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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 (794 Responses)
  1. CT

    Aspartame/NutraSweet was originally created as a rat poison, with high amounts of wood alcohol that rot the brain. When other poisons proved more effective, they dilluted the stuff and began to use it as an artificial sweetner. There's no proven link yet, but some doctors believe the trace amounts of wood alcohol in most diet sodas - which your body cannot break down - are a cause of Alzheimer's.

    This info is from my chiropractor uncle who has a slightly slanted view on science, so take it for what it's worth. Just thought I'd through it out there as a companion to this article on diet soda not being as good as advertised.

    July 11, 2013 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      "Aspartame/NutraSweet was originally created as a rat poison"

      No, this is an urban myth. A variant traces Aspartame's history to ant poison. Neither are true.

      Aspartame was originally developed as an anit-ulcer drug, and was developed as a sweetener when its sweet taste was noted during normal trials.

      July 11, 2013 at 11:28 | Report abuse |
    • JC

      "This info is from my chiropractor uncle"

      Not your chiroprator's uncles friends cousins doctor?

      July 11, 2013 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
    • harpomang

      "Wood alcohol" sounds like something a chiropractor would say...

      July 11, 2013 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
    • rh

      Yeah, you must be correct, you wrote it on the Internet.

      July 11, 2013 at 13:27 | Report abuse |
    • Gern Blanston

      Aspartame (Nutrasweet) has been linked to a dangerous drop in serotonin by the NIH – wonder why you feel depressed after drinking cans of this stuff? – and most recently a longterm study from Harvard linked it to leukemia and lymphoma. To say nothing of what diet soda does to your teeth – root canals are no fun, I assure you. Why on earth would anyone take the risk?

      This stuff should not be omnipresent and it would not be were its manufacturers not shoveling money into Congress, like every other megacorporation and special interest.

      Links: NIH study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2442082

      Discussion of Harvard study linking aspartame (Nutrasweet) to leukemia:
      http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/11/07/aspartame-causes-blood-cancer.aspx

      July 11, 2013 at 13:38 | Report abuse |
    • SuperDave

      Oh, from a Chiropractor. Then this is not from a doctor.

      July 11, 2013 at 13:57 | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Wait....soda?....bad for you??...and that's a.....surprise?!?!? hahahahhahahaha

      July 11, 2013 at 15:23 | Report abuse |
  2. Grainboy

    Unfortunately, this CNN article and Susan Swither's Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism article are very selective in their reporting of the scientific literature. There are numerous papers published over decades and currently that do not support Dr. Swithers hypothesis. Regardless of the controversy over whether artificial sweeteners cause these effects on metabolism, it is absolutely crystal clear that overconsumption of sugar substantially increases risk for obesity and metabolic disease, and almost certainly is a major contributer to the obesity epidemic.

    July 11, 2013 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      Great response. Remember also that this research was done at Purdue. Hmmm, Indiana. Hmmm, Corn Country. Hmmm, High Fructose Corn Syrup.

      Any questions?

      July 11, 2013 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Bob: The results on diet soda may be real, however there wasn't much compare and contrast with Corn Syrup vs. Cane Sugar. I have found soda with Cane Sugar will tend to make me feel full after I drink it, Not really craving more. Corn Syrup may have a similar effect that Artificial Sweeteners have. It tastes like the sugar your body knows how to process but it isn't quite that.

      The biggest change in Soda and obesity was the move from Cane Sugar to Corn Syrup, as well the creation of Diet Soda's

      July 11, 2013 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • Yacko

      There is also another reason for the questionable research. This is a study of studies, not original research. This is something becoming more and more common, this sifting the entrails of previously separate research to divine new trends. Big data is hip and everybody wants to find the sweater thread that when pulled on unravels and reveals a simple answer. For the most part this is nothing but solitary navel gazing.

      July 11, 2013 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
    • griffbos

      She might have a point in her report, I lived in South America for a while and there diet soda is not as widely drank, while living there I managed to lose 30 pounds, yet a year back in the States and drinking diet soda I have gained all that weight back and more, and she is not the first to say diet soda is bad after drinking 2 or more 8 oz glasses of diet soda I find myself starving , I never had then while drinking regular soda........

