a lot about tracking what you eat and counting calories, etc.  So that generally leads to the question, is diet pop bad for you?  It has zero calories so it doesn’t throw off your macros, but does that mean it’s ok?  Many people think that because there are no calories that it doesn’t affect them at all.  I can totally see that line of thinking, but there are a few reasons why I would stay away from it that you should be aware of if you’re wondering about this topic.

Is Diet Pop Bad For You – Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are the reason that diet pop has no calories.  Diet pop doesn’t have sugar in it because that would have calories, so most use aspartame to make the drink sweet.  So what’s the deal with aspartame?  Does it automatically make diet pop bad for you?  I think so, and for a couple reasons.

Tricks the brain – When you eat or drink something very sweet, your brain is expecting a large calorie meal to accompany it, since most of the time that’s what happens.  Typically if you’re eating sweets, you’re also eating calories.  So since diet pop is very sweet but contains no calories, your body starts to crave some high calorie foods.  And many people will give in to those cravings and satisfy them with some unhealthy choices.  Also, your sense of taste gets thrown off a bit, and sweet foods do not taste as sweet anymore.  This can lead to you eating sweeter and sweeter foods to satisfy your cravings, which typically have more calories and are worse for your diet.

Is Diet Pop Bad For You – Biological Response

When thinking about the question is diet pop bad for you, it’s important to look at how your body responds as well.  Aspartame also causes several biological responses, which tend to have negative health effects.

Spikes insulin levels – The only time you want to spike your insulin levels is after very intense workouts to help your muscles recover.  Otherwise spiking your insulin levels can be very bad for your health and for weight loss, and diet pop as has been shown to spike your insulin levels.  This can lead to increased food cravings and diabetes as well.  It promotes glucose being stored in the body as fat too.  So basically, your body responds very negatively to diet pop.

Increased risk of cancer, vision problems, etc. – Studies have shown that increased levels of aspartame can have a whole host of other risk factors for things like cancer, psychological problems, vision problems and brain problems due to how aspartame is broken down in your body.  Granted many of these issues come with a high level of aspartame consumption, but many people will drink several cans worth of diet pop every single day

Is Diet Pop Bad For You – Acidity

 Following along the lines of biological responses, diet pop also negatively affects your health because it is very acidic.  

Balancing your pH –  As you could guess, diet pop is very acidic.  This causes your body to try to balance out its pH level.  And how does it do that?  It has to take stored minerals, one of the main ones being calcium, from your body to neutralize the acid.  It is never good when your body is taking stored calcium in this way.  That means it’s taking calcium away from your bones, which in the long run can cause major problems, like osteoporosis.  So in a big way, diet pop is bad for your bones.

Is Diet Pop Bad For You – Bottom Line

When I get asked, is diet pop bad for you? my answer is yes, it is bad for you!  Will it kill you if you have it occasionally?  No, but if you make a habit out of drinking diet pop frequently, then you will start to see more and more of the negative side effects.  I’ll admit I do have the occasional pop, but it’s very infrequent.  Many people try to justify it because there are no calories, but that’s just one aspect of diet pop, and there are much better calorie free options out there.  I would drink water and tea for the most part if you’re looking to get healthy, lose some weight and not experience any of these negative side effects.  So again, my bottom line is that yes, diet pop is bad for you.

4 comments
Susan
Susan

Thanks for the great info and suggestions!

Devin
Devin

Seems like a lot of protein powders have artificial sweeteners too... Do you think those kinds should be avoided?

Coach Tom
Coach Tom

You're right that many of them do have artificial sweeteners. I do try to avoid them myself. I personally use Sun Warrior brand for protein powder which is plant based and naturally flavored.

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  1. […] I think it’s pretty obvious that you need to cut pop out.  I would even suggest cutting diet pop.  I know there are no calories, but artificial sweeteners are not good for you either.  If you […]

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