Diet Soda Can Increase Your Waist Size By Up to 500 Percent

Posted on July 29th, 2011 by Dr. Mercola  |  17 Comments »

Weight Gain from Diet Soda Because of its high sugar content, soda is known to be one of the unhealthiest beverages you can drink. But if you believe that drinking sugar-free diet soda is better, here’s something for you to think about: a recent study presented at an American Diabetes Association meeting revealed that people who drank two or more diet sodas daily had a 500 percent greater increase in waist size!

Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio followed 474 diet soda drinkers for almost a decade and found that their waistlines expanded by 70 percent compared to non-diet soda drinkers. Those who drank two or more diet sodas a day had the biggest waistlines. (Link)

Why Diet Soda Does Not Support Weight Management

In 2005, a team led by study co-author Sharon Fowler found that each can of diet soda you drink in a day increases your obesity risk by 41 percent.

Diet soda contains the artificial sweetener aspartame, which may contain zero calories but can’t fool your body and brain. When your body detects that you’re consuming something sweet, it expects that it contains calories. Since artificial sweeteners don’t provide calories, they can cause distortions in your biochemistry that may result in weight gain, Dr. Joseph Mercola explains.

Your brain knows the difference between sugar and an artificial sweetener, which tends to increase activity in your brain’s pleasure center even though it provides lower actual satisfaction. This causes your body to crave more artificial sweeteners – as well as real sugar – because your brain is not satisfied at the cellular level by the sugar imposter.

Diet Soda and Cardiovascular Disease

Another study presented earlier this year at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2011 suggested that diet soda can increase your risk of stroke.

Researchers from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Columbia University followed more than 1,000 volunteers for over nine years. About 900 of the participants said they did not consume any diet soda, while about 160 drank one or more diet sodas daily. (Link)

At the end of the study, the researchers noted that diet soda consumption and salt intake increased the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other deadly vascular conditions.

How to Quit Your Soda Habit

Eliminating your diet soda consumption is easier said than done – artificial sweeteners are addicting and have “positive reinforcing effects,” according to Dr. Martin Paulus, one of the authors of a study that compared the taste pathways of sugar and artificial sweeteners.  “Humans will work for it, like for other foods, alcohol, and even drugs of abuse. Whenever you have that, there is a potential that a subgroup of people … will have a chance of getting addicted,” he says.

Your soda cravings may have an underlying emotional component. Dr. Mercola recommends the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), particularly Turbo Tapping, an EFT tool that allows you to resolve emotional aspects of an addictive problem in a short period of time.

After you have addressed your diet soda addiction, you can use the natural sweetener stevia, which is 300 times sweeter than sugar, has zero calories, and does not cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. Dr. Mercola uses liquid stevia that comes in flavors like English Toffee and French Vanilla, which can be added to seltzer water to produce a healthy soda alternative.

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Responses to “Diet Soda Can Increase Your Waist Size By Up to 500 Percent”

  1. Affiliated Physicians says on :

    So many people go through multiple cans of “diet” soda a day because they think it is the healthier version. It almost sounds like you’d be better off drinking a regular can of Coke every now and again than a diet Coke every day! Giving up diet soda may be hard, but your health is worth it!

  2. Junior Sicard says on :

    You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

  3. Diet Soda Can Increase Your Waist Size By Up to 500 Percent | Dr. Joseph Mercola on Natural Health Products and Articles says on :

    via Diet Soda Can Increase Your Waist Size By Up to 500 Percent | Dr. Joseph Mercola on Natural Health P….

  4. Susan Forrester says on :

    Is it just aspartame or are other diet sugars as bad about increasing waist size? For instance, Splenda.
    Thank you

  5. eft,feelings,emotions says on :


    Diet Soda Can Increase Your Waist Size By Up to 500 Percent | Dr. Joseph Mercola on Natural Health Products and Articles…

  6. JLa says on :

    I am a fan of Zevia natural sodas–all the fun of drinking a soda but sweetened with stevia and made with natural oils for flavoring plus triple-filtered water. I do wonder about the effects of carbonated water in the body, both on my tooth enamel and in raising acidity in my Ph level.

