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I want to lose weight.
I have signed up to DailyBurn to keep track of my weight with weekly weigh ins.

I was confused over the different diets available (Atkins and Paleo were top runners up), so have decided to start off with just trying to adopt a low-carb diet and see how it impacts my weight.

I see friends 2-3 times a week, and we commonly end up hitting some bars.
(This is fun and I would like to continue this)
I am not a fan of beer, but do like a whiskey and coke.
At the weekend, I switched to using Diet Coke/Coke Zero as it has significantly lower carbs/sugars than regular cola.

However - im sure there must be negative consequences from drinking these diet drinks?
What impact do diet drinks have on a low carb diet?

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Drink straight whiskey. –  VPeric Mar 25 '13 at 19:15

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

As the link you provided mentioned, diet drinks are able to remain sweet due to the artificial sweeteners. Those same artificial sweeteners are used in many diet oriented food products as well (check out Walden Farms products). That said, there are differences in how bad the different sweeteners are, or how much we know about their long term effects.

As the answer from Yahoo alluded to, aspartame is one of products we know has bad properties. The more "en vogue" sweeteners like splenda (sucralose) and stevia are "less bad" than aspartame. That doesn't mean they are great either. I recommend looking at the Mayo Clinic article on artificial sweeteners for an overview.

That said:

My weight loss center was entirely against diet sodas because they made your body more acidic, and as a result more susceptible to getting sick. I'm not sure if that claim was pseudo science or not, but the Self Nutrition Data site has an inflammatory index which is measuring the same concept. According to the data there, diet coke and diet Pepsi have no impact on the inflammatory index.

Diet drinks, and most sodas, coffee, and tea contain caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic if consumed in large enough quantities. Combined with the sodium content (see next paragraph) you can be thirstier after you drink the soda than before. Many people drink diet sodas in sufficient quantity for it to become a diuretic.

The last potentially bad thing from excess diet sodas is Sodium content. Coke zero seems to have fairly low sodium (30mg / 8oz of product) versus diet coke which has (40mg / 8oz of product). That said. most people drink large amounts of this, with serving sizes ranging between 16-48oz of soda. The sodium content at that point becomes a significant amount to worry about. High sodium levels are linked to hypertension (high blood pressure) as well as water retention.

At the end of the day, Water is still the ultimate diet drink. It helps you process protein better, it won't leave you dehydrated.

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+1 Water is not as fun as whiskey though. Was hoping to hear some hidden secret about getting drunk and still not affecting your diet. –  Simon Jul 25 '11 at 14:02
Berin - PURELY as an interesting anecdote, not a scientific data point, I have been able to lose a bit of weight (one KG a week, or even more) even though I consume quite a lot (3-4 liters a week) (!) of quality wine. (I do exercise hard 400+ mins a week, and I eat only pure food, almost no sugars, almost no carbohydrates.) (Very fortunately, I do not have a sweet tooth or a "carbo tooth.") @Simon I might hesitantly suggest that the only "Secret" is, if you otherwise have a FLAWLESS diet and you are ecstatic about exercise, you can probably get drunk relatively often. Utterly forget sodas! –  Joe Blow Jul 25 '11 at 21:15
@Joe, it's good that worked for you. For most people however, if the diet isn't working and you are drinking, try cutting back or cutting it out until you reach your goal. Also, there is a big difference between 3-4 liters of wine and 3-4 liters of whiskey. Whiskey has much more alcohol per volume than wine, and none of the antioxidants that wine has either. Adjust accordingly. –  Berin Loritsch Jul 26 '11 at 14:03
What bad properties does aspartame have (preferably with references to journals)? –  pbond Oct 8 '13 at 23:20

There is a lot of misinformation and fear being spread about sodas of all kinds.

Really, drinking diet soda should not have any effect on a low carb diet for most people.

  • There are 0 calories diet soda.
  • Diet soda is 99.8% water (Can't link to USDA reference site due to government shutdown)

The main risks from diet soda are

  • Tooth enamel decay
  • Bone loss

Both of these are due to the phosphoric acid. Not drinking an excessive amount, practicing good dental hygiene and getting sufficient amounts of calcium can alleviate these risks.

There was a study done in Texas, observing people over a period of time that showed that the people who drank soda were more likely to gain weight than the people who did not. These studies were observational only, so they were unable to show cause.
WebMD has more information: Diet Sodas Cause Weight Gain? Not so Fast

Probably the thing you will hear most is health risks associated with aspartame. What essentially happened was that a study done on rats was picked up by the media and reported as aspartame causing cancer in people.

That study was later debunked, and there are no studies linking aspartame as the cause of any harmful health condition, in the amounts served with diet soda. Wikipedia has a good summary on the aspartame controversy.

In short, it's fine to drink, especially if you live a healthy lifestyle.

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Cannot agree with any of the above. You want to drink and loose weight drink wine as this has low carb content and any spirit with diet soda. It is the carbs and sugar that add weight. All have low or no carbs. Better eat and drink full fast products than carbs.

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It is calories not carbs that add weight. Alcohol has plenty of calories. –  Baarn Oct 6 '13 at 13:56

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