Diet Coke will dehydrate you

The Influence of Diet Cola on a Low Carbohydrate Diet

As the link you provided mentioned earlier, diet drinks can stay sweet because of the artificial sweeteners. The same artificial sweeteners are also used in many dietary foods (see Walden Farms products). However, there are differences in how bad the different sweeteners are or how much we know about their long-term effects.

As the Yahoo response hinted at, aspartame is one of the products that we know to have bad properties. The “en vogue” sweeteners like Splenda (sucralose) and stevia are “less bad” than aspartame. That doesn't mean they're great too. I recommend reading the Mayo Clinic article on artificial sweeteners for an overview.

That said:

My weight loss center was totally against diet sodas because they made your body more acidic and, as a result, more prone to disease. I'm not sure if this claim was pseudoscience or not, but the Self Nutrition Data Site has an Inflammation Index that measures the same concept. According to the data there, Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi have no influence on the inflammation index.

Diet drinks and most sodas, coffee, and tea contain caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic when consumed in large enough quantities. Combined with the sodium content (see next paragraph), you may be more thirsty after drinking the soda than you were before. Many people drink diet sodas in sufficient quantities to become a diuretic.

The last potentially bad thing about excess diet sodas is the sodium content. Coke Zero appears to be quite low in sodium (30 mg / 8 ounce product) compared to Diet Coke (40 mg / 8 ounce product). That said. Most people drink large amounts of it, with serving sizes ranging from 16 to 48 ounces of soda. The sodium content at this point becomes a significant amount to worry about. High levels of sodium are linked to high blood pressure and water retention.

At the end of the day, water is still the ultimate diet drink. It helps you process protein better and doesn't make you dehydrated.

Someone drew my attention to a study that indicated that artificial sweeteners raise blood sugar more than regular sugar (ref). The proposed mechanism has to do with the artificial sweeteners that affect the intestinal microbial bacteria. The article was interesting read, but we can't rule out the last page that talks about the criticism of the study. The conclusion is well summarized in the article:

"We in no way believe that we are ready to make recommendations on the use and dosage of artificial sweeteners based on the results of this study," said Segal.

However, Elinav said her findings led him to stop using artificial sweeteners in his coffee.

He doesn't use sugar either. "I think we have to emphasize that we are by no means saying that sugary drinks are healthy," said Elinav. (quoted from article)


+1 water isn't as fun as whiskey, however. I was hoping to hear a hidden secret about how to get drunk and still not affect your diet.


Berin - REIN as an interesting anecdote, not a scientific data point, I was able to lose a little weight (a kg per week or even more), although I consume quite a lot (3-4 liters per week) (!) Of quality wine. (I exercise more than 400 minutes a week and only eat plain food, almost no sugar, almost no carbohydrates.) (Fortunately, I don't have a sweet tooth or a "carbohydrate tooth".) @Simon I could hesitantly hesitate that the only one "Secret" is, if you are otherwise on a FLAWLESS diet and are passionate about exercise, you can likely get drunk fairly often. Make sure you forget about sodas!

Berin Loritsch

@ Joe, it's good that worked for you. However, if the diet doesn't work and you start drinking, for most people, try cutting it down or cutting it out until you get to your goal. There is also a big difference between 3-4 liters of wine and 3-4 liters of whiskey. Whiskey has much more alcohol by volume than wine and none of the antioxidants that wine contains. Adjust accordingly.


What bad properties does aspartame have (preferably with references to magazines)?


It's misleading to say that diet soda makes you more thirsty, suggesting it causes dehydration while it isn't likely. Caffeine can increase diuresis, but you are consuming a lot more water with soda than you will lose it with increased diuresis. Many regular caffeine users develop resistance to most of the effects of caffeine. Even amounts of sodium in diet soda are unlikely to cause high blood pressure.