Why Diet Soda Doesn’t Belong In Your Diet

Trying to cut down on sugar? Turns out, drinking diet soda does a body more harm than good. Find out more, and what alternatives you can enjoy instead.

Are you under the assumption that drinking diet soda is a better choice than drinking regular, sugared soda? We have some bad news for you. Diet soda contains no nutritional value, and is detrimental to one’s health. Yet, one of the first dietary changes people make when learning that they are diabetic, need to cut down their sugar intake, or want to lose weight is to switch to drinking diet soda.

The bad news gets worse. To avoid raising blood glucose, The American Diabetes Association and other organizations actually recommend drinking zero (or low) calorie, and low carb beverages — including diet soda and other diet drinks — as part of a plan to limit sugar intake. However, diet soda’s harmful ingredients have no place in any diet. What we eat and drink impacts every aspect of our health.

The Health Dangers of Diet Soda

“Brain cell death, high blood pressure, weight gain, and demineralized bones and teeth are just a few of the trade-offs one gets when mistakenly thinking that a zero calorie diet soda is a good choice,” advises Dr. Shelly Jones, of Columbia, South Carolina, owner of the Chiropractic Wellness Center. “Magnify that by the addictive qualities of the chemicals, artificial sweeteners and other additives, and diet soda consumption is a major cause of repetitive stress to the nervous system.”

Dr. Jones also adds that when they see patients whose health doesn’t stabilize or they can’t seem to get the best results, they immediately look at the patient’s dietary habits. And eliminating diet soft drinks is the first step they recommend to help them feel better, get better results, and start to lose that excess weight.

Artificial Sweeteners – Public Enemy #1

Most people drink diet soda to reduce their caloric intake as part of a weight loss regimen. However, studies have shown that consuming the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks intensifies sugar cravings, making them addictive, while increasing the appetite and the likeliness of unwanted weight gain. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Texas Health Center found a higher correlation of obesity with diet soft drink consumption than with consumption of regular soft drinks containing sugar.

Artificial sweeteners in diet sodas have been linked with various health problems: headaches and migraines, and thymus gland damage. They have been reported to kill necessary bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, thus leading to irritable bowel syndrome, and other gastrointestinal disorders.

A 2014 Israeli study on mice concluded that not only did artificial sweeteners contribute to obesity, but the sweeteners “appear to change the population of intestinal bacteria that direct metabolism, the conversion of food to energy or stored fuel.” And this result suggests the connection might also exist in humans.

Soda contains acidic chemicals which have an extremely acidic effect on the body when ingested. When the body is more acidic rather than alkaline, inflammation and disease, including heart disease and cancer are more likely to occur. As Dr. Jones stated, the acids in diet soda demineralize the bones and teeth, which can lead to fractures and osteoporosis. An overly acidic state can also cause premature aging of the skin.

There are better ways to cut calories and reduce sugar in our diet!

Tips To Help You Kick the Soda Habit!

If you enjoy drinking soda/pop, but want a healthier alternative, you don’t have to give them up entirely.  Removing something from your diet is easier to do when you find a tasty replacement. Try these ideas:

  • Don’t stock your pantry or refrigerator with cans of soda. Once you open a can, you’ll be tempted to drink the entire drink at once.
  • Keep a bottle of carbonated water chilled in the refrigerator at all times.
  • Cut wedges of fresh lemon, lime or oranges and keep a supply on hand in the refrigerator to squeeze into your glass of sparkling water. Or, fill a jug with sparkling water; add wedges of your favorite fresh citrus, cucumbers or sprigs of fresh mint or lemon balm, and store in the refrigerator.
  • A carbonation machine can turn your chilled water into a healthy, sparkling water beverage in about a minute. It will also help you save money over time. Machines start around $90.
  • To sweeten your beverages without adding calories, use stevia. It is a natural, herbal sweetener extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It contains zero calories, yet is sweeter tasting than sugar. Stevia is sold in liquid and powder form.

Healthy Black Cherry-Vanilla Soda

Yield:  6 servings


3 cups 100% black cherry juice, unsweetened
1 vanilla bean, 6 inches long
Seltzer or soda water

To make simple syrup:

Place black cherry juice and a vanilla bean in a medium-size pot. Cover and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 35 minutes, or until liquid has reduced to 1 cup. Remove from heat and let cool.

