Diet Soda: Good or Bad?

Too much soda can mean lots of empty calories and excess sugar. Diet beverages can be a guilt-free choice. But if you need that fizzy fix, is it better to swig sugar or artificial sweeteners? What about the caffeine and phophorus?
You'd think soda was our national beverage the way people guzzle it. Opt for the regular stuff and you're downing lots of extra calories and sugar; in comparison, calorie-free diet soda seems like a harmless alternative. But if you need a soda fix, is it better to swig sugar or artificial sweeteners? What about the caffeine and phophorus?

Here are some things to know about diet sodas (or any diet beverage for that matter).

The Good

The bright side to a diet soda is the lack of sugar-filled calories. Switching from a standard 12-ounce can of regular soda to the diet version will save an average of 100 calories and almost seven teaspoons of added sugar per can! If you’re someone that drinks multiple sodas a day, that can lead to some serious weight loss.

The Bad

If you do opt for diet soda, don't think you can just drink and drink because it's calorie-free. There are four good reasons to cut back:

  1. In place of sugar, diet beverages use artificial sweeteners -- chemicals that should be consumed in moderation. There are theories that these artificial sweeteners might increase cravings for more sweet (and high-calorie) foods
  2. Many of these drinks contain caffeine, which may curb appetite temporarily, leading to overeating later in the day. A little pick me up is fine but if your total beverage count for the day comes from coffee and caffeinated sodas, you may want to cut back. Here’s a list of the caffeine content in popular beverages.
  3. Many of these drinks (especially colas) contain phosphorus, an important nutrient for bone formation and cell structure. The only problem is, too much can leech calcium from your bones, weakening them.
  4. The more soda you drink, the less water you’re taking in -- water is free of calories, too!

Bottom Line: If you must have them, consume diet beverages in moderation -- one 12-ounce serving a day MAX! If you’re looking to cut calories, make some room for water or seltzer, which you can flavor up with fruit slices or a splash of fruit juice for extra oomph.

TELL US: Are you a soda addict?

Next Up

Food Fight: Regular Soda vs. Diet Soda

Should you go for the sugar-filled soda or the one made with artificial stuff? Find out which is better to sip on when you're in the mood for soda.

Diet Ratings: Good or Bad?

Consumer Reports recently released their latest diet ratings with Jenny Craig topping the list. We dug deep to find out how they rated their diets—but based on finding, the real questions is should diet plans be rated at all?

Gluten-Free Diets: Good or Bad?

Seems like everyone is buzzing about gluten free. Gluten-free products and diet books are flooding the marketplace and celebrities are swearing by their anti-gluten lifestyles. So what’s this really all about? Does going gluten free hold the key to better health and weight loss success? Get the facts.

Frozen Diet Meals: Good or Bad?

While the allure of healthy prepared meals fresh out of a box may be intriguing – are these frozen diet foods actually good for you?

Is the Fruitarian Diet Good for You?

A short stint on this fruit-heavy regimen might actually do your eating habits some good.

Diet 101: Dubrow Diet

Here's how to follow the diet made popular by two reality TV stars.

Diet 101: OMAD Diet

We take a deep dive into intermittent fasting and what it means for your health.

Diet 101: GAPS Diet

The GAPS Diet promises to improve digestion and psychological health. We investigate.

Diet 101: Ayurvedic Diet

Ayurvedic eating is pretty much the opposite of a fad diet — it’s existed for some 5,000 years. Here’s what you need to know about doshas, kitchari bowls and eating mindfully.

Diet 101: Dukan Diet

Although the Dukan Diet has been a best seller for years in France, it’s been rapidly growing popularity since Kate Middleton announced that she’s on it in order to lose weight for her upcoming royal nuptials to Prince William. Other celebs like model Giselle Bundchen and Jennifer Lopez have also reportedly been on the diet to help them shed their post-baby pounds. But should you be following in the footsteps of these high profile celebs?