      July 11, 2013 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
    • conrad

      All I know is that when I consume anything with Nutrasweet I feel very sick like I have a hangover and can't breath as easily the next day. I don't need the mfg or a scientific report to tell me that there is something wrong with it. It took me a while to figure out what was making me feel that way, but after many months of trial and error and food elimination I'm certain that Nurtrasweet is the culprit. I never touch the stuff and have no symptoms now. I'm no hippy, but I'm convinced eating food and beverages that are as natural as possible really is the best for us. I mean, if you think about it we did evolve over millions of years eating only what the earth provides. I don't believe our bodies are primed to tolerate the chemical slurry we are expected to think of as food.

      July 11, 2013 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Ha, says GRAINBOY.

      July 11, 2013 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
  3. Doug C

    I'd be willing to bet that this study, like one run a couple of years ago by I believe Harvard (don't quote me on that), does not take into account that most of the people they spoke with drank the full sugar version most of their lives, and only switched to diet in their later years. Thus any results would be skewed.

    July 11, 2013 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mr. Hand

      Sorry, but I'm going to quote you on this. "Doug C" said it was so. Get ready for the backlash.

      July 11, 2013 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
    • griffbos

      sorry i disagree I have drank diet soda for over 20 years and am thinking she might be right as I didn;t have weight issues when living overseas and drinking regular soda for 4 years, in fact lost weight , but I also don;t think it is the whole picture to over wieghness, I think in the States we use to many chemicals in our food to prolong it;s shelf life, and I think that is the real issue and since fake sugar is a chemical that is part of it............

      July 11, 2013 at 14:40 | Report abuse |
    • Suralin

      Here's the thing. Real-sugar sodas were hard to find in the US market between 1988 or so (depending on the brand) and the (re)introduction of Throwback in 2009, because HFCS replaced sugar across the board. (I did once find a vending machine in a Massachusetts motel that had old-formula Sprite in late 1993, tho.)

      I'd be extremely surprised if the majority of testers went out of their way to get real-sugar sodas during that time period, as they'd have been significantly more expensive than the usual fare.

      July 11, 2013 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
  4. Francis

    I am happy this came out. Atleast, it will help people mind the way they consume diet soda especially those who want to lose weight. But, lets hope swither is right.

    July 11, 2013 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rh

      You base your life on what the researchers themselves call an "opinion piece"?

      July 11, 2013 at 13:28 | Report abuse |
  5. anon

    I've suspected artificial sweeteners were worse for your health then regular sugar for years. As have many of the other "nuts" out there. But no one listens to the conspirator nut cases, and when something finally does turn out to be true, then it is totally forgotten that the nut cases said it first.

    Well that's human nature for you. Easy to forget. Always trying to cheat and scheme around what is natural, and always looking for the easier, softer way.

    If sugars a problem for you, then just cut way back on the sugar.

    July 11, 2013 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • anon

      For me it really depends on the reasoning behind the arguments of a "nut." If you were totally right about something for completely the wrong reasons then I might hold your opinion in no higher value than if you had been completely wrong. Being cautious is fine, proselytizing something without a sound scientific backing is not. I believe that being skeptical is almost always a good thing, as long as you agree to listen to the science when it passes your threshold for proof and don't hold anything as a sacred cow.

      For an example of the sacred cow, a lot of "nuts" claim that anything natural is good. While this may often be the case, it has been proven that sugar is actually really bad for us. Numerous studies have shown that sugar consumption can be one of the root causes of metabolic diseases. Humans simply did not evolve to eat sugar as a consistent part of our diet, instead it was a very rare food that we used to trigger binging and weight gain to survive tough seasons.

      July 11, 2013 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • other anon

      A "nut" to me is anyone whom the majority considers weird or "out there" in some way. In other words, those who REALLY don't fit in. Sometimes they are right, and sometimes they are wrong about these conspiracy things. If you disregard someone who is always right just because you don't agree with their reasons, then that is a bit foolish in my opinion. After all, when it comes right down to it, right is right.

      You're right about too much sugar in our society. We've grown fat, soft and downright spoiled. It has in turn severely affected our character, and honor as a society, which has caused all these other things to just snowball. I don't know if the abundance caused the weakness, or if the fat has caused the societal weakness. Kind of like which came first, the chicken or the egg?

