What Is the Connection between Weight Gain and Diet Soda?

Erin J. Hill

There are two main ways in which weight gain and diet soda are linked. The first is the most obvious. Dieters who begin drinking zero calorie versions of their favorite soft drinks may lose weight or halt weight gain. The opposite is also true, since many people unconsciously eat more calories during the day than those who drink juice, milk, or water.

A glass of diet soda.
A glass of diet soda.

Those who drink diet soda generally do so in an attempt to lose weight. This is advisable only for those who are used to drinking sugary sodas everyday and who do not feel they will be able to stick with a soda-free diet. No calorie sodas contain artificial sweeteners and other harmful chemicals, so they should be limited despite their diet-friendly status.

Drinking diet sodas usually leads to weight gain because people eat more to compensate for the decrease in calories.
Drinking diet sodas usually leads to weight gain because people eat more to compensate for the decrease in calories.

Studies have shown some links between weight gain and diet soda consumption. This is generally due to the fact that when dieters drink zero calories beverages, they eat more without realizing it. Drinking diet sodas only helps in aiding with weight loss when combined with a low calorie diet and exercise plan. Eating additional calories instead of drinking regular sodas leads to weight gain.

Weight gain and diet soda are also linked in the more obvious way of diet sodas being used to prevent weight gain. Although not required for weight loss, drinking diet soda during a diet can help those who are addicted to caffeine or soda in general lose weight if they are used only to supplement regular sodas. They should not be consumed in excess amounts, and they are not intended to replace healthier drinks like water, whole fruit and vegetable juices, and low fat milk.

There are additional emerging studies which have linked weight gain and diet soda because the ingredients in some sodas may lead to metabolic disorders. This could lead to slower weight loss even in those who are eating a low-fat diet, and further weight gain in those who are consuming too many calories in the form of food. More research is needed for a positive link.

Overall, the best drink for those who are aiming to lose weight is water. Not only does it contain zero calories, but it also keeps the body hydrated and flushes away toxins. Water also acts to keep one feeling fuller for longer periods of time, thus leading to less food being consumed. Ideally, one should drink between eight and ten cups of water a day, or more for those who exercise strenuously.

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