What is Diet soda | Diet Soda and Intermittent Fasting | Risk Associated With Diet Soda | Options to Replace Diet Soda
Diet soda is one of the most popular beverages, and it typically contains zero calories. During fasting, one is allowed to consume zero-calorie beverages like black coffee and plain tea to combat hunger and increase alertness. Does that mean you can also add diet soda to the intermittent fasting-friendly drink list? So, does diet soda break a fast?
Diet soda is a non-caloric beverage, and it contains no carbs or protein. It does not trigger any insulin response; hence diet soda technically does not break your fast. However, there is a lot of controversy and various adverse effects that are linked to the consumption of diet soda.
Can you drink diet soda during fasting and still achieve weight loss goals? What are the things you need to be worried about while consuming diet soda?
Let’s answer those questions next.
What is Diet soda?
Diet soda is the same as regular soda but without sugar. The industries are using artificial sweeteners such as acesulfame potassium and aspartame instead of sucrose or fructose to make these non-caloric beverages.
Artificial sweeteners do not break down into macronutrients. Hence, it just adds flavor to the drink and does not provide calories or nutrition. Diet soda is made of carbonated water, artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, and other food additives. As diet soda has zero calories, it does not technically break your fast
However, studies say diet soft drinks are linked to an increase in waist circumference and fasting plasma glucose. Also, diet soda can increase metabolic factors such as obesity, hypertension, and dyslipidemia leading to cardiac diseases; this is also termed metabolic syndrome.
As diet soda has zero calories, people think drinking it can be considered safe during fasting. But is it acceptable to have diet soda during fasting? Let us understand how diet soda affects your health and reduce the positive outcome of your fasting.
Diet Soda and Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is fasting for a particular period in a day and eating during your eating window. Some experts suggest that it’s ok to include diet soda while fasting; because it does not contain calories. But it’s essential to understand the long-term effects of diet soda when used extensively.
Intermittent fasting is all about reducing calorie intake for an extended period. During the fasting state, tissues oxidize the stored nutrients, recycle amino acids, and detoxify harmful molecules. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern you follow strictly to improve your health. Fasting allows the tissues to recycle the damaged and dysfunctional proteins while utilizing the stored energy.
Although diet soda does not contain any calories, scientific communities are still debating on the impact of artificial sweeteners and their effects on health during fasting.
Additionally, the presence of artificial sweeteners in diet soda may cause cravings for food during your fasting hours. For example, some studies suggest that diet soda may increase your appetite by stimulating your hunger hormones and triggering dopamine responses in the brain for artificial sweet taste receptors. This may aid in an increase in weight during intermittent fasting because you may end up consuming more food and high-calorie sweets.
Few conflicting studies suggest that weight gain in individuals may be due to existing dietary habits such as consuming high calories, high carbs, and high fat in the eating window. Diet soda does not play any role in weight gain. Some studies also claim that replacing sugar or high-calorie soft drinks with diet soda can result in weight loss.
Some scientific evidence available is biased, and more research is needed to determine the health effects of diet soda.
Risk Associated With Diet Soda
According to the CDC, sugar-sweetened drinks like soda and juice are the top sources of added sugar in the average American diet. Replacing these sugary drinks with diet soda can definitely help you reduce weight gain, heart disease, tooth decay, type 2 diabetes, etc. But these diet drinks are too tricky to choose, and beverages containing artificial sweeteners can not be considered healthy.
When compared to a sugary drink, the health benefits of diet soda are more. The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) have approved the cautious usage of artificial sweeteners to combat obesity and diabetes. Now the usage of diet soda is increasing rapidly; several studies suggest that high and prolonged usage of diet soda has increased the incidence of type 2 diabetes and cardiac diseases.
Excessive consumption of diet soda has been linked to various medical conditions such as;
- heart conditions; heart attack and high blood pressure
- metabolic issues; diabetes and obesity
- brain conditions; dementia and stroke
- liver problems; nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Usage of diet soda with artificial sweeteners, in the long run, will have health risks such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Since diet soda has zero calories, most people consider it to be safe during fasting. You must consider the long-term effects of diet soda on your health. Scientists are not sure how diet soda can increase the risk of diseases; some experts believe that it may damage blood vessels, leading to chronic inflammation.
A 2012 study suggests that sweeteners and preservatives in diet soda may affect dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in motivation, pleasure, and reward. Due to this, you may develop cravings for more sweets, snacks, and soda.
If you have diabetes or cardiac diseases, your health risk may increase with the extensive use of diet soda. In a study that involved 2,888 people over the age of 45, it was seen that diet soda was linked to a higher risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. The study suggests drinking one diet soda is almost triple the risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Another study published in 2014 revealed that Japanese factory workers who had diet soda developed diabetes predominantly than those who did not.
Diet Soda – Are There Any Benefits?
There are no health benefits associated with diet soda. However, if you have an addiction to sugary beverages, it can help you reduce your sugar consumption. Hence, this way, you can reduce the sugar intake while you are on a diet.
Options to Replace Diet Soda
Instead of diet soda, you can try black coffee or green tea without sugar during your fasting. Try to include herbal teas during fasting; they have antioxidant properties, help in better digestion, and increase your immunity.
If you crave carbonated drinks, consider unflavored, unsweetened seltzer water, which does not contain artificial sweeteners and is calorie-free. You can add a bit of lemon, cucumber or mint to enhance its flavor.
To conclude, we can say diet soda during fasting may not exactly break your intermittent fasting, but it may make you crave food. Instead of diet soda, choose some herbal teas, which not only keep you satiated but also enhance the effectiveness of your fasting.
Even though diet soda has low or zero calories, it is associated with health risks and can cause diabetes and obesity. Diet soda does not offer you any health benefits or nutrition. Instead, consider herbal teas, green tea, or black coffee during the fasting hours to battle hunger. Making healthy food choices can bring better results during your fasting.
If you are a beginner and need help in planning intermittent fasting, check out our 21 day intermittent fasting challenge. In this 21-day action plan, you will learn how to introduce intermittent fasting in the right way and how you can make healthy food choices. With the right approach, you will get the results you are looking for.