Diabetes and Diet Drinks: Is drinking diet sodas an issue?

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Diabetes and Diet Drinks: Is drinking diet sodas an issue?

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There are hundreds of diet drinks and diet sodas on the market today, which means you can find a drink you love that may not spike your blood glucose.

More than ever, we have choices in our drinks.

But, is diet soda a good dietary choice overall?

It is important to be aware of some of the risks.

In this article, we will discuss diet drinks as well as the pros and cons of drinking diet soda for people with diabetes.

diet soda drawings

What is diet soda?

Diet soda is any carbonated, non-alcoholic beverage that contains artificial sweeteners like saccharin, aspartame, stevia, sorbitol, erythritol, acesulfame potassium, or sucralose.

These drinks may also contain caffeine and other additives like dyes to give the drink color.

They are often marketed as diet drinks to encourage people to drink them instead of other sugary beverages, though they do not often have better benefits for people who are dieting.

The diet or sugar-free options in a grocery store will usually have the words “diet,” “sugar-free,” and/or artificial sweeteners on their label.

Diet soda and weight gain

While diet sodas may not contain any sugar or caloric sweeteners, many contain a high amount of caffeine and some other additives like preservatives that have been found to increase appetite and cravings for certain foods.

Those who drink diet soft drinks can still crave something sweets and feel less satiated at times.

Is there research on drinking diet sodas and diabetes?

There are plenty of research studies available about how these drinks can affect health outcomes.

One study pointed out that daily consumption of diet soda was associated with a 36% greater relative risk of incident metabolic syndrome and a 67% greater relative risk of incident type 2 diabetes compared with those who do not drink them.

Diet soda intake was also associated with increases in waist circumference in older adults in other studies.

While the risk is there, these drinks can be a better option for people with diabetes because the lack of sugar won’t raise numbers.

It’s also important to note that drinking diet sodas doesn’t cause diabetes.

Alternative drinks for a drink swap

When you have diabetes, it’s important to hydrate with low-calorie, low carbohydrate drinks.

Below are a few drink options that won’t spike your blood sugar.

  • Unsweetened green tea
  • Unsweetened black tea
  • Black coffee
  • Water flavored with fruit slices like cucumber, oranges, limes, strawberries to add flavor and sweetness without the calories
  • Sparkling water
  • Low Carb lemonade

Pros and cons of drinking these

There are some pros and cons of these drinks.

Pros:

  • Many more options for fizzy drinks than there used to be.
  • Enjoy soda without worrying about blood sugar spikes.

Cons:

  • According to some studies, diet sodas may increase appetite and cravings for certain sugary foods.
  • Diet sodas can contain artificial ingredients, and processed foods are not recommended for a diabetes diet.

The bottom line

Given this information, diet sodas can be a better option for people with diabetes because the lack of sugar won’t raise blood glucose numbers.

However, diet drinks do contain artificial ingredients and are considered processed foods.

Diet soda is also associated with increased appetite and cravings for sugary food which should be considered before drinking it regularly. Additionally, adults who drink diet soda had slightly higher HbA1c results than those who did not partake.

While it may be a better option, it’s important to weigh to option with your healthcare provider and decide what’s best for you.

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Mila Clarke sits on a couch and smiles at camera

Hi! I'm Mila.

I’m a millennial living with LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, a slow-progressing form of autoimmune Type 1 diabetes) I love food, travel, and my kitchen!

Hangry Woman is for anyone with diabetes – regardless of type.

I’m here to help you live your best life possible diabetes by showing you how to create simple, blood-sugar friendly and delicious meals. Plus, you get video cooking demos, essays on life with diabetes, and lots of weekly joy.

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