• Fri, May 30 - 10:52 am ET

Just Because Diet Soda Won’t Kill You Doesn’t Mean It Should Replace Water

woman drinking soda out of strawAfter years of speculation and researchers telling us to steer clear of our beloved carbonated beverages, it now seems that quenching your thirst with a cold can of diet soda may actually help in weight loss. Or so we’re told…

A new study, published in the scientific journal Obesity and funded by the American Beverage Association, suggests that diet drinks may be the best drink of choice when it comes to weight loss rather than good ‘ol H2O.

Wait. What? Really? Call me a skeptic, but I’m not buying it. We already know the effects the bubbly drink can have on frequent drinkers. So why should we all of a sudden switch out water for chemical-filled, artificially sweetened diet soda?

For 12 weeks, the study followed 303 men and women, who were all on the same diet. One half of the group was told to drink 24 oz. of water per day (which still isn’t enough, in my opinion), while the other half was told to curb thirst with 24 oz. worth of diet drinks per day.

So after those 12 weeks, what did researchers find? The participants who opted for diet beverages lost an average of 14.2 pounds, while the water-guzzling group lost an average of just 10 pounds.

Hmm. Was it really because of the diet soda, though? What does this all mean? Well, researchers are still a bit unsure. (As am I…)

After the study, participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire ranking their levels of hunger. Diet-soda drinkers rated less hungry than those only drinking water. Is it just me, or is this the weird part? Usually after I drink diet soda (which is rare), I usually find myself more hungry.

Call me a skeptic, but with this new study, only one thing remains true: no one actually knows if drinking diet drinks will help with weight loss. Until we have some solid data proving that some of our favorite artificially sweetened drinks greatly help to curb hunger and aid in weight loss, I’d say we should just stick to what we know works: plain, boring, but incredibly healthy (!) water. Boring is better, people!

(Photo: Shutterstock)

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  • Daniel Eidsness

    Thank you to the writer of this article. There is absolutely no way its healthier than water. Our food and drink industry is the reason for increasing health care costs across this country. The water they were told to drink isnt even a suffiencent minimal daily amount!! I cannot stand this broken system and somebody needs to do something! ashamed this is how politics and science are in the USA

    • Susan Boyle

      I don’t see anywhere that anyone is claiming it is healthier than water. It seems to me that they are saying that the people who drank diet soda instead of water on average lost more weight. The premise behind it seems to be that people who drank the soda, fulfilled a craving for something sugary that the water didn’t give them. Sounds reasonable to me.

  • sickntired44

    Wow, how interesting, another industry “funded” study that favors the industry.
    We might as well ask some of CNNs experts what their opinion is.

  • http://styletomes.com Style Tomes

    Well, I certainly agree with the skepticism. Although it’s widely touted that the research is independent despite having a sponsorship from a very lobby-heavy organization, at the end of the day the conclusion drawn seems a lot more heavy handed than usual published research articles (“These results show that water is not superior…”).

    It’s a little early to jump to conclusions like that dear research team, especially since it specifically states that the diet soda group had complete unrestricted access to drink as much water as they needed in addition to the soda, their only requirement being to meet a minimum amount of soda intake. I’d be interested to see how much total fluid consumption the two groups had, especially since people not used to drinking pure water often might also crave it less over the course of the study.

    There are absolutely no long term predictions here and it’s a bit too hasty to headline it as a miracle weight loss tactic. @styletomes styletomes.com

  • susan j. garner

    It’s not ridiculous to think that the artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks could have some effect on the perception of hunger in most people, thereby causing them to feel more satiated than those just drinking water. That being said, the fact that it’s an industry-funded study would indicate that the results should be considered suspect.

  • chad

    It seems hypocritical to state that we “know” something like soda is bad for teeth and link to an article that isn’t even a study, and then question the results of an actual study because they are not conclusive.

    I am glad to see people think critically about research, and ask questions that could lead to better research, but to also state something as a fact that is clearly not is very misleading and only promotes ignorance.

