T Nation

Diet beverages


I am basically in love with Diet beverages such as Diet Coke, Diet Snapple, Fresca, etc. For someone who is dieting, is it beneficial to eliminate these as well? I realize they are zero calorie and thus should not hinder any fat/loss program at all (from a scientific standpoint), however, I have also read studies that show the contrary? What’s going on here? Thanks!

why not just drink water?

I don’t know any of the reasons behind it, but diet soda always makes me crave carbs. For that reason I avoid them. Of course, everyone is different.


Yeah man, if you want to optimize your health, get rid of all the sodas all together, diet or not. Aspartame, the main sweetener in diet soda, is a known excitotoxin, and has been linked to numerous neurological and psychological illnesses. The companies have funded research to refute this, but the evidence is very convincing to me. In fact, with the evidence that I have seen, I would think that regular soda might be healthier (as unhealthy as it is).
In addition, some people, myself included have a strange reaction to artificial sweeteners. They make me crave carbs as well. It seems that in some people, the sweet taste of the drink actually triggers a similar release of insulin as if the sweetener was sugar. This leads to hypoglycemia and cravings. It’s kind of like a Pavlov’s dog type of reaction, I think. Again this is not in all people.
The only things that I drink are purified water and juiced green veggies, and I have a lot more energy now and feel a lot better than I ever had before.

It’s individual. If you’re unhappy with your progress or have plateaued, try giving them up for a couple weeks, and see what happens.

Personally, they don’t affect my progress and they act as “treats” that keep my diet clean.



Why not drink water? Because pepsi one tastes so much better, thats why. I drink them and have had no problems gaining or losing weight in the past. People are so quick to jump on somebody and say water, water, water, but is it really gonna make a difference what you drink.

yup, it slows me down by 0%! I drink a ton of diet soda, usually diet rite, but I love diet mountain dew. Usually I also make some green tea/peppermint tea and add tons of splenda w/ice. Water tastes like crap to me, as a boxer I drink a grip, so adding some flavor once in a while(everyday) is beneficial to staying sane.

Da Boxer

I’m with Goldberg and the Boxer. I’ve been known to put down 3 liters of Diet Coke and a gallon of unsweet tea per day. Never had a problem losing weight although I do run to the head a bunch and can’t sleep at night.

thats cool if that has worked for you guys. but when im dieting and trying to get to a low bf% i cut out all unnecessary foods/drinks. if it doesnt benefit me in anyway i stay away from it. plus i have no problem with the taste of water.

Don’t flame me for this as it’s just something that came to mind, but I’ve had lots of people tell me that soft drinks cause dehydration, any truth to that? Any other effects from carbination that should be of concern? Doing search through TMag as we speak but if anyone can remember an article off the top of their head could they gimme the issue number of link?

I’ve noticed positive results when cutting out artificial sweetners from my diet; however, I didn’t make the distinction between sucralose or aspartame. I’m certain about aspartame for me, but not sure about surcrolose. I think next time around I’ll try to use a sucrolose sweetened beverage and see what happens.


Yeah, Coke products are really healthy. ahem

"they are zero calorie and thus should not hinder any fat/loss program at all (from a scientific standpoint), however, I have also read studies that show the contrary? "
Can i ask “what studies?”
As for the diuretic action, this is typically due to the caffeine in alot of drinks. i doubt the carbonation/sodium would have a drastic effecton water levels.
I ahve had bodybuilder go nuts on the diet coke in the last couple of days precomp to dry out, it seemed to work well, for those alittle too soft a week out.

Anything other than water (including our beloved protein drinks) will cause some form of dehydration (even if it is transient). This is because for some period of time there is a greater concentration of substrates outside the cells than inside. This means the osmotic potential is geared toward drawing water out of your cells to dilute the external substrates. Once these substrates enter the cells water will be drawn back in.

The problem with Diet soda’s is that they often contain caffeine which is also a diuretic (ie. dehydrates you).

I chose to avoid everything other than water. But that’s just me. Do what works for you.

Some things:

  1. You are still supporting some of the most awful companies on the planet if you drink their ‘diet versions’ of the same stuff that an obese 10 year old is spending 75 cents at 7-11 to get a portion which would exceed two adults t-dawg 2.0 carb requirements for an entire day - and that is for his drink on the way home from school. Same companies that want to exchange funding for product placement within the schools. Basically, the same products that play a big role in why as a nation, we are more fat than in shape, and have a nauseating number of diabetics running around. Do you want to support that company?

2)You are also cultivating more of a sweet tooth than you probably want. Since studies show that tastes are indeed learned and alterable, why give yourself further desire for sweets? Maybe if you took 2 weeks and didn’t drink that stuff, you would crave it less and crave something else more.

  1. Artificial Sweeteners are processed in a manner that the product you get includes tiny amounts of heavy metals residue. You don’t want those inside your body. I’m sure that we are all exposed to them plenty as it is, so getting more of them might not be such a hot idea, especially considering that they tend to stay in the body. However, something like grapefruit pectin has been shown to bind to heavy metals and help ‘cleanse’ the body from them. Will this appear in your physique? Not really… not likely at all… but with all the increased instances of alzheimers and other problems being linked to heavy metals (aluminum chlorohydrate, etc.),and considering a bottle of grapefruit pectin goes a long way for being roughly the same cost as a big bottle of Vitamin C, I’d say to just take that little precaution.

  2. If you crave flavor, their are flavored waters that are no where near as bad for your health, despite being artificially flavored (anyone who has read ‘fast food nation’ knows that those ‘artificial flavors’ are some complex chemistry)

  3. Some people are sensitive to the artificial sweeteners in a very concrete manner - thats an obvious one to consider - if it makes you feel shitty or weird, you shouldn’t be drinking it.

  4. I don’t want to think about where their water supplies come from…

Make up your own mind, but definitely, please keep the first point in mind. Insurance is expensive enough as it is, and supporting these companies is not helping the situation.

If artificial sweeteners worry you, drink the diet rite over diet coke/pepsi… it has sucralose (Splenda) instead of aspartame and the other nasties.

Artificial sweeteners fuck me up. I’ve never been able to drink diet sodas or tolerate substantial amounts of supplement products containing them without getting nauseous and a generally gross feeling about me. I really wish companies would use less.

Tangent time-
Why the fuck does EVERYTHING have to be made sweat? Are peoples’ tastes so simple and coarse now days that they can’t appreciate any flavors other than sweetness? It would seem as if companies use sugar and/or artificial sweeteners in such plentitude not only to appease the lame tastes of their customers, but also to cover up their use increasingly low quality ingredients. While I will concede that some things do taste better sweetened, I think that it is grossly overplayed.

That’s just my opinion; I don’t really care if no one shares it.

“Aspartame, the main sweetener in diet soda, is a known excitotoxin, and has been linked to numerous neurological and psychological illnesses.”

What neurological and psychological illnesses, pray tell?


ND, i think you may have jumped the gun on that one sunshine. our bodies are not regualted in a 0% solution. 6-8% solutuion is kinda the standard.
anything above that with then cause a shift is osmolality

Thanks for the replies people. I am so happy I got such response to my first post here. I am also very happy to have found this forum… finally, a forum with intelligent people who can talk about one of my favorite hobbies. Of my friends, I am the only “bodybuilder” enthusiast so it’s tough for them to relate to the things I care about.

Back to the topic: Regarding Diet beverages, I have 2 main concerns.

  1. Are artificial sweeteners safe? I have read so many conflicting reports regarding this it’s not even funny. I have no idea what to think anymore.

  2. Do artificial sweeteners ruin one’s fat-loss diet? I don’t see why they should, but I have read some websites with quotes along the lines of… “studies have shown that subjects who used diet beverages had no better fat-loss results than those who didn’t. The reason for this is ‘unclear’” So many friggin’ websites say the reason is unclear. WTF. I know that statement can mean just about anything, but if diet beverages can harm my diet, I have no problems eliminating them completely.

I’m not really concerned with it increasing my desire for sweets, because I have a pretty good sense of self control. I drink diet beverages because I get tired of water and I find them to be very refreshing. If it’s the case that they are dangerous when overconsumed or that they may ruin a well designed diet, then I would instantly cease all consumption of them until I am done with my diet phase, and then resume consumption only in moderation.

What do you guys think? Thanks.