The Diet Soda Situation

Recently it seems that all I’ve been hearing is people complaining about needing to go on diets and eating healthier. As my friend reaches for a Diet Pepsi I can’t help but wonder if that is a good choice. I mean I’ve always heard people say that diet soda is actually bad for you but I’ve never known for sure. So I figured why not write a blog on it?

Here’s what I do know—or at least have heard:

For those who don’t know, diet sodas contain zero calories which is why people tend to flock to them thinking they are the healthier choice. Yes, this may sound like it is good for you but don’t be fooled. The truth is that they are filled with terrible chemicals used to sweeten the drink (instead of sugar). Some of these include aspartame, sucralose, cyclamate, phosphoric acid—and that’s just to name a few. If you’re reading that past sentence and thinking WTF do any of those words mean, they are artificial sweeteners that can contribute to numerous health risks. But is any of this actually true??



A study was done based on diet soda consumption followed up by examinations to test for type 2 Diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The results of this was that the consumption of diet soda was associated with a 67% greater risk of type 2 Diabetes and 36% greater risk of metabolic syndrome (as opposed to not drinking diet soda). Notice the word “associated” was used!! If there is one thing that stands out that Andrew taught us it’s that correlation does not equal causation. According to the study it turns out that there is not enough data to support that these diet sodas actually cause these health defects.

In addition to this, an article posted from Harvard’s school of public health mentions that in 2011 the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association were not able to make an exact conclusion on the artificial sweeteners found in diet soda due to an “insufficient” amount of data.

FYI In case you’re like me and don’t know what Metabolic Syndrome is: The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute defines Metabolic Syndrome as factors closely related to obesity or being overweight that put those at risk of heart disease, diabetes and even stroke.


I set out on this blog thinking that I would find tons of evidence highlighting the dangers of diet soda with definite conclusions. Little did I know that, although there are associations, there is no set proof that diet sodas are the cause of health risks like type 2 Diabetes and metabolic syndrome. After some of our pop quizzes Andrew has asked if the studies were convincing enough to have us change the way we do a specific thing in our daily lives. In this case, the research was not enough to make people stop drinking diet soda all together. This case was unable to inspire a definite life change in drinking diet soda but if you are in a similar situation to me with friends trying to diet, maybe try suggesting water, eliminating the choice of soda as a whole, diet or not.




5 thoughts on “The Diet Soda Situation

  1. Christopher Ronkainen

    I found this post very interesting. This topic is relevant in many of our lives as diet sodas seem to be everywhere now. Within the past several years I have heard what you had mentioned, that diet sodas are bad for you due to the artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Personally I try to avoid soda altogether and just drink water, but given the choice between diet and regular I typically go with the regular soda. I decided to look more into aspartame to see what I could find. While doing my research I came across this article on aspartame that I thought you may find interesting. Check it out!

  2. Michael Robert Szawaluk


    I find this topic very interesting because I am one of those people who, being a college freshman, does not necessarily think twice about what I am putting into my body. I have also heard, repeatedly, that diet beverages are worse for you than regular soda. Some of the comments I have heard are: diet soda can give you cancer because of all the chemicals put into them, soda can take the paint off your car – can you imagine what it does to your stomach and diet soda causes weight gain. That last one you mentioned in your blog. It was eye-opening to read the Harvard School of Public Health article you included which discussed a study that pointed to higher Body Mass Index for those who consumed drinks with artificial sweeteners, regularly. It also pointed out that using artificial sweeteners in a modified fashion may help you lose weight. That reminds me of something my grandmother has said for years, everything in moderation!

    I agree with your reference to Andrew’s question about asking if the data is convincing enough to make me change. Soda, diet or not, is great with pizza so I probably won’t stop that routine. I was curious about how diet soda stacks up against regular soda. The conclusion of this article, published by Medical Daily,, states that while they both have minimal pros, the cons are much stronger and there is NO nutritional value in either. I thought you did a good job researching the topic of diet soda. Thanks for the education and prompting me to do a little research on my own. I will now try and refrain from both types of soda, when not eating pizza, and reach for water, instead. Oh and, gotta love Gene Wilder and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. RIP, Gene.

  3. Anna Strahle

    Really interesting topic! I have never been a fan of soda, so thankfully I don’t have the problem of trying to look for a healthier alternative for soda. However, for those of you who would like to drink something similar to soda without the health risk of getting type 2 diabetes, here are some replacements. You can flavor your water with some fresh fruit, drink flavored green tea, and even mix fruit juice and seltzer together! The full list can be found in the link below:

  4. Lauren Elizabeth Jardine

    Really Interesting blog! I did a report about harmful affects of some diet sodas a few years ago mostly focus on the issue of aspartame. According to some studies aspartame can cause or worsen anxiety and depression. This is because of the way the aspartame impacts your neurons, although some reports say it only happens with the right sugar aspartame combo. However, the studies are relatively new so this hasn’t been proven enough to deter from soda drinking, much like the possible negative aspects you mentioned.

  5. Samuel Sae Jong Lee


    Great blog! I really liked the approach you took to question of whether diet soda was a worse alternative to normal soda. The anecdotal piece of diet soda as well as the studies done complemented the conclusion of the blog which was we very much may not know. Above all, I liked how you tied in Professor Andrew’s class into the blog and it was very enjoyable to read. The inconclusive end to the blog was a unique, refreshing touch to this blog and I hope you continue this type of work in your future blogs.

    Impressed peer,
    Sammy Lee

Leave a Reply