Is Diet Soda Bad for You?

If you’re a weight-conscious person, you’ve probably switched from regular to diet soda in the belief that you’re doing something good for your health and waistline. You know that too much sugar is bad for you, and that regular soda contains a lot of sugar-nearly 10 teaspoonfuls per 12 ounce can. But there are those who argue that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda are harmful to health as well. Read on for some of the reasons why diet soda may not be your best beverage choice.


While there is more than one artificial sweetener used in diet soda, it is aspartame that has come under the most fire. The FDA has approved aspartame for use in diet sodas, but some consumers have complained of side effects, and there have been worries that aspartame promotes tumors in lab animals. Though not everyone believes it is safe, there’s no proof that the chemical sweetener causes cancer in humans.

Some scientists say another problem with aspartame and other artificial sweeteners is that they fool your body. The taste buds detect the sweet flavor, but when your body doesn’t actually receive sugar, it stimulates cravings for more diet soda.

Weight Gain

Perhaps you drink diet soda instead of regular soda because you want a low or no calorie beverage that won’t harm your weight. However, some researchers believe your body expects a certain number of calories based on the taste of food and drinks consumed. If the food or drink tastes sweet, your body’s responds as though it received sugar. This can lead to weight gain.

Also, the sweet flavor of diet soda is likely to stimulate a craving for other sugary foods and beverages. There are 15 calories per teaspoon of sugar, and considering the amount of sugar in everything from desserts, fast food, breads, snacks and fruit juice, you can consume too much sugar and calories very quickly.

Teeth and Bones

Diet soda does not contribute to tooth decay since it isn’t made with sugar like regular soda, but diet soda is still bad for your teeth because of the citric acid and phosphoric acid. These acids wear away tooth enamel. Over time, this can lead to cavities and sensitivity in teeth. And the phosphoric acid in diet soda has the effect of leaching calcium from your bones.


Caffeine in diet soda can cause irritability, heart palpitations and insomnia, especially if you are sensitive to the drug. If you are going to drink diet soda, switch to a decaffeinated version.

Replaces Healthier Beverages

There is nothing in diet soda that your body needs from a nutrition standpoint. Instead, diet soda replaces healthier drinks such as water and green tea, which contains antioxidants.

A can of caffeine-free diet soda now and then probably will not harm you, but making it a regular indulgence could be bad for your health. Replacing at least some of the diet soda in your diet with healthier drinks such as green tea and water will reduce the chance of weight and health problems due to diet soda consumption.


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  • Paul

    The approval of aspartame was a political decision made over the strenuous objections of the FDA scientists. As you point out it is carcinogenic, especially in regard to brain tumors, leads to a number of chronic fatigue like symptoms in many people and causes weight gain, but it made Don Rumsfeld rich.

    There’s an interesting post over at the Health Journal Club that makes the case that people should just not eat anything that wasn’t a food 100 years ago. Sure gets rid of the aspartame, bleached GM flour, high fructose corn syrup garbage they try to pass off as food these days.

  • Daniel

    Thanks, I have known for years that soda has been really bad for my body but now I truly know I need to stop drinking it.

  • Cole

    I’ve been drinking diet soda for years. It’s never done me any harm. It’s the only reliable thing that helps me lose weight (and I’m an avid athlete), I have great teeth, and I’ve never broken any bones other than small toes. The caffeine in diet soda is also quite negligible.

  • JM

    I don’t really know if the artificial sweeteners can actually cause cancer or not, but it seems that it’s pretty unlikely. Aside from that, i’m not sure what all the fuss is about. Maybe people respond differently to drinking diet soda, but every since I switched to diet soda, I have been able to lose a ton of weight and I use it in my weight loss/maintenance routine daily. I have never had sugar cravings or any side effects from diet soda that I can notice. In fact, diet soda allows me to feel like I am treating myself to something sweet and bad for you when really it is zero calorie. I believe it probably does more good than harm, since we have solid proof that regular sugary sodas can contribute to weight gain and obesity and that obesity comes with a huge list of life threatening side effect like diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol issues, heart attack, stroke, etc…

  • tina

    I’m just so confused, i loved my diet coke. but now I’m so afraid to drink it.So i choice not to.I miss it. I was really addicted to diet coke, and it wasn’t easy to quit drinking.but considering all the bad things i have read about diet coke i think it is a good idea not to drink it.I do think i have a few symptoms that was mentioned in the article i read about aspartame.