T Nation

Diet Soda - Bad For Development?


I have been following a strict diet for over four years now but one of the things I cannot seem to live without is diet soda (pepsi in my case). I drink about 4-5 cans a day and it helps wash away the monotony of the food I am consuming on a daily basis (about 5,200 cals). I feel that since I eat consistently clean, I am "allowed" to cheat with this. I know of a lot of bodybuilders who drink diet soda as if it were the latest liquid test guaranteed to make you a monster.

However, I am always looking to improve so tell me what you think. Common sense tells me water, juice, etc. is better for you, I know that. How is the diet soda affecting my development? Is it hindering my progress? Some thoughts would be appreciated..


I think about that every time I pick up a diet soda, I love diet Dr. Pepper, but try to limit myself to one a day.

You are right, it does wonders psychologically, and your questions are ones that I have asked myself numerous times.


Well, i dont think its hindering you in any sort of way, and the sweetener (aspartame in this case) has been studied over and over with little/no evidence supporting negative side effects. I've read some stuff about phosphoric acid though, and that doesnt seem to be too good for you. Apparently it may reduce bone density due to the removal of calcium from bone into the blood to maintain the proper calcium-phosphorous ratio.

Im not sure how this effects us, as weight training has been shown to improve bone density, but im sure someone more knowledgable in the area will come along to help.



if you are looking for an excuse to drop it the caffiene is dehydrating you and water would be better. this affects me alot because i drink waaaay too much caffiene and when i cut back and hydrate myself better I feel much better in the gym. if you drink enough water though maybe this isnt an issue for you.

then again, caffiene keeps your metabolism kicking. its pretty much my energy systems work.

im not touching an artificial sweetener debate here, because that is what is about to ensue.


I appreciate the feedback bro, sad to say but I think I am looking for an excuse not to drop it. I drink about a gallon of cold water a day but maybe that needs to increase to offset the possible de-hydration.

The caffeine does give me a good kick as you mentioned but a killer head ache on the days I dont drink as much soda. If I do ever stop I know it would have to be a gradual decrease.


Thanks for the feedback. I will read up on the phosphoric acid some more.


I would say that it probably isn't hurting your physique goals, but it also isnt the best habbit in the world. Gradually just try to cut down to 1 or 2 cans a day and replace the rest with water. Use the soda as a reward mechanism instead of just "this is what i drink"


I was drinking about 1-2 (at least) litres of diet coke a day for years and cut it down by first switching to diet ginger beer with a few cans of diet coke then gradually cutting down diet coke alltogether.

Even worse I had a very high coffee consumption. But...as I stopped drinking diet coke I found coffee less appealing and started to drink tea.

I now drink less and less tea and also drink St. John's wort tea. I used to think I couldn't live without diet coke and coffee but I was wrong and I don't miss it.


Good to hear from a fellow addict :slight_smile: Thanks MODOK. Do you happen to have the link to that Berardi article you mentioned?


Good for you Doc, at least one of us got off the soda crack, haha. Wasn't that the best when they introduced the 2 liter bottle in Europe? I remember when I was a kid and my mom first came home with that big ass bottle, I thought i was in heaven. Thanks for helping me remember how and why the addiction started.


one of the things that helped me get away from soda was flavored water..

Now i drink mostly bottled water, and for a treat i have a flavored water (peach being my favorite)

if i have to have a soda, i try to make it a diet sprite (no sugar, no cals)

my prefered flavored water is peach fruit 2-O


Hey, do you remember the plastic base they used to use that disappeared after a year, it was like a cup over the end...? Then came the 3 litre bottle round about the same time as the 'Supercan' which was replaced by the half litre bottle.

I've drunk a whole 3 litre bottle whilst watching a film in the past, missed half of it going for a piss.


Thanks Blitz, I appreciate your comments.

I guess my viewpoint is that I really do not want to stop drinking diet soda. I love it. I would only do so if it has a negative impact on my progress as a bodybuilder. And from the feedback I have seen so far, there is the caffeine factor and the phosphoric acid factor to take into consideration. I know this may seem sad to some but I guess I am looking to continue this "cheat" habit until I find it is interfering with my progress.

I am also concerned with my ability to continue to eat over 5,000 clean calories a day if I did not have some soda to wash it down with and do it with only water. But this may be purely phsychological.


Yeah that was some genius shit, you could just drink it straight out of the base. The three liter bottles were ridiculous. Before we played ball we used to go to the local grocery store and throw a basketball into the store on one end which got the store owner running while the kid at the other entrance swiped the big ass coke bottle, lol.


Thanks bro


haha drink up. remember the benefit of aspartame over sucralose(splenda) is that aspartame is usable protein!


Leanest ive been I was drinking AT LEAST 2 liters of the crap a day.So sure go for it wont hinder the outer physique.

It does though do a # on teeth etc due to like stated above the acids. LL touches on this. I limit my intake more now. Some days none some 2-3 cans. We have to live a little. Pick your poison the one youve chosen IMO is not that damn bad.


I reckon it is the most addictive food or drink I have come across.

I used to drink 5 cans a day or so. I tried to get off it gradually but it didn't work.

One day I was over at my Grandma's and she informed me that Lent was starting that day. I gave up the cola or any soda and made it the full 40 days. I drink maybe 2-3 cans a week now. So I am far better off for it health wise. I feel much better too.


For whatever reason I just cannot get really lean while drinking diet soda. I've cut for summer so many times now that I've really got my methods nailed down and my body composition changes are very predictable. One summer I thought I would add diet pepsi in just to break up the monotony of dieting by being able to taste something sweet. I was not able to get lean until I dropped the diet pepsi.


This is going to sound strange...
I'm way too urine "aware". I can tell differences if I'm not working out and my body is breaking down muscles. I can tell when I'm taking glutamine. HOT-ROX ads a "burnt" smell..... etc.

When I drink diet sodas, I can tell a diff in my urine. It's more acidic... or caustic.... or something. Anyway, it does add an additional strain to the body. I just recently quit (again) coffee and sodas. I feel my body is happier without them. However, if a person drinks a lot of water during the day and only has a couple sodas a day, that is probably not going to harm them.