      July 11, 2013 at 13:46 | Report abuse |
    • conrad

      Our bodies evolved over millions of years of evolution consuming nothing but what was directly produced by the earth alone. Why would anyone assume an artifically created slurry of chemicals is something we'd benefit from, or could consume without negative consequences?

      July 11, 2013 at 19:08 | Report abuse |
  6. kurtinco

    Yet another example of how the industrilization and corportization of our food creates more problems then they solve.

    July 11, 2013 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chaos

      Ah yes, its the corporate boogieman's fault. Not those who decide what to consume.

      July 11, 2013 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Food is related to income, where you live, social class, culture, what's available in your area, and a number other of things. Food companies who put out garbage are most definitely contributing to these problems. The "corporate boogyman" is exactly that in this case.

      July 11, 2013 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
    • conrad

      Chaos,
      When something is sold as healthy and 'natural', but then turns out not to be it isn't the consumer's fault. If I were to make brownies with poison in them and then sold them to people I couldn't blame them for getting sick because they ate them. Besides, the diet soda industry has long sold their product as 'calorie free' – something to consumed as a way of maintaining your figure.

      July 11, 2013 at 19:11 | Report abuse |
  7. tasteofreality

    Nothing that has been around for hundreds of year cannot be that bad. Sugarcane has and that will always be my choice. Regular Raw Sugar over any fake stuff.

    July 11, 2013 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JD

      Just like tobacco and opium I guess.

      July 11, 2013 at 11:41 | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      I love organic, natural things. That is why I where cloths made out of asbestos; I only where organic.

      July 11, 2013 at 12:48 | Report abuse |
    • AJL

      Unfortunately, most non-diet soft drinks these days are not sweetened with cane sugar but with high-fructose corn syrup.

      July 11, 2013 at 12:49 | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      damn my swype text. WEAR. I try to be funny and I hit submit and it spellchecks me every time. This ducking thing.

      July 11, 2013 at 12:54 | Report abuse |
    • anon

      Tobacco and opium are no different then anything else. It is the AMOUNT that is used. My husband is very strange in that he can take just a few puffs off a cigarette then toss it aside and not touch another one for months. Most aren't so lucky and have a downright addiction to it. THAT addiction is why the cancer rate is so high; they smoke way too much. Same thing with obesity, cancer and fat and sugar consumption. These are all addictive, though some more so than others.

      Opium was the pain reliever used in the old days before modern medicine. It could be abused, but for the most part, it was a GOOD thing. Thats why Karl Marx's quote on the opium for the masses concerning religion is taken totally out of context. He meant it as complimentary. It was abused, but also desperately needed.

      July 11, 2013 at 13:51 | Report abuse |
  8. TLORop

    Id like to know the details of the study. I was once a fat person, Borderline obese really. One of the ways I lost weight was by covertly watching people shop. I payed attention to what people who looked like me put in their cart. Then I payed attention to what thin people put into their cart. They broke down into 4 groups. Overweight people who try to eat healthy, and who don't try to eat healthy. Thin people who eat healthy, and who don't eat healthy. I noticed that a majority of overweight people who buy diet soda also buy chips cookies and cake. Even the overweight people who are trying to eat healthy tend to but baked chips, fat free cookies and lots of processed foods. Thin people who eat healthy even the ones who use artificial sweeteners tend to buy fresh foods; fruit, vegitables, lean meats. They rarely buy frozen foods. And they do allow themselves a small vice like a candy bar or soda.

    July 11, 2013 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lee S

      Ill take a big mac value meal with a diet coke. SUPERSIZED!

      July 11, 2013 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
    • TLORop

      They may as well call it OBESE sized.

      July 11, 2013 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
    • Latter-Day Haint

      That's very helpful. Really.

      July 11, 2013 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
    • Grant Z

      Great post

      July 11, 2013 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Yeah, thats a fact. If you want to loose weight you have to ditch the snacks. You get more then enough calories from eating your main meals for the day, snacks are just piling on.

