CPT & Certified Nutrition Specialist, is the author of the international best-seller, The Truth about Six Pack Abs (TruthAboutAbs.com), with over 263,000 readers in 154 countries. Mike is also the co-author of the popular nutrition program, The Fat Burning Kitchen. In addition, Mike publishes the popular Lean-Body Secrets ezine with over 710,000 subscribers worldwide.

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The Truth About Abs

by Mike Geary, Best-Selling Fitness Author

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We all know by now that soda (aka "pop" in some areas) is one of the most evil things you can put in your body... the nasty chemicals, the gut-fattening high fructose corn syrup, and a myriad of health problems caused by this carbonated cocktail worshipped by those that don't care about their health or body.

Since you're a Diet.com member, I know that you actually do care about your health and the appearance of your body!

Surprisingly, many people falsely believe that "diet" soda is in some way a good thing for losing body fat. In fact, I hear people all the time proudly state that they eat so healthy and only drink diet soda.

So let's set the record straight...

There is NOTHING even remotely healthy about drinking diet soda. In fact, I've even seen several studies that showed dedicated diet soda drinkers got even FATTER than their regular soda drinking counterparts.

Here's some findings from an 8-year University of Texas study that I had read. An excerpt from the study author:

"What didn't surprise us was that total soft drink use was linked to overweight and obesity," Fowler tells WebMD. "What was surprising was when we looked at people only drinking diet soft drinks, their risk of obesity was even higher."

"There was a 41 percent increase in risk of being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink a person consumes each day," Fowler says.

Ok, as if we didn't already know how bad regular soda was for us, and now they're showing us studies that diet soda makes us even fatter than the already bad stuff!

There are a lot of complicating factors as to why this occurs.

One reason is that the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas create a negative hormonal response in the body that increases fat storing hormone production and increases cravings for more sweets and refined carbohydrates in the time period after consuming the diet drink.

Another reason is that people may subconsciously think that because they are drinking a diet soda, that gives them more leeway to eat more of everything else, hence consuming more calories overall.

I've said this all along, but the bottom line is that if you're serious about your health and body, soda of any kind (and artificial sweeteners in anything for that matter!) should be avoided at all times, except for very rare occasions when you can't avoid them.

So what is a good alternative to diet sodas?

The best alternatives are good old water with lemon or unsweetened iced teas. You have plenty of options with teas - green, white, black, oolong, red... be creative in making your iced teas and you'll enjoy it more. Plus you'll get a more diverse array of antioxidants.

I just add a little of the natural non-caloric sweetener stevia to my iced teas and I love them.

Til next time,
Don't be lazy... be lean.

by Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer


This blog was brought to you by Mike Geary and Truth About Abs.

@ 11:56am ET on March 29, 2010
Thanks for this - it is sooooo true! We need to get rid of the chemicals and treat our bodies with healthy, nutritious fuel! Patty

@ 3:26pm ET on March 29, 2010
i totally disagree with the diet soda article, I PREVIOUSLY DRANK A LOT OF MOUNTAIN DEW probably at least 2 to 3 cans a day, and i decided to stop drinking it , because of all the sugar in it and i replaced the regular mountain dew with diet mountain dew and i lost 12 pounds and haven't had a cavity since. Sally

@ 5:54pm ET on March 29, 2010
"One reason is that the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas create a negative hormonal response in the body that increases fat storing hormone production and increases cravings for more sweets and refined carbohydrates in the time period after consuming the diet drink."

Where are the scientific references to this?
I disagree also with this diet soda article. I have been a dietitian for 19 years and substituting diet soda for regular soda has always resulted in weight loss.

"I just add a little of the natural non-caloric sweetener stevia to my iced teas and I love them." This gives you no credibility to your article whatsoever. Did stevia paid you to write this article?

@ 2:33am ET on March 30, 2010
Oh, c'mon... correlation does not imply causation! There are so many examples of these fallacies in health articles that it is truly disappointing. Of course overweight folks are more likely to consume "diet" beverages! Just like they're more likely to shop at Tall-n-fat or 16+ stores. But to imply that the diet beverages CONTRIBUTE to obesity is pushing it. What next? A study shows that 70% of Ensure drinkers have cancer... so this must mean that Ensure causes cancer???! Or how about... the more firefighters at a fire, the larger the fire... so firefighters make fires larger???!! Stop this, please! I agree that the brain needs to cut its addiction to sweets and that eliminating sugar substitutes helps curb craving any form of sugar at all, but I wouldn't go so far as saying that non-caloric sweeteners in and of themselves would make anyone gain weight by triggering fat-storing hormones or directly causing a craving of more carbs.

@ 11:07am ET on March 30, 2010
I think that Mike has a solid point that we could be inadvertently drinking MORE diet soda, thinking that it's better for us so we can get away with it. There have been many studies done that show this very behavior in humans, when we are consuming a "light" or "low fat" version of something.

I think that the ultimate point of this blog is to make you think twice about making diet soda your beverage of choice, when there are healthier options (like water) available.

@ 9:59am ET on April 1, 2010
What a horrible post. It shows a complete ignorance of the difference between causation and correlation -- all this study shows is that the fatter you are, the more likely it is that you'll try drinking diet soda. Well, duh. That's a no-brainer: switching to diet soda is one of the easiest ways to cut unnecessary calories, and anyone overweight is likely to give it a shot. The study does not provide any evidence that drinking diet soda makes you obese. Any writer who can't tell the difference between correlation and causation should NOT be commenting on scientific studies.

