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Study: Diet soda may do more harm than good
July 10th, 2013
05:01 PM ET

Study: Diet soda may do more harm than good

Diet soda drinkers have the same health issues as those who drink regular soda, according to a new report published Wednesday.

Purdue University researchers reviewed a dozen studies published in past five years that examined the relationship between consuming diet soda and health outcomes. They then published an opinion piece on their findings in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, saying they were “shocked” by the results.

"Honestly, I thought that diet soda would be marginally better compared to regular soda in terms of health," said Susan Swithers, the report's author and a behavioral neuroscientist and professor of psychological sciences. “But in reality it has a counterintuitive effect.”

Artificial sweeteners in diet soda fulfill a person’s craving for a sweet taste, without the calories. But that's the problem, according to researchers. Think of it like crying wolf.

The fake sugar in diet sodas teases your body by pretending to give it real food. But when your body doesn't get the things it expects to get, it becomes confused on how to respond. While the studies they reviewed only looked at diet soft drinks, the researchers suggest that this could apply to other products that contain artificial sweeteners as well.

"You've messed up the whole system, so when you consume real sugar, your body doesn't know if it should try to process it because it's been tricked by the fake sugar so many times," says Swithers.

On a physiological level, this means when diet soda drinkers consume real sugar, the body doesn’t release the hormone that regulates blood sugar and blood pressure.

Video: Are diet sodas dangerous to your health?

Diet soda drinkers also tend to pack on more pounds than those who don’t drink it, the report says.

“Research shows that sweet taste can increase appetite and the regular consumption of the high intensity sweetness of artificial sweeteners may encourage sugar cravings and dependence,” says CNN diet and fitness expert Dr. Melina Jampolis.

The artificial sweeteners also dampen the "reward center" in your brain, which may lead you to indulge in more calorie-rich, sweet-tasting food, according to the report.

The American Beverage Association says the report was "an opinion piece, not a scientific study."

"Low-calorie sweeteners are some of the most studied and reviewed ingredients in the food supply today," the association said in a statement. "They are safe and an effective tool in weight loss and weight management, according to decades of scientific research and regulatory agencies around the globe."

Diet soda's negative effects are not just linked to weight gain, however, the report says.

It found that diet soda drinkers who maintained a healthy weight range still had a significantly increased risk of the top three killers in the United States: diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

"We've gotten to a place where it is normal to drink diet soda because people have the false impression that it is healthier than indulging in a regular soda," says Swithers. "But research is now very clear that we need to also be mindful of how much fake sugar they are consuming."

There are five FDA-approved artificial sweeteners: acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One), aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), neotame, saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet'N Low), and sucralose (Splenda).

“Saccharin was one of the first commercially-available artificially sweeteners, and it’s actually a derivative of tar,” says Swithers.

Even natural sweeteners like Stevia, which has no calories and is 250 times sweeter than regular sugar, are still processed extracts of a natural plant and may have increased health risks.

“Just because something is natural does not always mean that it is safer,” says Jampolis.

There more studies and research that need to be done. But in the meantime, experts say: Limit consumption.

“No one is saying cut it out completely,” says Swithers. “But diet soda should be a treat or indulgence just like your favorite candy, not an everyday thing.”

Sugary drinks linked to 180,000 deaths worldwide


soundoff (791 Responses)
  1. Robert

    Duh. You mean there are people who were stupid enough to think "diet" soda was healthy?

    July 10, 2013 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ShaneB

      Think what you want, I lost 70 lbs switching from regular to diet. Lost 5 lbs the first week after switching, its hard to complain about those kinds of results.

      July 10, 2013 at 19:22 | Report abuse |
    • bencino

      A pound of fat is equal to about 3500 calories. 5 pounds is 17,500 calories.

      A 2-liter of Coke is 800 calories. To lose 5 pounds in one week by changing nothing other than removing calories from soda, you would have to have been drinking 22 2-liters per week.

      In other words, no. That's not what caused your weight loss.

      July 10, 2013 at 19:44 | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Nice math bencino, but the human body does not work that way. Every sip of soda you take causes a spike in insulin and a corresponding increase in fat stored. Because she was sipping soda all day her body became more and more resistant to insulin and started pumping it out more and more, causing more of her normal calories to be stored as fat. Eliminating the soda intake did two things. First it reduced calories, and second because she wasn't stimulating insulin non stop, it caused her to become more sensitive to insulin, reducing her overall amount she was producing and stabilizing her blood sugar leading to further fat loss.

      July 10, 2013 at 19:56 | Report abuse |
    • susan

      Sure Shane. We'll check in with you in about 15-20 years when you're still drinking diet soda and scratching your head why you have low calcium, or bone or heart problems. But I'm sure you look fantastic now.

      July 10, 2013 at 19:58 | Report abuse |
    • roba0001

      There is no scientific validity to this outlandish article at all. How dare you publish garbage like this.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:05 | Report abuse |
    • Ted

      People who are commenting should actually go and read the paper itself. Regardless of your conclusion, the paper does NOT say that artificial sweeteners causes insulin release. In fact, it says exactly the opposite. It the goes on to discuss whether this leads to a learned response that affects insulin release when consuming normal, calorie-laden sweeteners.

      The statement by Dr. Melina Jampolis, that artificial sweeteners causes the release of insulin has no experimental support in the literature. In fact, the data shows exactly the opposite.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:21 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff6187

      Yes ... in fact some of the foremost physiologists and nutritionists in the world, if you'd read the article. It's only a "duh" if you're clueless

      July 10, 2013 at 20:22 | Report abuse |
    • ozob

      Roba0001, the article is ABOUT a scientific study ... You're just unhappy to hear it.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:25 | Report abuse |
    • Burt Ward

      Switch to green tea with Stevia. It is the best of all worlds. First of all, green tea contains beneficial chemicals that help lower blood sugar naturally. Next is stevia with the aminos that assist glucagon regulation. Every once in a while, budget yourself some sugar intake. But never, ever consume white rice or bread grains. Maybe if you visit Europe and they have whole grain breads grown with legacy seeds outside of the GMO variety. In the USA, the grain producers modified the structure of the wheat that gave it an amino to cause cravings. This is scientifically proven. You consume bread and then you want it, often. Try your own experiment at home. Get a glucose meter, often free from the makers. Pick a day where you can monitor you blood glucose levels for a full 24 hour period. Now, go to the convenience store and buy a Snickers. Record your current blood sugar level and then consume the Snickers. Record your levels every four or so hours. Now, wait a few days and repeated it but this time go to Duncan Donuts and pick up a nice big bear claw. It should have similar carbs as the Snickers. Check it out if you want to be sure it equals it. Record your levels and then eat the bear claw. Do the same. Here's the expected results from the study. Eating the Snickers, your blood sugar will rise accordingly for a few hours and then taper off and in 12 hours will be the same as before. Consuming the wheat product your sugar will immediately spike because the aminos kick in to give you that engineered "hit." Then by design, it will be a long hit and your sugar levels will stay high well past 12 hours and even in 24 hours the average reading was still 60 points higher than 24 hours ago. So, drop the wheat products and your A1C vastly improves.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:27 | Report abuse |
    • gniz

      When I was 220 pounds and playing linebacker in college, I didn't drink diet drinks. I didn't need to. Now that I have gained 20 pounds and lost 20 pounds of muscle, I drink them because I feel I have to. My observation is that people order a quarter pounder, large fries, and a large diet Coke because you have to cut back somewhere. The simple math says that drinking diet drinks cut the number of calories you consume over a regular drink. Water, is of course, better. If you are drinking diet soda as end all means of losing weight, take up jogging and stop eating out.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:29 | Report abuse |
    • John

      I'm surprised there still are people in the world who don't know that real sugar is one of the most harmful things one can consume, unless you take in only very minute amounts of it.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:29 | Report abuse |
    • Omar J.

      Robert,

      That is a bit harsh, atlhough it is true for most Americans to be "stupid". Because, we know better and still do wrong... But, the point I wanted to bring up is the submersion of fact and yellow journalism that makes credable resources become looked at as sketchy. Big corporations funding "3rd Parties" to run biased tests to confuse people and allow them a whimsical pyscoloigical backing to continue do what they know, by simple deducation and reasoning, is "stupid".

      All this non-sense of non-issues blurring the reality of a problem. Is abortion the problem, no. Rape, "hook-up sex", sex in general is the problem, nip-it or wrap it, otherwise yes no-one wants the memory of a bad sexual experience with a life long reminder. Same with soda don't drink it, done! Green tea, water... Two differnt situations, same idea, do the right thing.

      And Robert, be nice!

      July 10, 2013 at 22:31 | Report abuse |
  2. YeahRight

    Ignoring the obvious.

    "I'll have the extra large double-burger meal with a side of chili, and a diet coke please."

    July 10, 2013 at 19:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. greg

    As a type 1 diabetic, these findings sound medically irrelevant to me.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brian

      That's exactly what I was thinking. I already don't produce insulin...

      July 10, 2013 at 19:23 | Report abuse |
    • Trish

      I was thinking the exact same thing! Been a type 1 for 15 years now

      July 10, 2013 at 19:35 | Report abuse |
    • Marty

      As a Type 2, this is good news for me. Not only does diet soda not add to my always-high blood sugar level, it actually induces me to produce more insulin to help rid my bloodstream of the existing sugar. It's like Glipizide in a can!

      July 10, 2013 at 20:03 | Report abuse |
    • abcd12

      everything in life is bad for you. And these short studies do not have the facts for everyone.
      And I agree with you 100%.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:26 | Report abuse |
  4. glenda

    People who work out everyday, and watch what they eat, still drop dead every day. When your time is up, you're going to die, and there's no way to get around it. You might as well do a few things, that make you happy while you're here, whether it's Dr. Pepper, Coke, or whatever.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Derp

      Yep. As long as it's within reason and isn't going to cause you noticeably life problems. A burger here and there and a regular coke here and there are fine. Carrying 10 lbs of extra weight is fine too. The issues are when people go into excess, having diabetes, can't fit into their clothes because of weight, having difficulty with health etc. Some things like smoking I think are always bad, but rarely is any somewhat reasonable food going to cause massive problems from occasionally eating.

      Still a good idea to avoid a lot of the cheaper foods and processed stuff. I don't like fast food, because it's really low quality most of the time.

      July 10, 2013 at 19:08 | Report abuse |
    • Doodlebug

      That to me sound like a person not walking on sidewalk by a busy road – but more so on the little white line on the edge. Not really -in- the road where they will get hit – but not completely out of the road either.

      July 10, 2013 at 19:25 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Sure people drop dead everyday who work out and watch what they eat... but if they smoked three packs of cigarettes a day and drank twenty-four beers they would drop dead a lot sooner. In other words, when your time is up, it's up depending on how you look after yourself.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:27 | Report abuse |
  5. Judith

    I've never been able to tolerate the taste of diet soda, but I do allow myself a very occasional regular coke. I have noticed that my relatives who drink a lot of diet soda have really packed on the pounds over the years. I'm convinced that "diet soda" is an oxymoron as it does help people lose weight in any way. By lowering my intake of sweets (and I do have a big sweet tooth) I've dropped about 30 pounds in the last couple of years. I think soft drinks should have a special tax added (perhaps 25 cents per 12 pack) to help pay for the healthcare costs of obesity and dental care. Most people could certainly afford an quarter per 12 pack and soda is hardly a "necessary" food product.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tad Smithers

      It has been determined through sound numbers that people who overeat actually cost the healthcare system less. They really do die a lot sooner.

      Given this logic, it turns out, healthy, skinny people should be taxed more.

      July 10, 2013 at 19:45 | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      Thats so cute...thinking that the government would actuallly use that tax to pay for healthcare costs related to obesity. hahaha

      July 10, 2013 at 20:05 | Report abuse |
    • Tad Smithers

      You missed the point with your laughter. It's not the obese that cost more. They die sooner. It's the healthy, skinny people that take forever to die and remain a burden on the healthcare system long into their old age.d

      The obese people actually pay for the healthy people to keep getting heatlhcare as they just continue aging and ailing.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:33 | Report abuse |
  6. JohnnyCanuck

    The study reports that those drinking diet soda are more at risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease but stoke and heart disease are complications of diabetes. What seems to be lacking is the nexus point. Are diabetics (already predisposed to stroke and heart disease) drinking diet soda and skewing the numbers? Is diabetes the cause or diet soda?

    I have diabetes and due in part to using diet drinks, low fat foods, and exercise, have lost 115 lbs and have diabetes in full remission now..

    July 10, 2013 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • HURK!

      Type 2 then huh? 'Cause lawd knows, my defunkt pancreas is not going to produce anything anytime soon.

      July 10, 2013 at 19:54 | Report abuse |
  7. B Nizzle

    I'm shocked to see the people commenting about how they "only" drink 2 diet cokes a day, or even 4 or a 64 ounce. Am I the only one who has a soda about every couple of weeks? Even one a day sounds sickening to me.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doodlebug

      I do not like diet colas, so I simply drank regular colas... many.... many colas, over many many decades.

      It took me a substantial amount of time to wean off coloas to fizzle water, then to sports and health tonics and finally to water. Yes, I drink water now and only drink 1 cola if I go out to eat (which maybe once every 6-7 months). I enjoy it much more, I learned to appreciate water and well.. I learned that colas can be addicting also and I was not very good at limiting myself, so it was best to just not have them around.

      Just a FYI – I finally weaned off chips to fruit and veggies and it took me about the same amount of time. Apparently, I am simply weak when it comes to food and need to not only realize that keep it out reach incase of temptation.

      Not saying colas or chips are bad – only that some of us are unable to keep ourselves in check around them.

      July 10, 2013 at 19:31 | Report abuse |
    • Tad Smithers

      Good job Doodlebug! I'm trying to do the same thing. That damned reward center stuff is real.

      When your cocaine is something you have to have (food), it makes addiction very tough.

      July 10, 2013 at 19:51 | Report abuse |
    • clevercandi

      Personally, I NEVER drink soda, just water – even when I go out to a restaurant. Doctor advised me years ago to stay away from caffeine.

      July 10, 2013 at 21:25 | Report abuse |
  8. DonaldRumsfeld

    I swear to you, Diet Soda is HEALTHY! There is nothing wrong with it. That's why the FDA approves of it!

    July 10, 2013 at 19:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Mad Doc

    Neither the researchers, nor the writer of the article know much about science. For instance, Sterviol, which is the sweet substance from the Stevia plant, is a plant glycoside and glycosides are definitely chemicals. More important to the point of the article, I find it difficult to believe that all of the diverse artificial sweeteners trick the body into releasing insulin. The following is from a Wiki article on Stevia: "With its steviol glycoside extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar,[5] stevia has attracted attention with the rise in demand for low-carbohydrate, low-sugar sweeteners. Because stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose it is attractive to people on carbohydrate-controlled diets."

    July 10, 2013 at 19:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brandon

      I can guarantee the researchers including the author of this paper Dr. Swithers know a little bit about science, Mr. Mad Doc. And given the choice to choose your opinion over Susan's would pick Susan's every day of the week. I suggest you read her paper instead of the news story on CNN and come back with your own analysis.

      July 10, 2013 at 19:58 | Report abuse |
  10. Lee

    all my father drank was Diet Coke...nothing else just Diet Coke. He died of a heart attack 2 years ago and I am still entering Diet Coke reward points from the lids. He was only 70 and so sickly the last 3 years of his life. We tried to get him to switch to water with no avail and the outcome was really just 3 slow, sad years till his heart attack, open heart surgery, 3 months of intensive care, 1 month of rehab and then death. It was awful!

    July 10, 2013 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Daremonai

    It would not be so bad if not for the point that generally your choices are between 'naturally sweetened' and 'artificially sweetened', they put sweet in pretty much everything.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jay

    Ok some of these ppl need to get off their high horses. No one gives a rats ass if you only have a burger and regular soda one a month. Your not a saint, you just eat incredibly boring .

    July 10, 2013 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doodlebug

      I think it's pretty cool if a person can resist the temptation to over-indulge. With many things I could but with coloas and chips... mmmm no. I did eventually replace them but I realize I won't ever be able to have them in my home w/o trying to mindlessly consume them all at once... But atleast I can admit this... I'm glad many can stay strong and limit themselves.. kudos..

      July 10, 2013 at 19:35 | Report abuse |
  13. paulcutlip

    "Natural sweeteners, like Stevia – which has no calories and is 250 times sweeter than regular sugar – is not a chemical"

    Really . . . not a chemical . . . REALLY?

    July 10, 2013 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mavent

      You beat me to it. 🙂 We're supposed to believe a study by a group that doesn't think plants produce chemicals.

      July 10, 2013 at 19:35 | Report abuse |
    • Tad Smithers

      Plants wouldn't produce chemicals if the evil pharmaceutical companies would stop filling them with H2O. 🙂

      July 10, 2013 at 19:53 | Report abuse |
    • paulcutlip

      I'm a working scientist and college prof. I use studies like this in my classes as examples of how to NOT do science. 🙂

      July 10, 2013 at 19:55 | Report abuse |
    • joe

      yeah, i thought the same thing but then i looked it up.. turns out stevia is not a chemical.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:33 | Report abuse |
    • paulcutlip

      I'm going to assume you're kidding . . . but just in case. Its formula is C44 H70 O23 . . And here's a page with it's molecular structure. It most certainly is a chemical. Everything is a chemical.

      http://www.niutang.com/food-ingredients/sweeteners/stevia-reb-a/

      July 10, 2013 at 21:41 | Report abuse |
  14. brianzack

    Give me a break. She's a psychologist.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. biggu

    The relation of diet soda to weight gain is just stupid. If you count the calories you eat and never goes excessive, you will never gain more weight than you want to. And this article doesn't explain at all what causes the other negative effects.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. chris

    so what if someone is Type 1 Diabetic? I control my own insulin levels so am I to assume this report (is it a study?) means nothing to people with Type 1 Diabetes?

    July 10, 2013 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Reasonably

    Shocking news. You are what you eat.

    The for-profit medical community loves you to eat all the garbage that's marketed to you. Enjoy your later years as part of the system.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Jennifer J

    Well B Nizzle, maybe you are the only one who has a soda every couple of weeks. Personally, I never have sodas, diet or otherwise. They are, in my opinion, something of an un-drink.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tad Smithers

      I'm addicted to them. I hate it. It is a type of hell. I have about 4 cans a day.

      July 10, 2013 at 19:54 | Report abuse |
  19. VA

    Here's how I see it. One day something is good for you or okay. The next day, BAM, its really bad for you and you might even get cancer. Eat and drink what you want. But in moderation.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Mavent

    Stevia is "not a chemical"? Yeah, I'm certainly going to take scientific advice from THIS article.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Neils Bohr

    Why does CNN have people with no scientific training writing reviews of scientific literature? Really, natural sweeteners are not chemicals?? What are they made of then, magic and pixie dust?? Of course they're chemicals! The author needs to go back to high school (or middle school) science class and learn about the basic building blocks of our world. Preferably before reviewing scientific articles with no critical eye to methodology at all.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ben

      To answer your first question, because the people with the qualifications to do so usually aren't the least bit interested in writing fluff pieces for CNN, and if they were, they probably couldn't afford to work for what CNN would pay a fluff blogger.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:07 | Report abuse |
  22. Lisa

    Seriously Stevia is not a chemical? Everything is a chemical, water is a chemical as is sugar. They are compounds as a matter of fact. I also lost a ton of weight after switching from regular to diet, then gained some back by changing my diet back to bad habits but not reintroducing regular pop. So take my results as you will.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Eric

      Not everything is a chemical. Light is not a chemical, for example.

      July 10, 2013 at 23:53 | Report abuse |
  23. crustfan

    There seems to be two contradicting mechanisms of action in the article. #1 causes an immediate rise in blood sugar whereas #2 causes a drop.

    1."On a physiological level, this means when diet soda drinkers consume real sugar, the body doesn’t release the hormone that regulates blood sugar and blood pressure."

    2.“The taste of sweet does cause the release of insulin, which lowers blood sugar , and if carbohydrates are not consumed, it causes a drop in blood sugar, which triggers hunger and cravings for sugar,”

    July 10, 2013 at 19:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Michael

    If Diet Soda is so healthy, why does Coke/Pepsico market flavored water?

    July 10, 2013 at 19:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • VoodooMike

      Because some people are too stupid to realize that soda itself is flavoured water? If you'll buy it, they'll sell it, and they'll repackage it to push all your idiot-buttons.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:45 | Report abuse |
  25. Nina

    I knew some models in NYC years ago–none of them drank diet soda. Seems they knew the clue before the scientists.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Dogmatta

    I would really like to know what the author's definition of a chemical is. If stevia is not a chemical what the hell is it??

    July 10, 2013 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Eric

    Some people do have conditions that make weight loss hard. The problem is that it is a KNOWN variable in your diet. DECIDING to eat over the amount your body can burn off just because you have a hindrance is unacceptable. People who are fat eat too much it is really that simple. Excusing it because you have a disease that makes your diet harder is an invalid reason to eat over your daily.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Give Me a Break

      Those conditions are rare compared to the incidence of obesity n the U.S.

      July 10, 2013 at 19:59 | Report abuse |
  28. QuietStormX

    I hate diet sode period. They all taste the same and I hate the latent taste of the fake sugar ( chemicals). I drink regular Coke and soft drinks when I'm thursty or just want the cooling taste of a Coke a cola. And you can drink what you want but not like water from the tap. If you break a sweet to work it off and stay Fit, I see no issues or problems as some claim.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Mike

    Gave up soda last year. It was difficult for me. I can't say I am cured. I still crave them when I think about them. I am sure this article is right about the diet soda.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. charles

    Food industry write the laws and regulations that govern them. Most people who take sodas are on EBT cards and society will pay for their medical care. Why bother?

    July 10, 2013 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Oogie

      "Most people who take sodas are on EBT cards" What planet are you from?

      July 10, 2013 at 20:27 | Report abuse |
  31. Me

    Diet soda drinkers pack on more pounds than regular soda drinkers? Hmm. I guess when I switched to diet coke and went down from 165 lbs to 120 lbs, I was really GAINING?

    Let's see. I drink diet coke now, I am in great health (otherwise, I make my own meals, track my intake of fats, proteins, carbs mostly and exercise daily). I have gone to the doctor and am now in perfect health. Hell, I get sick less often as well! In fact, can not remember the last time I was...

    You're not gaining weight because of diet coke, I hate to tell you. You are gaining weight because switching to diet coke was the only thing you did, rather than eat healthier foods and exercise along with it. If you still stuff your face with sweets, of course you will gain. This is not rocket science. Eat less calories and burn more. That is really as simple as it is.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. grayrain

    So if I don't eat any sugary food, I can drink all the diet soda I want, right?