      July 11, 2013 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
    • Robert55

      The US has become a fat nation. Sadly. Diet soda, regular soda they both are terrible. You know neither are good for you. Drink water, fresh juice and eat whole foods....period. Your body will start to crave the healthy choices as it adapts. Your body craves whatever you give it. Unfortunately, many have been conditioned from when they were little with bad over processed food and juice habits. I have an overweight brother and two slender sisters. Most fat people are just lazy and have bad habits with a small portion having thyroid or other genetic issues leading to being overweight. I dont want to pay for all the fat people with medical issues in the long run. So if you are fat, wake up and change your life for you and the rest of us who will have to pay for you if you dont. thanks.

      July 11, 2013 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
  9. Lee S

    D'uh?

    July 11, 2013 at 11:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Lee S

    Here is an earth shattering ground braking, never before heard of idea. If youre fat, dot drink soda. Thank me later.

    July 11, 2013 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Theseus

    Uh, no sht! As I've seen others already remark, Aspartame!. Just look at all the bottles and your gum and you'll see how prevalent it is everywhere. Not just diet soda's either. It can be found in many flavored waters.

    July 11, 2013 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Lucie47

    I don't know. I dropped 25 lbs. and reversed my "pre-diabetes" diagnosis simply by cutting out all sugar-laden drinks and sweets and switching my flavored drinks and sodas to those that are artifiically sweetened ( Splenda is my preferred sweetener. ) I also use Splenda in my coffee and tea. Everything in moderation. I would never over-indulge in stuff, but I'm not buying the informaion here that is being reported by CNN as "facts." I take this "study" with a grain of [sugar].

    July 11, 2013 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JD

      Wait, I'm not a big CNN-phile, but let's be clear that they never called anything "facts." They called it an "opinion piece" in the second paragraph. And they even gave the counter-opinion by the beverage association. So I think this is decent reporting. Nevertheless, I'm glad you're taking this with a "grain of sugar."

      July 11, 2013 at 11:48 | Report abuse |
    • WarhammerTwo

      That's EXACTLY how I lost my weight, Lucie! I was a Snapple Iced Tea addict years ago. I drank, like, 6 to 8 a day. At 300 calories a bottle, I was consuming more than a typical daily allowance of calories, just in BEVERAGES! Granted, when I was younger, my metabolism demolished those calories, but as I got older and the metabolism slowed down – BOOM! Weight gain.

      About 10 years ago, I switched over to unsweetened iced tea that I sweeten with Splenda, Fruit2O and water. This, along with counting out and sticking to the recommended portion sizes of my sweet and salty snacks, allowed me to drop 30 pounds. No exercise required.

      When I started exercising, I dropped another 20 pounds. I'm 6'4" and went from 250 lbs to 200 lbs. When my kids were born, exercise went out the window and I went back up to about 220. two years ago as I my kids got a little older and I had more free time, my wife and I started going to the gym. I'm now back down to 210, and still dropping.

      So, yeah, Splenda has been a real lifesaver for me. I know anecdotal evidence isn't real evidence, but still, it worked for me. So, at least in my case, I call shenanigans on their study.

      July 11, 2013 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
  13. Bob

    This study was done at Purdue. Hmmm. Indiana. Hmmm. Corn country. Hmmm. High Fructose Corn Syrup.

    Everyone needs to realize that diet soda drinkers are different than regular soda drinkers in many, many ways. First, people drink diet soda because they are already over weight. Maybe it's a thyroid issue. Maybe they have joint issues that preclude exercise. Maybe they have some other health issue that has lead them to drinking diet soda (Look – it's POP where I come from). Diet POP drinkers also tend to be hyper about how they look. Not healthy.

    Personally, after going through a graduate program in wellness and reading hundreds of peer reviewed articles about the negative health impacts of sugar, I'm sticking with diet.

    July 11, 2013 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. docBob

    This is crap science. I drink diet drinks to keep the calories away. If I have a diet Coke and 5 pancakes smothered with butter and syrup- I am going to get fat. Only an idiot would not understand this. This is not science- its observation that people are in denial about their eating habits.

