Will diet soda make me fat?

No, diet soda itself will not make you fat. Diet soda does not have sugar. The reason you get fat from regular soda (vs diet) is because regular soda contains sugar. Both diet soda and regular soda cause your body to release insulin, which tells your cells to store sugar as fat. But since diet soda has no sugar, there’s nothing for your body to store as fat.

The research

Why you should trust us
The right answer: diet soda itself won’t make you fat
The risk: diet soda may disrupt the metabolic process
The caveats: diet soda may be correlated with overeating
Sources

Why you should trust us

We spoke with Dr. Mike Roussell, PhD, a nutritional consultant and author of Dr. Mike’s 7 Step Weight Loss Plan and the upcoming 6 Pillars of Nutrition. Dr. Mike known for his ability to transform complex nutritional concepts into practical habits and strategies for his clientele, which includes professional athletes, executives, food companies, and top fitness facilities.

We read research papers on the interactions between the brain and pancreas, insulin release, sugars, artificial sweeteners, nutrition habits, diabetes, and co-morbidities among all these.

The right answer: diet soda itself won’t make you fat

Insulin, secreted by the pancreas, is how the human body stores sugar. When the taste of artificial sweeteners (in soda, yogurt, or anything else) hits your brain, it automatically sends a signal to your pancreas to begin producing insulin. Insulin is what tells our cells to either use sugar as food or store it as fat–without it, our bodies can’t process the sugar that lands in our bloodstreams. When your pancreas produces insulin to deal with anticipated sugar, but then no sugar arrives, there is nothing for the cell to store as fat. No sugar, no fat.

The risk: diet soda may disrupt the metabolic process, leading to metabolic syndrome

However, this discrepancy — insulin telling your cells to store sugar as fat, but not having any sugar to store — confuses your body and disrupts its metabolic process. This may explain why several studies have shown a link between regularly drinking diet soda and metabolic syndrome, a collection of symptoms that includes larger waist circumference, higher blood pressure, and higher blood sugar.

The caveats: diet soda may be correlated with overeating

Counting calories is still the most common method people use to try to lose weight, and it’s the basic principle behind both Weight Watchers and the popular weight-loss app Lose It! If you’re counting calories, there’s a simple equation: Drinking a regular soda means you have to eat 140 calories less of something else that day or that meal. Drinking a diet soda means you’ve consumed zero calories, so you get a free pass to eat more. But since drinking the diet soda has fooled your body into expecting sugar, it’s changed the way you metabolize those other calories–you may store more of them as fat and use fewer of them as energy–which could leave you hungry and wanting even more food.

Sources

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