The author says he has scientific evidence to back up his wild claims... but he doesn't provide any. And frankly after seeing how badly he misinterpreted the one study he did quote, I would take anything he says with a huge grain of salt.

Six years ago I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Today, I'm nearly in remission -- and diet soda deserves much of the credit for that. Switching to diet soda caused a tremendous change in my blood sugar and overall health. By itself diet soda may not be "healthy". However it is a tremendous improvement over regular soda. There is no solid evidence that I've ever seen to suggest that it's the abomination this writer claims.

@ 9:13pm ET on April 1, 2010
Hey all,

First of all, I don't think this topic is something that anyone should get "angry" about... geez. We're simply trying to help people avoid one of the worst things in the modern western diet... and that is SODA in general.

Whether it's sweetened with sugar, HFCS, or artificial sweeteners, nobody can argue that it should be included in anyone's diet. And I certainly don't buy the argument that diet soda is "better" for you than sweetened soda, because neither of them should really be consumed by anyone that cares about their health.

However, there actually IS some evidence that artificial sweeteners can stimulate an insulin response in the body even though no sugar was consumed. If you do some digging, you'll find some studies that back that up. And in response to that insulin bump, it can cause your body to crave additional high carb or high sugar foods due to the subsequent drop in blood sugar. This CAN cause weight gain compared to someone that drinks water instead of diet soda.

But there are actually 2 other reasons why diet soda can cause weight gain...

1. It trains your body to be addicted to overly aggressive sweet tastes, which again, can cause cravings for more heavily sweetened food and drinks later, leading to a vicious cycle.

Instead, it would be smart for all of us to train our bodies to be satisfied with much less sweet tastes such as very lightly sweetened iced teas or unsweetened teas, or even just plain water. These are obviously healthier for you than artificially sweetened diet sodas, with that super-aggressive sweetened taste.

2. You can dig up studies on this aspect if you'd like too, but there is a hypothesis out there that eating a lot of artificially sweetened foods and drinks subconsciously makes people think that they can eat more of whatever their meal or snack entails, hence leading them to eat more overall calories.

Plus, lastly, if you investigate ALL of the artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame K, saccharine, etc... these are all very nasty chemicals that were never meant to be ingested by humans. Sure, you can argue that the human body can tolerate certain levels of artificial chemicals, and that may be true to some extent... but for those of us that want to be optimally healthy with the least risk for cancer, etc, avoiding artificial sweeteners should be a high priority.

If you want to read more about dangers of artificial sweeteners, here is a good in-depth article:


I think we can all agree that the bottom line is that we would all be better off health-wise without chemical-laden sodas in our diet at all.

In health,

@ 4:49am ET on April 2, 2010
I gave up all sodas 4 months ago, and drink virtually nothing but water. I lost 25 lbs in 3 weeks, and I feel SO much better! I look at my before pic, and I cringe...THIS is what sodium and carbonation does to your body - it makes you look like a tick about to pop...just like I did. I've lost a total of 40 lbs now, and I know I can go on to lose as much as I'd like, due to changing my eating - and drinking habits. =o)

~April S.

@ 6:19pm ET on April 2, 2010
For anybody who got "angry" about the trash-talking of diet soda in this blog, here's an article below with scientific studies that indicate that diet soda and anything artificially sweetened can cause an insulin response and subsequent overeating/weight gain.

Also, this article is very interesting in how it proves that not only do we have "taste buds" in our mouth, but that parts of our digestive system can detect "taste" too and respond to it hormonally, etc.

Effectively, what this means is that artificial sweeteners fool the body into a certain response due to the sweet taste even though no calories were ingested from that sweet taste. Once again, this is why I recommended trying to wean yourself of ANY heavily sweetened products and drinking mostly water or unsweetened teas instead.

The article also shows a link between artificial sweeteners and developing type 2 diabetes... so for those that thought they were doing something good by switching to artificially sweetened drinks instead of sugar-sweetened drinks, this study shows that switching to diet drinks is NOT a good thing to do for diabetics.

It's a very interesting article:


In case that link is broken from the line wraps, you can copy/paste it to a new browser from this link:


Best wishes,


@ 9:32pm ET on April 4, 2010
I completely agree that soda is awful period, and it hurts like hell going down the throat.
However, there's one thing I want to point out about the portion of the results of the study stating that people who drink diet soda are at greater risk: couldn't it be that the people who are heavier are drinking diet soda BECAUSE they are heavier? I don't think it's the other way around.

@ 12:45pm ET on April 16, 2010
I think you can drink diet soda and be fine as far as weight loss is concerned, as long as you stick to a healthy, well-balanced meal and exercise plan in addition.

As far as the link between artificial sweeteners and cancer, I don't have a definite answer, myself.

I'm not saying diet soda is good for you, because most likely, it's not. But you can drink it and still lose weight if you watch what you eat. It doesn't cause you to be fat just by drinking it. It may make you crave high-sugar foods. If you can avoid them, you will still lose weight.

There are valid points on both sides of this debate.

@ 3:00pm ET on April 19, 2010
I've heard that your body identifies sweeteners as sugar and it throws your insulin out of whack and can cause you to still gain weight. My husband and I talked about this one day and we both agreed that we've never known anyone that drank diet soda that was not overweight. I know everyone is different but, I do believe that for most people it's playing against their weight loss efforts.

@ 2:29pm ET on May 2, 2010
I think we need to define "good for you." It seems like alot of people who don't think something is bad for you is 'good for you.' To me, something being good for you aids in your health and vitality, like fruits and vegetables full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Diet soda may not particularly be bad for you, but what about it would make it GOOD? It's carbon dioxide, water and sugar substitutes.

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