Once cooled, remove vanilla bean from the pot and chill the syrup in a sealed glass jar in the fridge. It will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.

To serve: Fill a tall glass with crushed ice. Pour in 1/4 cup cherry vanilla syrup, and top with 6 to 8 ounces chilled seltzer or soda water, and stir.

Soda Recipe Credit: www.womenshealthmag.com

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Deborah Tukua

Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.

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I drink diet rite. No caffeine, sodium, or calories. I wish diet sodas would use Stevia.


I love diet A&w root beer but I only drink maybe 3-4 cans a week? My fav is Snapple diet raspberry tea. I drink 1-1 1/2 daily and some water . I’m 67, very little bone loss, I’ve not shrunk even 1/4 of an inch and I’m not addicted or drink it for caffeine as root beer has no caffeine and the tea has a trace. But every time I see these articles it concerns me some. I’m not a water/flavored water person. I force myself to add water to my daily diet. Just not sure how true these statements are since I’ve used the pink stuff in coffee and homemade tea since I was 18 Yrs old.

Latisha Wade

SPARK helped me with my addiction! I drank 8-10 cans of diet mtn dew a day! I have been soda free for 2 months woo hoo!

Latisha Wade

I cut my soda habit out by using SPARK! An Advocare product. I drank, kid you not, 8-10 cans of Diet Mt Dew a day! Ridiculous!!! I am very proud to say, I haven’t had soda in almost 2 months!!!!


PJ, I have switched to green tea which has caffeine but I drink it without sugar. It is said that 4 cups a day of green tea is healthy but…I’m not sure what size cup they are talking about. I usually make tea in a quart mason jar, have one cup hot and then iced tea the rest of the day. I often add lemon juice or sometimes lemonade (1/2 and 1/2) for variety.

Deborah Tukua, editor Journey to Natural Living

Jean, Dr. Shelly Jones asked me to share her response to your question, “We always have to be concerned with what we consume and always ready to change and improve habits as new research helps us understand more. Carbonated colas, most likely from all the acids, seems to be biggest threat to lowered bone density. Plain water over carbonated water is preferred but carbonated water can help someone transition from the bad habit of sodas.” – Dr. Shelly Jones

PJ – Yerba Mate is a tea that is naturally caffeinated, that you could try to replace the caffeine. It is available in Publix and other grocery stores and where teas are sold.

Thanks for reading the article. Hope these responses are helpful.


indrank diet soda daily for 20 years, I was very addicted. I tried everything to kick the habit, I couldn’t seem to quit. I cut it 100% 16 months ago, and suffered through a tough withdrawal. I drank a lot of soda water to help but couldn’t really replace it with anything. Today, I happy to say I’m addicted to water. I drink it all day & can’t get enough.

I wish there were more support for those heavily addicted. It’s a tough journey, but I’m so very thankful I quit!


PJ, there are Caffeine Pills…


If you don’t like water with lemon, try it with sliced cucumber in it. I first had it in a spa on a cruise ship. Really refreshing.


In response to PJ’s question I would offer what worked for me. I quite drinking all soda 7+ years ago because of the ‘addiction’ not only to the caffeine but to the sugar. Yes the major caffeine withdrawal is a bear but Excedrin Migraine helped me immensely! I still drink a couple of cups of coffee each day and an iced tea once in a while but I try to limit my caffeine intake whenever possible. Sugar, well that’s a whole other story but I hope this helps. As for the water keep drinking that in whatever way you can. The hydration will help the headaches.


What can someone who is “addicted” to the caffeine in diet soda’s but can’t drink regular soda’s because they are like drinking syrup drink to get away from the bad stuff in the diet soda’s? I don’t like water. I grew up in the country where we had FRESH spring water and even the bottled water isn’t good. It doesn’t taste like the FRESH spring water and I can’t drink it. Diet soda is pretty much all I drink because of the caffeine and I actually LIKE the taste. I’ve been addicted to the caffeine for over 50 years because I started out drinking the regular drinks. I want to get off the caffeine but when I quit cold turkey, I get sick (nauseated), migraines, and after 3 or 4 days of that, I give in and go back to the diet soda’s just to feel better. I asked my Dr. if there are caffeine patches or some kind of pill I can get. Either they don’t exist or she just doesn’t agree with them because so far I have nothing.


I read somewhere that the carbonation in all sodas can cause osteoporosis. Is this true? If so, would we want to drink sparkling water? Is there a difference?

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