Doctor's Note

In both Aspartame-Induced Fibromyalgia and Diet Soda and Preterm Birth, some concerns were raised about the artificial sweetener aspartame. But, erythritol was given a pass in Erythritol May Be a Sweet Antioxidant. I’ll go through the other two potential harms arising even from harmless, low-calorie sweeteners in Neurobiology of Artificial Sweeteners and Unsweetening the Diet.

For more context, check out my associated blog post: How to Gain Weight on Diet Soda.

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  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    Your introductory image says it all:
    Diet coke with a Greasy fried, ground cow carcass and a plate full of (I’m sure) “healthy” peanut oil deep fried fries.
    That Diet Coke reassures me that I’m doing a good thing by watching my sugar intake so therefore I can up the fat– and fat– and fat intake. Atkins has taught them well!

  • R Ian Flett

    There is another aspect here. I read some years ago that the insulin production system is anticipatory. When sweetness is detected on the tongue the insulin production system cranks up immediately, but when the diet soda hits the digestive system there is no sugar to process, so there is just a surplus of insulin that then affects appetite. False messages simply have bad consequences. I suspect that some other artificial flavourings also give false signals to the digestive system.

    • KD

      I have heard this, too. All I know is that when I have a Diet Coke (which I LOOOOVE), it always makes me absolutely starving in a while – like, gonna-pass-out kind of hungry.

  • Andrea

    I Thank God for you, Dr. Greger, for ALL you do. Hawaii Veg Society had mentioned you’d be back in Honolulu next Spring. I am delighted!! God Bless you!

  • I’m not saying diet pop is healthy but having a few diet pops a week while doing a Mcdougall diet is not going to have any weight impact. Even as vegans we need to be consistent with our ability to understand and quote the science.

  • Gail Mandich Wautlet

    I don’t feel well after consuming diet sodas and I think I’ve connected it to the citric acid they contain. I’m sticking with water. Who knows what that acid does over time.

  • Han

    There is another mechanism which has been studied and found to be in effect: Three teams of people chopping sugar cane. The first got to drink water, the second sugar water, the third got to flush with sugar water.

    The third group performed best. The theory: Group 1 didn’t get carbs so the body signalled to take it easy. Group 2: The body got carbs but had to digest them causing it in another way to take it easy. Group 3’s bodies got the signal carbs were coming but didn’t have to digest them, thus more energy was given than was gotten.

    Sounds like a miracle solution, doesn’t it? Yes, but there’s a catch. Your body expected something but didn’t get it which resulted in energy mismanagement and confusion. And exactly this confusion causes people who eat diet coke to overeat.

  • Tim

    I still believe the biggest influence around nutrition comes down to the psychology of someone’s mind and the influencing factors which surround and compound us. We have marketing and media, our immediate social and work environment, the growing distrust in science and preference given to anecdotal evidence or pseudoscience; all of which manipulate our ability to make logical decisions

  • What about sugar alcohols that are used in some protein bars that I consume? Is it good, bad or indifferent as far as keeping on the pounds that I’m trying to lose? I try to eat whole plant based foods, but sometimes when I’m on the go a good protein bar can tide me over until I can sit down for a meal.

    • Rami Najjar – NF Moderator

      Try larabars over protein bars, much healthier for you!

  • peter mainwald

    I am surprised that there is no mention of the effect of aspartame on the production of serotonin in our brains. ( edit,,, there is… its just in other videos). By interfering with serotonin production, our bodies carbohydrate regulatory mechanism is thrown off which combined with the increase in insulin but lack of carbs to match it up, we get a double whammy and our appetite increases. Now… add the fact that caffeine increases blood glucose AND Insulin levels, without the corresponding exercise or increase in metabolism, we then have a triple whammy of increased appetite, increased intake of calories, increase of insulin and blood glucose production and of course the resulting increase in FAT storage.. which then decreases insulin sensitivity.. and that leads to increased insulin production which leads to…. Get the idea? A perfect vicious cycle of a storm.

  • Ryo Adachi

    In my childhood, I have heard that soda can cause serious bone loss and ostioporosis. If so I’d like to know why and how.

    • Caroline

      The phosphoric acid in soda leaches the calcium from.bones and makes them less dense. So I’ve heard.