    A lot of diet soda drinkers consume it because they don't like sugar, or want to avoid it. But if this article is talking about people who consume both, then how does the body get 'tricked' into the false taste of diet, when they're still eating sugary stuff anyway? And they're still consuming regular food anyway, right? The only way I can see the 'cry wolf' thing happening is if someone just drinks diet soda alone for great lengths of time with no food.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. blakenaustin

    Duh. Of course it's harmful. There is zero nutritional value in soft drinks.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. martin

    fitness people have known this for years; if you want to lose weight you have to cut out both sugar and diet soft drinks. they didn't need any studies; they saw it in their own work at gyms.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Give Me a Break

    Used in moderation, and in the right ways, artificial sweeteners can be an aid to reducing caloric intake. The main problem with low- or no-calorie sweeteners is that persistent consumption creates a near insatiable craving for sweets. In turn that craving is not satisfied until the combination of sweet + calories is resolved. The ensuing dietary behavior is often to increase total caloric consumption to satisfy the craving, often with the individual not appreciating what they are doing nutritionally. The best counsel is learn to live with a very moderate or limited consumption of sweets, regardless of that taste element is obtained.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Frank

    The author of the article assumes the diet soda causes bad health, when actually its bad health that causes the person to switch to diet soda.

    July 10, 2013 at 19:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Go IU

    Its from Purdue...who cares?

    July 10, 2013 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Tom

    The problem with this study is that they are studying diet soda drinkers, most of which are OVERWEIGHT and thats WHY they drink diet soda in the first place. I drink diet soda, my blood pressure is fine, and I do not "crave sweets" when I drink it. But if I drink a regular soda, I go into a crazy insulin hunger/sleep phase.

    Once again another BS study.

    July 10, 2013 at 20:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Wow bad writing in this article!

    Quoting the article: "Natural sweeteners, like Stevia – which has no calories and is 250 times sweeter than regular sugar – is not a chemical, but is still a processed extract of a natural plant, and increases your health risks similar to artificial sweeteners."

    I won't point out the obvious grammatical errors here, but can you please tell me how Stevia isn't a chemical? It's made of matter, right?

    July 10, 2013 at 20:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Brooke

    Water and unsweet tea – especially green tea – are the only healthy beverage options. You feel so much better when you cut out sugary and artifically sweetened drinks. Takes about a week or two to stop craving them. After being off sodas for awhile, if you drink one again, it will taste strange.

    July 10, 2013 at 20:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Oogie

      You forgot beer.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:30 | Report abuse |
    • John Whorfin

      Oogie, you mean the beer that contains ethanol, proven to destroy your liver?

      Yep, aspartame is the devil but these same people will go get plastered on the weekend.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:38 | Report abuse |
  41. Martin

    Everything is "chemicals", dude.

    Water is a "chemical". You don't know what words mean.

    July 10, 2013 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Buck

    Now I can feel good about not drinking diet softdrinks. Although my main motivation for not drinking the diet stuff is because the first sip is sweet then after that first taste every subsequent sip tastes weird. Oh well back to good ol' no frills H2O.

    July 10, 2013 at 20:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. steve

    Seriously? Scientific study?? Here's one equally stupid : Rum+water=drunk, Scotch+water=drunk, vodka+water=drunk - common denominator water, therefore water makes your drunk! The diet soda doesn't make fat people fat. Fat people ARE just fat and happen to also drink diet sodas. CALORIES IN vs. CALORIS BURNED makes you fat. Your body's metabolism isn't "FOOLED" by a taste! Maybe your mind is, but your metabolism is a chemical reaction that does not REASON and therfore cannot be fooled, it can only react to the presense of fats or sugars or carbohydrates in your bloodstream