    Zevia can be found online or at most natural food markets.

  7. Jill Zarate says on :

    All these years of people drinking diet soda thinking it wouldn’t make them gain more weight

  8. Lee Pomroy says on :

    Hi. My daughter went from a size 4 to a size 12-14… She has now been soda-free for 2 wks. She is now drinking Kangen Water (a water obtained from a Medical Generator from Japan where hospitals & drs prescribe the Water). It generates different Water; my dtr is drinking 9.5 pH, microclustered, alkaline, ionized, anti-oxidant, active hydrogen saturated, detoxifying, power living water for hydrating the body.

    The generator also produces strong Kangen Water for cleaning and used for food preparation; clean water, strong acidic water (anti-microbial water) used for disinfecting, cleaning, rinsing produce, soothing skin irritations and more; Kangen Water for cooking, healthy drinking to maintain body health, & beauty water to bathe and astringent & to prevent skin irritation!

    See & call me with your comments and interest. Lee Pomroy

  9. Teresa says on :

    I am a diet soda drinker and have been so for about 39 years, I have cronic pain, fibromalgia, disk replacement in my neck, jaw surgery 2 different times, gallbadder removal, IBS, let’s just say I have it all. I have tried to stop drinking diet soda to only going back to it the regular soda is just to sweet and I look at calories even though I need to loose about 20 lbs, I do use stevia in 1 cup of coffee a day or in tea, Due you think my health issues are due to the artifical sweetners over the years have attrubited to these issues. I’m only 57 years of age and there are days I really feel like I’m 90 years of age. Both of my parents passed away with cancer, my mom passed at age 57, she was a smoker but she also drank coffee a pot a day, thyroid she was very thin, she had melanoma, cervical cancer. My dad made it to 73 years heavy smoker died of lung cancer, prostate cancer which went to his brain. I have to say I have never smoked I do drink maybe a glass of wine three times a month. But I guess my question is what can I do to get myself to be healty and maybe detox myself I also can’t drink water unless it’s the again sweeten water. I have never been able to drink water. Any advise from a very sad addicted to arifical sweetner person. Thank you in advance for your time and any kind of help you can offer.

  10. Pistachio says on :

    This is so so so true. I am a waitress and I swear the women with the biggest waistlines always order diet coke. Aspartame doesn’t exist in nature, so when you put it in your body, it goes “wtf is this? what am I supposed to do with this?” and messes with your biochemistry. Remember the golden rule: If your grandmother wouldn’t recognize the ingredient, you shouldn’t consume it.

    Teresa: that is your problem right there: “I can’t drink water”. Yes you can. You can 100% drink water without sweeteners. Stop playing the victim, get in control of your life and drink some damn water.

  11. Ella says on :

    Teresa, I have to say I do agree with Pistachio, its fine to say you have these health problems and ask for the answer but reality is you answered your own question only to give an excuse to that answer. Addictions are hard but you can do it, see these diet drinks as poison and swap your poison with something else. i know water can be hard to drink but add some lemon or lime or even cut up a couple of pieces of real orange and let it steep in the water it will sweeten it naturally but ultimately you cant beat pure water. ultimately you need to stop drinking these diet drinks coz the answer is absolutely yes that this will be at the least contributing to your health issues. i dont know the rest of your diet which could also be contributing but at least start with cutting out the diet drinks and i guarantee you that your health will improve. absolutely!!!

  12. ROSE says on :

    It is soooooo TRUE..DIET SODA DOES greatly INCREASE THE GIRTH !!!!
    I’m on here reading because of this – I went on a diet soda binge trying to cut back on calorie drinks and never liking to drink water.

    My stomach BALOONED ! I kept thinking I was pregnant – but not. It was as if the carbonation found someplace inside to build up or some negative chemical reaction took place.

    It did also make me crave the REAL calorie sweetners. The body doesn’t seem to understand that its no calories either, caus the weight piled on even thou I was watching the calories. So its a FARCE/PLACEBO..AVOID DIET SODA !

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