Diet Soda – Friend or Foe

Diet Soda – Friend or Foe

What about diet soda?

Diet soda is something that has gotten a bad wrap over the recent decades. You have some people out there saying the artificial sweeteners contained in them are bad for your body. Even though there is some truth and merit to that, we need to put things into context as the studies these people use to back up their points are studies done on mice where they make them consume ridiculous amounts of these artificial sweeteners that are unproportional to their body mass, which is equivalent to something along the lines of a human drinking 50 cans of Pepsi Max a day everyday for a year straight; so I’ll let you be the judge of whether it’s safe and justifiable or not to have a couple cans of diet soda a day since this isn’t the purpose of today’s blog. 

What we actually want to discuss here is how we can use diet soda to our advantage when it comes to helping us save some calories during a fat loss phase and how it can be used as a tool to increase adherence to a calorie deficit while dieting. Now, I can go on and on about the science of diet soda but for the ease of understanding, let’s look at the practical uses of diet soda in two real life scenarios that you can actually relate to.

How can diet soda help us save calories?

Scenario 1

Kevin has a habit of having a can of Pepsi with each of his Lunch and Dinner meals; this is something that he cannot give up no matter what. One day, Kevin decides he is getting a bit chubby and it’s becoming harder to fit into his clothes, therefore he needs to lose some fat. First thing he realises is that he needs to eat in a calorie deficit, so he decides to cut 500 calories from his diet. 

In the early stages, he finds it quite easy as fat loss is rolling along smoothly. A couple of weeks go by, Kevin soon finds himself becoming hungrier and feels the amount of food he is eating is not enough to fill him up at all. What can Kevin do? Let’s put our thinking hats on here and help Kevin out.

Let’s take a look at the calories in a regular can of Pepsi, which has 150 calories.

So if Kevin is having two cans a day, he is having 300 calories in total just coming from liquid calories. The last thing he wants to do is to drink his calories, as that provides the lowest form of satiety, especially when he is in a calorie deficit and finding himself hungry and not satisfied all the time. It would be better for him to consume those 300 calories in the form of solid whole foods instead.

If Kevin is wise, he can make a simple change to have Pepsi Max instead of regular Pepsi. As we can see below, Pepsi Max is listed as 0 calories per can. (I know some of you guys are checking the nutrition label of a Pepsi Max can right now and are about to tell me it does contain a few calories; but for the sake of comparison in this example, let’s round that down to zero).

After some quick elementary school math, Kevin quickly realizes if he makes the switch over to Pepsi Max, he can save 300 calories per day which he can reallocate into his diet as solid forms of food that will actually help him to feel more satiated and allow him to eat more food while still being able to enjoy his favourite fizzy soda along with his meals.

Diet soda be used as a tool to help increase adherence on a diet?

Scenario 2

Kim is a stay at home mum who looks after her two kids. Recently she finds herself unhappy about her post pregnancy weight gain and has tried different methods to try and lose the fluff, but nothing has prevailed. She can stick to eating consistently to a meal plan but she finds herself snacking out of boredom and wonders what she is doing wrong and why the weight isn’t coming down. One night, her thoughtful husband has seen enough and decides to point out to her that if she is serious about losing weight, she needs to do something about her constant snacking and grazing in between meal times and improve her adherence to her diet.

Kim understands if she can control the snacking issue, she can really start to see some fat loss results because she can adhere to eating her main meals so well. After some self-evaluation and a sit-down conversation with her husband, Kim realises that she has a sweet tooth and at times wants something sweet and fizzy to satisfy her cravings. She asks herself, what’s something that she can add into her diet that doesn’t add extra calories but can satisfy her cravings for something sweet and fizzy in between meals?

You guessed it! Diet soda is something that can be incorporated into her meal plan to help her satisfy those cravings and help her solve the snacking issues. But how, you ask?

  • The carbonation in diet soda can act as a temporary stomach filler, giving Kim the sense of satiety due to it taking up space in her stomach
  • The sweetness and fizziness from diet soda can satisfy Kim’s sweet tooth in between meals
  • Every time Kim has the urge to snack, drinking a can of diet soda can help suppress that urge and hunger

All in all, by adding a can or two of diet soda (which is essentially zero calories) into Kim’s diet, it allows her to adhere to her diet better as it lowers the chances of her snacking and overeating her day’s calories. So it’s really considered a no-brainer when it comes to using diet soda as a tool to help improve adherence on a calorie deficit diet. I need to stress the fact that I’m not recommending you drink a dozen cans of diet soda per day. The point I’m trying to convey with this article is to provide education on how diet soda can be beneficial for someone who is struggling to adhere to a calorie deficit and can actually be a useful tool when in a fat loss diet.

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