    July 11, 2013 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. CAIT

    Artifical sugar is dangerous, even if doesn't actually override the body's insulin process. There's been many forms: saccarin, aspartame, nutrisweet, and the pheylketoneurics/phenylalanine (spelling is probably wrong)in current diet sodas. Some cause allergic reaction, some trigger awful migranes (as in my case), some may increase cancer risks, the list goes on. Plus they taste disgusting. People condemn refined sugar or HFCS, but then drink that mess? Yeah, because THAT is not overprocessed and chemically altered... Occassionally drinking regular sodas don't do anything like that, just be reasonable with consumption.

    July 11, 2013 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Tami

    I was a regular drinker of diet soda. i did notice that when i drank regular soda ,I could tell a big difference than when i drank diet soda... In February I stopped drinking it all together, I am not as hungry it was easier for me to change my eating habits to help me lose more weight without the cravings I had when I drank it. I am down 75lbs. I honestly believe that If I had not stopped drinking the soda I would still be the same weight as before, or more.

    July 11, 2013 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. CAIT

    Try a Topo Chico with lime, its deliciously refreshing like a soda but has extremely low calories. Or if you need a little more sweetness, mix seltzer/sparkling mineral water with a splash of juice. It might have more caloriesand sugar than the Topo, but at least there's health benefits in juice. Definitely better that downing pure sugar water.

    July 11, 2013 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. HurpusDurpus

    I never drink diet sodas anyway. Regular soda all the way. Diet coca cola, caffeine free diet coca cola, coke zero, diet pepsi, have you ever drank any of those? They're disgusting. I'd rather drink water than drink a diet soda.

    July 11, 2013 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. erin

    Please some one give me the source of this research !!!??

    July 11, 2013 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Lenny

    Guys, read the true story behind Aspartame. The man who made it legal to use Aspartame is none other than Dick Cheney because his company owned the patents!

    July 11, 2013 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. nikkifrancois

    Reblogged this on My Life as Nikki and commented:
    Exactly what I've always said.

    July 11, 2013 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. JodiAriasYoAss

    I knew about how bad it can cause since it came out in 70's
    Tell me something I don't know....

    July 11, 2013 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. dobear

    As they say in science, "correlation is not causation".

    July 11, 2013 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Meg

    I am a Diet Coke drinker only. I do not like regular Coke or Pepsi (they give me a headache). I drink Diet Coke because I like the bubbles and the taste. I also have a thyroid condition, but my weight is within a healthy range. I take medication daily and will for the rest of my life. I work hard at keeping my weight in check, but do not see myself giving up my diet soda. It is true, the majority of overweight people are simply lazy and over eat. Before my thyroid diagnosis, I was one of those people. But I am proof that you are able to get it under control...you just have to really want it and stop making excuses. Period.

    July 11, 2013 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. JJ

    good and soda should never be said together in the same sentence...its all junk

    July 11, 2013 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Jeff

    Bummer, so what are we suppose to drink then. Ice Tea sure, but I put sweet n low in that too.

    July 11, 2013 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robert55

      try water and fresh unprocessed juice. whole foods while your at it if you truly care about yourself if not just keep doing what your doing.

      July 11, 2013 at 15:07 | Report abuse |
  27. Runner

    I am a little tired of all this discussion about diet and dieting to lose weight. The solution is exercise. When I gained about 30 pounds, I took up running. Slowly and over short distances, until I built up to 7 miles a day, 5 days a week. If you get up over five miles four times a week (and this is suprisingly easy to do because running is so addictive), you can eat anything you darn well please. And no, no other exercise is as good. I could spend three hours at the gym and not get the same amount of exercise I do running for an hour. And running is addictive, so it's the only exercise you actually want to continue to do.

    I think people should know–if you want to lose weight, it's not about dieting, it's about running. Buy good shoes and insoles, and you will have no injuries (I alternate shoes and it completely got rid of pain in my ITB band which a sports doctor told me I needed physical therapy for), but the pounds will drop off once you hit at least five miles. It is surprisingly easy once you take the first step.

    July 11, 2013 at 13:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cyclist

      The only running human beings should be doing is from zombies... Cycling is superior.

      July 11, 2013 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
    • Robert55

      Its diet AND exercise. The mirror is not the judge of true health, other wise you could smoke crack and drop the weight. Whole foods people and moderate exercise.

