Drinking Diet Pop, But Not Losing Weight?

Drinking Diet Pop, But Not Losing Weight?

If we replace our sugary, caloric soft drink with a non-caloric “diet pop” we should theoretically lose weight, right?  Well, it appears that this might only not be true; in fact, our diet pop may be promoting weight gain!



Research recently published by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found adults who drink diet beverages consume more calories from food compared to adults who drink regular sodas and other sugary beverages.  This research was published in American Journal of Public Health using data from 24,965 people aged 20 and older between 1999 to 2010.  This topic is one of on-going debate and further research is needed to further reveal the relationship between artificial sweeteners and caloric consumption.

Let’s explore why drinking diet pop may prevent us from losing weight:

  • Artificial sweeteners affect our body’s ability to gauge how many calories we have consumed.  This can negatively impact our body’s ability to regulate our calorie consumption and therefore our appetite control.
  • Our brain responds to sweetness with signals to eat more.  Therefore, by providing a sweet taste without the calories, artificial sweeteners cause us to crave more sweet foods and drinks.
  • Diet pop provides a much higher level of sweetness compared to regular pop or other sugary beverages.  Thus, our taste buds may become accustomed to a higher level of sweetness and we may over-consume foods to mimic that level of sweetness experienced with artificially sweetened beverages.
  • If we feel hungry and we drink diet pop, we will remain hungry because our physiologic need for calories (or energy) is not met.  We are likely to overeat at our next meal or snack to satisfy this prolonged hunger.
  • We may reward ourselves for choosing a diet pop by consuming more calories. For example, you may order a regular fry instead of a small size because you feel that you are already saving calories by ordering your diet pop!  The same rationalizing is demonstrated through our tendency to over-eat products with health claims like “low fat” or “half the calories”.


Artificial sweeteners affect our body’s ability to gauge how many calories we have consumed. Click To Tweet


Bottom Line:

It appears that diet pop is not a silver bullet for weight loss.  The research will continue, but it appears that diet pop does not necessarily encourage weight loss.  Diet pop may interfere with appetite control and may cause food cravings.  In my private practice, I encourage clients to reduce both artificially sweetened and sugary beverage consumption.  Replacing these with water, for example, helps wean our bodies off high levels of sweetness experienced from these beverages.  We can then focus our energy on choosing wholesome foods that provide energy and nourishment for our best health.


Diet pop doesn't encourage weight loss, and may interfere with appetite and cause cravings. Click To Tweet