The Skinny on Diet Coke

diet coke

So we of course all know that soda and sugary drinks are terrible for your health, right?


But what about diet coke? For some reason even a few of the most health conscious people I know still have their diet coke vice. Or, they drink diet coke and don’t actually think it’s bad for them.

No sugar and no calories sooo….that’s healthy. If it’s not healthy, it’s at least not going to make you gain weight, right?

Of course not.

So instead of using sugar, diet sodas are sweetened with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, acesulfame-k or sucralose.

If that isn’t gross enough for you, let’s get into the science and evidence-based research on the topic.

In a study published in the journal Circulation in 2008, which followed 9,514 people for 9 years, drinking artificially sweetened beverages was associated with a 34% greater risk of developing the metabolic syndrome.

A different study found a 36% increased risk of metabolic syndrome and a drastically increased risk of diabetes in diet soda drinkers.

What’s the metabolic syndrome? Well, it’s any three of the following: belly fat (abdominal obesity), low HDL (good) cholesterol, high triglycerides, high fasting glucose (helloooo diabetes!), high blood pressure.

Metabolic syndrome basically means your body is more at risk for developing serious diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Drinking diet soda thus increases your risk for developing both obesity and those risk factors and diseases.

In fact, there were three studies (1/2/3) that found diet soda — not all sodas, but diet in particular — increased risk for developing diabetes. This connection is not only strong, but is even stronger in women than men…yikes.

Let’s talk obesity.

Several studies — and I mean a TON of studies — have found that drinking diet soda is associated with weight gain and obesity. (1/2/3/4/5/6)

This is likely because the fake sugars in diet sodas increase appetite and food intake.

Drinking diet sodas was even associated with preterm births and depression. Y-i-k-e-s.


Basically, diet sodas are not in the clear because of the lack of calories and sugar. They are packed full of harmful chemicals and artificial sweeteners that post their own health risks, and drinking them is flat out unnatural and not safe.

What do you guys like to drink instead of soda and diet soda?

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  • Jen Blackham

    I’ve never had a Coke, diet or otherwise. The “cola” flavor just doesn’t seem appealing. I’ll have an occasional rootbeer or lemon-lime soda, but I really can’t drink carbonation. It doesn’t quench my thirst and the bubbles give me hiccups. I DO drink a lot of diet fruit punch though … I know it’s still got the same issues even if it isn’t “soda”.

  • Jen Rawson @ Pretty Little Gru

    Generally I don’t drink any pop (as we call it here). But occasionally I have a hankering for a Diet coke. I drink diet not because it’s zero calories or for weight loss but because I like the taste better. I don’t let myself worry too much about it because I don’t think a couple of diet cokes a year is going to make a difference. But I agree that people who drink it regularly will not be getting the benefits they were hoping for.