      July 11, 2013 at 15:12 | Report abuse |
    • Get Fit

      Running is totally addictive! In January I could maybe jog 2 minutes and I was totally out of breath...but now I'm running 7 miles at a time and training for my first half marathon. Exercise is so important, but I do feel that it isn't all about the exercise...you need to fuel your body properly. Yes, everyone has their moments where we are going to splurge! But that's a part of life! Enjoy it! Moderation is key! And Aspartame makes me feel like crap and it's in a LOT of items...sodas, light yogurts, sparkling water drinks, read your labels people! And if you are going to enjoy a soda, why go for diet? They taste like crap! Go for the glass bottled liter of Coke from Mexico...they still use sugar and not corn syrup!

      July 11, 2013 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
  28. cjacja

    Could it be that people who drink diet soda are overweight because only people concerned with their weight (and on a diet) but diet soda.

    I'd like to write a study that shows how women's clothing makes them fat. All those who buy size 18 or larger dresses are over weight. Obviously the dress somehow caused the weight. OK, I'm not serious but you see how one thing may not cause the other even if we see them 100% together. Perhaps only a certain kind of person likes and buys diet soda.

    They call it selection bias and it is a problem in all kinds of research, it is hard to eliminate

    July 11, 2013 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John Adams

      Or maybe because theyre constantly ingesting high fructose corn syrup thinking theyre gaining some sort of health benefit?

      July 11, 2013 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
  29. Deaux

    This just in:

    Sunscreen Causes Melanoma.

    July 11, 2013 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. MannyO

    Stay away from Aspartame; if you do, you will see that you will be able to climb your stairs free of pains, your teeth and gum is healthier – no more gum bleed. if you currently experience deblitating nightly leg spasm it will be gone. That is what I did; I stopped using egual and all artificial sweetners, stopped drinking all diet stuff plus mountaindew, orange sodas and some sports drinks; I also stopped chewing all brand of gums, use Tic tac instead. Read the label and use your head my friends, I'm healthier and can fly up my stairs today because I did.

    July 11, 2013 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. John Adams

    "less harm than good"

    Did we forget that Sodas and highfructose corn syrup is BAD? Soda doesnt bring any good; never had never will. it doesnt even rehydrate you (in fact it does the opposite)!

    Americans love to pass the buck onto something, as long as its not with them. Americans are obese because your diet consists of fast food, preserved foods, and GMOs. A bag of big macs and sodas is actually considered to be dinner! All while sitting infront oft he TV to watch BS distractions like the Bacholerette.

    Eliminate GMOs and fast food. and youll lose tremendous weight. Light exercise would take care of the rest in most cases.

    Not only will you look better, youll physically feel cleaner and void of toxins and poisons in your body. your mind will be more clear and functioning. Many of your life long health problems will completely subside. Your TV shows will start to seem more and more stupid and pointless and you WILL pickup more interesting and mentally/physically invigorating hobbies.

    July 11, 2013 at 13:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. sanjosemike

    BTW, Fresca has a substance in it called "Glycerol esters of wood rosin."

    According to Wikipedia it is a kind of "stabilizing" agent. Ordinary water however, has no such need for "stabilization."

    ummm...no thanks man...

    sanjosemike

    July 11, 2013 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. pmlreynolds

    I don't know about this. Wouldn't the results be skewed because of who would be looking to drink diet soda? People who are overweight or have diabetes, of course.

    July 11, 2013 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. JuJu

    Suck it Matt Lauer!

    July 11, 2013 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. JuJu

    S*ck it Matt Lauer!

    July 11, 2013 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. JenniferC

    I drink Diet Coke daily. I know I know I call it Diet Stroke. Also I drink a lot of coffee and when I have finally had enough caffeine, I switch over to carbonated water, or wine or beer. I try to get moderate daily exercise and watch my caloric intake, but have a sweet tooth and do indulge too much if I am not carefully watching calories. That being said, I don't like the taste of plain water as it reminds me of toilet water and vomiting experiences. So there's that. Also, cousins in my genetic gene pool who drink regular soda for quenching their thirst are really severely obese. So you can't convince me that diet is not marginally better than non-diet. You just can't take it for granted. A diet coke and a Whopper are not going to cancel each other out. I know one lady, marathon runner who for the past ten years indulges in one can of regular coca cola each morning because she doesn't like coffee. She is fairly, if not completely, anorexic in her vegetarian diet. So, that one indulgence really doesn't result in obesity because she watches her total caloric intake.

