Conventional wisdom may tell you that the best way to get started on the path to fat loss is to take ‘baby steps.’ Take things slow, switch from coke to diet coke.
So it may come as a surprise to learn that those low-sugar alternatives are really not better for you at all, and they’ll do nothing whatsoever to help you lose body fat.
I will tell you why.
It is A Nice Idea In Theory… But Not in Practice
Soft drinks especially the diet variant are not healthy foods. In fact, it’s not a food at all, it’s simply a slurry of chemicals, a number of which may have negative effects on the body.
Fewer carbs and fewer calories should mean less body fat – but there’s an important fact left out of this equation.
For starters, diet soda drinkers have a tendency to consume a larger amount of calories overall. This is the, ‘What I’m drinking is healthy, so I can drink more of it’ phenomenon. Although the soda you’re drinking may technically be lower in calories, the tendency is to consume a larger quantity than you normally would if you were drinking something you knew was packed with sugar.
Not only that, but people who drink diet version of soft drinks will also rationalize letting themselves eat larger portions of foods. The logic here is: ‘I’m not consuming calories from my drink, so I can add a little more than usual to my meal.’
The other is related to your body chemistry. It turns out that the artificial sweeteners used by soda companies to replace sugar have some pretty devastating effects on your hormones and metabolism.
How Artificial Sweeteners Change Your Body Chemistry (And Make Your Fatter)
Artificial sweeteners in diet versions raise your insulin levels just as much as real sugar. Without getting too technical, high insulin levels essentially mean your body stops burning fat and starts storing more of it. So even though your diet soda is lower in calories, it has the exact same effect on your body’s natural fat-storing mechanisms as a normal soft drink.
This has even more serious implications than out of control weight gain. Raised insulin levels are known to lead to type 2 diabetes, a serious condition which requires careful monitoring and can be life threatening.
How Artificial Sweeteners Throw Your Metabolism Off Balance
We have all seen people who seem to drop (or never gain) weight with effortless ease. It’s easy to complain that you’re cursed with a ‘bad metabolism,’ but the fact is you actually have a lot of control over how efficiently your metabolism functions.
The bad news is, diet sodas have a terrible effect on the liver. Most diet sodas contain a bunch of unnatural chemicals which need to be processed and removed from your system – a job which also falls to the liver. When your liver is busy handling toxins and chemicals, it’s less effective at burning up body fat.
What to Do?
The reality is, if you’re going to drink the diet soft drinks you may as well drink a normal, high-sugar soft drinks – the health effects of the diet version will be about the same, if not worse.It is imperative to kick the habit, replacing it with healthy, safe alternatives like pure water, flavored with fresh lemon for taste, and herbal teas without sugar.
If you’re serious about cutting body fat and keeping it off, the only smart choice is to cut out soft drinks from your diet altogether (both regular and diet versions) or save it for an occasional treat.