    Having said all that, yes just drink water. And if you want to through money away buying bottled water, please recycle.

  • Gregor McHardy

    I recently pared off 33% of my body weight through a combination of calorie control and increased exercise. I am a single data point, but let me tell you that when 3:00 PM rolled around and my body was craving something to eat, a 12 oz Coke Zero helped me make it to dinner time without snacking. The taste of something sweet in the water, whether it was soda or water flavoring packets, seems to fool my body into thinking that it got nutrition. Drinking straight water gave no such satisfaction.

  • tahoegeminii

    cancer makes you lose weight also-the beverage industry paid for the “study” get a grip people be a bunch of lame illiterate sheep and swallow this BS if you want but you’ll be sorry

  • Mmarcia

    Some might think that water is boring and we should all be drinking”diet” sodas, but what about those of us who are deathly allergic to those fake sweeteners? Like Gregor McHardy, I have lost weight (just 25% of my body weight, but still) by eating fewer calories and moving more, and I relish the days I can “afford” a REAL Coke!

  • nickwarino

    If you look at the entire breadth of studies on diet soda and artificial sweeteners in general, there is very little reason to think they have any sort of negative health effect. This includes on general health and losing weight in particular. If there is any effect that hasn’t been conclusively found yet, it’s going to be small.

    So perhaps instead of suggesting people use their finite amounts of will power and not drink diet drinks if they want them, just suggest that people drink whatever they want as long as there are no calories in it? Or at least that they are mindful of the calories in their drinks?

    Point is: maybe diet soda is bad for you, but maybe it’s not, and there is no compelling evidence suggesting the former. Therefore, banning them from their diet based on the reasoning of “ya never know!” is bad advice since it will likely cause some people to give up on their diets altogether. Dieting already sucks, so why make it unneccesarily harder by banning diet soda?

  • cfbcfb

    Wow, you mean a study paid for and run by people who sell soda came up with the conclusion that soda helps you lose weight? Shocking.

    Of course, the cancer the fake sweeteners cause is a great weight loss tool.

  • Greg Moress

    “Just Because Diet Soda Won’t Kill You Doesn’t Mean It Should Replace Water”

    Now you tell me, AFTER I filled my swimming pool with diet soda, and did my laundry using diet soda. And washed my car using diet soda. And took a bath in…

  • Bernice Frona

    The people who make and sell diet soda did a study and found we should buy and consume their product! Wow, why hasn’t anyone ever thought of that before?

  • Theo

    Great article!
    There are many factors that can cause weight lost: fasting, smoking, drinking water and may be drinking soda. But taking engineering foods, drinks or ingredients comes to a price: they damage the liver. Our liver recognize only the DNA of foods that comes from living organisms of mother nature plus water and salt. Everything else, including drugs or artificial supplements and vitamins, chlorine/fluorite of the water are considering toxins, end of the story. And I believe that 90% of the diseases. are caused by a congested liver.

  • LeRoy

    I drink Diet Coke as a recommendation of my dentist. I actually started drinking more Diet Coke then regular coke. I did notice that I started to lose my appetite to the point that I started to skip lunch from time to time. I also noticed that I started losing weight for a while. Then my body went into starvation mode and I started packing it back on again. I learned that you have to have a good health plan for managing you weight and that you can’t really rely on any specific one thing. I now drink more water, still have Diet coke and eat regular meals in moderation.

  • Susan Boyle

    This study is almost as bad as the ones that the bottled water industry funds to try to get us to buy more water. Infuriating.

  • DeeDoubleYouTee

    I always feel less hungry after having a fizzy drink. That is why i always have water with my food other wise i wont finish it. If im feeling hungry but i cannot eat for whatever reason, a fizzy drink is always my first port of call. It creates a preception of fullness…. that is until you burp.

  • NYCNanny

    Funded by the American BEVERAGE Association. Anyone who takes this “study” seriously is a idiot. C’mon.