    July 11, 2013 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. jim

    When I go to the movies, or a fast food place (which is very infrequent) I ask them to mix my drink half diet and half regular. That way you immediately cut the calories in half, and it tastes exactly the same as a regular drink.That would seem a reasonable compromise to the problems described for both types of drink.

    July 11, 2013 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jo

      Either that, or you get the worst of both worlds...

      July 12, 2013 at 09:44 | Report abuse |
  38. bisonlogic

    Try seltzer! You can buy it in cans and it's much cheaper than soda. ... and much more refreshing.

    July 11, 2013 at 15:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. eymardcm

    But they told us that diet soda was better for us, and like a fool I believed. Could it be that what they tell us about how BAD cannabis is is false as well?

    July 11, 2013 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. cafemoi

    Removing one source of sugar does not remove all sources of sugar. Participants very likely continue eating SADly and make up for lost calories in "healthy" whole grains, fruits, and veggies. But sugar is sugar, regardless of the source. Limit diets to 7% saturated fat and it doesn't matter what you eat, you will fail.

    July 11, 2013 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Travis

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

    Of course they would say that. If it comes out that diet soda isn't good for you either, sales will drop.

    July 11, 2013 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Matt

    I'm sorry, but this is nonsense. There may be health conerns in drinking diet soda, but being fat is not one of them. People drink the stuff because they are ALREADY FAT. They have the cause and effect backwards. Of course they are going to have health concerns about being fat, because they are ALREADY FAT. All they are really saying is that one set of fat people have the same health issues as another set of fat people.

    They do not get FAT from drinking diet soda. They were ALREADY FAT.

    July 11, 2013 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Bob's Face

    Wait, the 300LB lady at McDs getting a supersized double quarter pounder with a diet coke is actually fat because of the diet coke and not the McD DQP?

    I love how the nut jobs immediately feel vindicated despite mountains of evidence against them when someone rights an uncorraborated opinion piece in their favor...there's a reason we know your a nut job.

    July 11, 2013 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. MysteriaKiito

    Well duh. If you drink diet soda but don't cut back on other junk food of course you don't lose weight. If you drink diet soda and also restrict your junk food intake it works well to cut the amount of calories you ingest. But if you order large fries and a cheeseburger with that diet soda you WILL get fat. It's a no brainer.

    July 11, 2013 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. EdL

    Great day in the morning! Another 'study' by 'researchers' How fortunate we all are, also how fortunate 'researchers' are who are paid no matter how silly their 'studies' might be.

    July 11, 2013 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Tim

    Aspartame was originally developed as a rocket fuel.

    July 11, 2013 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. barbara

    This Susan Swithers study was done in rats! Use your brains. Drinking a diet coke instead of a 170 calorie HFCS sweetened one does not give you license to eat a 300 calorie piece of cake. I'm personally much more capable of analyzing my actions than Swither's &^^%$$ rats!

    Similarly, artificially sweetened BigGulps are much preferable to the sucrose or HFCS sweetened BigGulp.

    July 11, 2013 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. bud

    Your body doesn't understand going without sugar?.....Wouldn't that presuppose that your not eating any sugar at all.....As long as your still eating sugar in other foods your body would still be getting regular sugar....

    July 11, 2013 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Maureen Beach

    As we’ve said, the vast body of science on this subject does not support the opinion piece featured in this article. In fact, these claims blatantly ignore a number of key studies that prove the safety of low- and no-calorie sweeteners, as well as acknowledge the benefits of these sweeteners when it comes to weight management. Furthermore, leading regulatory agencies (i.e., the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Food Safety Authority, etc.) and health groups approve these ingredients. Bottom line: consumers should have every confidence in the safety of diet soft drinks.

    -Maureen Beach, American Beverage Association

    July 11, 2013 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. keithmoore1

    Isn't the real moral of the story that anything that strays too far from caveman diets (that is, mysterious chemicals, processed foods, etc.) be consumed sparingly? The only liquid that should be consumed regularly is water...which unfortunately needs to be filtered.

    July 11, 2013 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
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