Skip Nav
Strong Abs Start With This 7-Minute Workout
Shopping Guide
Running and Lifting in the Same Workout? Here Are the Shoes You Need
These Wheat-Free Pancakes Are Perfect For a Low-Carb Brunch

Does Diet Soda Make You Fat?

Can Diet Soda Make You Fat?

We are excited to share one of our fave stories from Shape here on FitSugar. This week Shape turns to nutritional consultant Mike Roussell, PhD, for some help!

Q: I'm a Diet Coke junkie. Despite having 0 calories, could this habit be sabotaging my weight-loss efforts?

A: In a word: no. While drinking diet soda every day isn't exactly good for your health, the chances of it sabotaging your weight-loss efforts are slim. The common misconception regarding the role of diet soda and weight gain comes from a couple of studies that received a lot of media attention. One such study looked at more 6,500 participants and found that diet soda drinkers were 67 percent more likely to have diabetes and 37 percent more likely to have metabolic syndrome (a combo of symptoms that is basically where pre-diabetes meets heart disease). What's more, data from the Framingham Heart Study, the longest running heart disease study in the US, found a 56-percent increase in metabolic syndrome when people drank one or more diet sodas per day!


Find out how diet soda affects weight gain after the break!

11 Nutrition Myths That Can Cause Weight Gain

Another study published in 2008 also found an association between diet soda consumption and metabolic syndrome. The interesting thing about this particular study was that drinking diet soda was linked to a higher risk for developing metabolic syndrome than drinking sugar-sweetened beverages. Drinking diet soda was essentially as bad for your health as eating fried food. I’m sure you’d agree that having a diet coke is much different than having a regular coke or a basket of curly fries.

Are You Addicted to Diet Soda?

How can we make sense of all this research?

There are two primary schools of thought: the first is that diet soda alone does not cause weight gain, but it has more to do with the unhealthy habits of diet soda drinkers — the sum of which leads to weight gain. That could be the case. The second school of thought is that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda mess with your body's chemical processing, causing you to eat more and consequently gain weight. The research in this area is inconsistent at best.

The Worst Drinks for Your Body

The stance I take with my clients trying to lose weight: If diet soda is going to be your one vice, that's fine. I’d rather have you drink that than a high-calorie beverage, but limit your consumption to one per day at most. If you're doing everything else with your diet and exercise correctly, you will lose weight. Having the occasional diet soda won’t stop you from achieving your goals or the body you've always wanted.

Connect with Dr. Mike to get more simple diet and nutrition tips by following @mikeroussell on Twitter or becoming a fan of his Facebook page .

To get the latest health, fitness, beauty, and fashion news follow @Shape_Magazine on Twitter or becoming a fan on Facebook.

Join The Conversation
amber512 amber512 5 years
Personally, I've always liked diet pop more than regular. The fake sugar doesn't course through my body like regular sugar does, and I keep track of my calories so I know that I'm not overcompensating. IMO, there are worse vices I could have.
fuzzles fuzzles 5 years
My unscientific take on the matter comes from working in bars and restaurants back in the college days. No, a diet Coke does NOT negate the fat and calories on your large plate of seafood pasta swimming in cream sauce. Likewise, diet Sprite does not make it alright to sling back 5 or six vodka drinks in one setting.
Gabriela-Une-Vie-Saine Gabriela-Une-Vie-Saine 5 years
I used to be a diet soda junkie, then cut way back, and lately I've been falling into the old habit again. I know it's terrible for me, but I love the bubbly sweetness!
What to Eat Before and After a Morning Workout
Will ACV Help With Weight Loss?
Before-and-After Weight-Loss Alex Goldman
Zoe Saldana Shape Cover | June 2017
From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds