It's crazy how confusing the diet world can be. Especially when we have products literally labelled as 'diet' yet there are people out there telling you they will kill you AND make you fat.
So what's the deal?
Well, in my personal opinion, along with many, many other decent trainers out there.. Diet drinks are completely diet friendly, you know why? Because they don't contain calories. Anybody stating they will make you fat, is completely wrong, uneducated and are probably really dull at a party.
They've probably read a study somewhere on google, or a more reliable source like a newspaper saying that obese people who drank diet drinks didn't lose weight & potentially even gained it. But let's be real, most people haven't become obese simply by drinking certain drinks. There are many, many other eating habits that have got them to where they are.
Can they make you 'keep a taste for the sweet stuff'? Well yes, but as humans most of us enjoy the sweet stuff regardless. This is why it's so damn popular in the first place. This isn't the diet drinks, this is just being human & having taste buds.
If you can go ahead and replace your sweet habits with calorie free versions? I think we all know you're onto a winner if you're trying to lose weight & reduce your calorie intake.
Will sweeteners in diet drinks destroy your health and eventually kill you?
There is absolutely no evidence to support that sweeteners are dangerous for you. Any study showing otherwise, have used ridiculously extreme quantities (or are from the 80s tested on rats). Which, if you looked at anything in that way (think water) would be bad for your health. Are we going to go ahead and start telling people to drink less water because too much may kill you? I think not.
Now, I'm not saying you should start necking 20 cans of diet coke a day. Don't be ridiculous, but the occasional can of diet coke with your lunch? Bloody go for it. The person telling you it's bad for you is probably still hungover from a weekend of drinking & smoking actual poison anyway.
What even are sweeteners?
The two main sweeteners you'll probably come across are Aspartame & Sucralose
- Aspartame contains 4 calories per gram, just like sugar. The only difference being, is that it's 200x sweeter - so you need 200x less (basically the amount you need contains zero calories)
- It has been tested in over 90 countries and is considered the most tested and studied food additive ever approved.
- A safe dosage is around 40mg per 1kg of body weight which equals around 15 cans of a diet drink per day for a 70kg adult, so yeah, pretty safe!
- Sucralose has zero calories, but often has other carbs added to it to bulk it out which often adds some calories up to 3.36 calories per gram, however is 400-700x sweeter than sugar, so again so little is needed it's often considered calorie free.
- There are over 100 studies spread over 20 years proving that sucralose is safe to consume. The FDA have assigned 5mg per 1kg of bodyweight to be a safe figure (although studies have proven amounts as much as 100x more than this to be safe), however, using the FDAs guidelines, this still equals around 9 cans of diet drinks per day.
Personally when I diet, I drink diet drinks most days. I have a real, real sweet tooth. I just love pudding/desert, sue me. So a nice diet drink after my evening meal goes a long, long way to keeping me sane throughout a pretty strict diet. And I get lean AND have yet to die. So, what I'm trying to say, from my own personal experience with myself AND my clients AND every other trainer who gets decent results from time to time, they will all say the same thing.