It appears that, just like regular soda, more than 1 diet soda a day may increase the risk of heart disease. (See the full story at http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070723/ap_on_he_me/diet_soda_heart_risks;_ylt=AgYTL.eDQUYZxaKfshgASg8DW7oF).
Nutrition expert, Barry Popkin, and American Beverage Association president, Susan Neely, can't fathom how a beverage with no calories could contribute to bulging waistlines. They believe we should drink diet soda instead of regular soda. I'm guessing they believe bulging waistlines are the only link from soda to heart disease and excess calories are the only way to gain weight.
I looked up "diet soda and weight loss" on pubmed.com and 3 articles showed up. One of them, published in the International Journal of Food Science Nutrition in May 2007, involved 2 groups of teens. One group was put on a 1500 calorie diet but allowed a 150 calorie snack and the other group, on the same diet, was allowed a no-calorie snack.
The conclusion was that there was no difference in weight loss between the teens that had a regular soda for a snack vs a diet soda.
The other 2 studies had nothing to do with diet soda or weight.
If calorie intake is the only determinate for weight gain/loss/maintenance, then why have our waistlines bulged since the introduction of artificial sweeteners? Could it be that something other than calories may contribute to obesity?
Appetite is regulated by hormones and brain chemicals and these play a role in our weight. The hormone insulin causes us to store fat, so foods that trigger insulin make us fatter. Carbohydrates are the only calorie source that trigger insulin. Fat and protein do not. The diet we are told to eat, based on the food guide pyramid, is a high carbohydrate diet and it is no wonder we are all getting fat.
While aspartame, the artificial sweetener in diet soda, does not contain calories, it does contain an amino acid that blocks the production of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that controls food cravings. A lack of serotonin causes the body to scream out for foods that will increase serotonin production. And those foods happen to be carbohydrates.
So lets get this straight. Aspartame in diet soda has the ability to increase our cravings for foods that make us fat. Somehow, I don't think that's going to help with any weight loss goals, even if there are no calories in the diet soda.
And here's a freebie. Aspartame also raises blood pressure which is a risk factor for heart disease. If you have high blood pressure and you drink diet soda, stop drinking it and see what happens. You may be able to get off some medication.
The bottom line is diet soda is poison to the body. Regular soda isn't much better, but it's a lot safer than diet soda.
I recommend not drinking soda period. But I realize that most people can't live with that. So here's what you do. Avoid diet soda completely. Limit regular soda, preferrably one that doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup, to no more than 1 12 oz can a day. No supersizing allowed.
If you are a soda junkie, you are going to have to reduce your cravings first. Let's say you drink 6 sodas a day. Next week, drink 5 sodas a day. The week after that, drink 4 per day and so on until you are down to 1 soda a day. If you can, get down to 1 soda a week.
Achieving a healthy weight involves a lot more than just calorie control. You have to feed your body the nutrients it needs to do all the things it needs to do. And interestingly enough, most of those nutrients are in animal fat and those that aren't require fat to be absorbed properly.
So, skip the diet foods and eat your butter. You'll end up controlling calories naturally and you'll see your waistline shrink.