    July 10, 2013 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • attilitus

      Thank you for posting this! This blog post is a deliberately misinformative piece of "poor journalism." The bloody report written by Swithers actually talks about how there is no physiological reaction to artificial sweeteners. Why this blog post claims otherwise, and why Swither's quotes seem to claim otherwise is a total mystery to me. My hypothesis include that the blog author is completely misquoting Swithers, or that both the blog article and Swithers don't care about the truth and think they can get away with more lies in a CNN article than they can get away with in a published report.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:34 | Report abuse |
  44. Jeff6187

    I'm an avid diet soda consumer. The major reason being hypo / hyper glycemia. Sweetened drinks, in fact most sweets, make me very lethargic. Diet sodas do not. But being somewhat health conscious, I do care about the current state of the art knowledge regarding sodas and foods is. I wish the article had mentioned how much is how safe, what the best alternatives are, etc. Sure, some say "that should be obvious", but then again so was the idea that diet soda is better than sugared soda.

    July 10, 2013 at 20:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. John Whorfin

    This article, and the opinion piece it is based on is pure junk science. Correlation does not equal causation.

    This is actually a dangerous article. It will mislead many obese people to continue drinking their regular soda, when in fact diet soda has not been proven in DBT to have any of the effects mentioned in the opinion piece from Susan Swithers.

    July 10, 2013 at 20:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Oogie

      "This is actually a dangerous article." "Correlation does not equal causation." Make up your mind.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:33 | Report abuse |
    • VoodooMike

      @oogie – you need to work on your mind if you think the two are mutually exclusive. Any article that declares causation based solely on correlation IS DANGEROUS because the average reader doesn't understand the logical fallacy, and may act on the bad information. In theory it is the responsibility of a publisher (be they a researcher or journalist) to ensure to the best of their ability that they are telling the truth to the reader. CNN has, more and more, been erring on the side of fast-and-sloppy journalism rather than steady-and-accurate journalism.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:42 | Report abuse |
  46. Me

    Forget the diet drinks. The radiation from the computer is killing you slowly along with smartphones too close to your ear, and emissions from the car, and global warming, and insecticides/pesticides, and unknown baceteria/viruses from foreigners and sun rays penetrating your skin, and stress levels that lower your immune system.

    I feel hopeless like Charlie Brown. Rats!

    July 10, 2013 at 20:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Oogie

      All that stuff must actually increase longevity. People are getting older and older all the time. Pfffft.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:34 | Report abuse |
  47. DrSmart

    If you have access to Medline, you can find hundreds of bonfide well-controlled blinded and properly sample-randomized studies that debunk this "report." Shame on CNN for shining light on this drivel. By no means is diet soda great nutritionally, but there is a mountain of overwhelming evidence that it does not affect your metabolism.

    July 10, 2013 at 20:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Argh

    Aspartame causes many illnesses from cancer to blindness in extreme cases

    July 10, 2013 at 20:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • VoodooMike

      According to whom, the sugar producers? You need to consider your sources! The FDA tested aspartame on animals in doses equivalent to drinking 70 sodas a day for your entire life, and found no significant health impact. The claims that aspartame causes cancer are in the realm of kidney thief stories.

      July 10, 2013 at 20:38 | Report abuse |
  49. VoodooMike

    The report initially mentioned is a meta-analysis of several studies, but is not itself direct research... yet this article segues into unspecified "researchers say" which is a bait and switch. As has been stated, correlation does not equal causation, and this article is trying very hard to declare specific causation. It is junk journalism.

    July 10, 2013 at 20:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Skeptimist

    Y'all may be complicating simplicity. I read Huckleberry Finn when I was 12 and I've followed his approach ever since. I eat whatever I can find that I like and forget it. Then my insides take over and figure out whatever happens next. I have no idea what I weigh but my clothes fit. I have no idea what anyone else should weigh or what they should eat and can't imagine why they would ask me.

    July 10, 2013 at 20:38 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.