Diet Soda and Dementia: What You Need to Know

A recent study found that drinking even one diet soda a day may triple your risk for developing dementia. But there's a lot more to the story. Nutrition Diva explains.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
Episode #428

Reason #2: Artificial sweeteners may promote weight gain.  Although our bodies get no calories from artificial sweeteners, they still provide a food source for your gut bacteria. Different bacteria appear to prefer different sweeteners. Whichever strains of bacteria you feed are going to proliferate in your gut, often at the expense of others. Research suggests that artificial sweeteners tend to promote the growth of intestinal bacteria that are associated with weight gain and suppress the growth of intestinal bacteria associated with leanness.

This research is explored in more detail in episode #303: Artificial Sweeteners and Weight Gain

Reason #3: Cutting out artificial sweeteners increases your enjoyment of healthier foods. This last reason is based not on research but on my own experience in working with hundreds of people on developing healthier eating habits.

I’ve found that people who drink diet soda or use artificial sweeteners tend to use a lot of them. Because they have no calories, people seem to think it's OK to consume them in unlimited quantities. But people who drink artificially sweetened beverages all day long become so accustomed to the hyper-sweetness of artificial sweeteners that more natural foods taste dull and unsatisfying by comparison. 

Because they have no calories, people seem to think it's OK to consume them in unlimited quantities. 

If you're a heavy user, cutting down on artificially sweetened foods and beverages can be challenging. And yet, when people do this, they almost invariably tell me that they have a whole new appreciation for the flavor of foods.

“I can’t believe how delicious a piece of fruit tastes to me now,” one said to me recently. “Even vegetables are more delicious.”

In my experience, weaning yourself off of artificial sweeteners frequently results in a big upgrade in the overall nutritional quality of your diet—and I’ve never seen it lead to out of control sugar consumption or weight gain.

If you've cut back on your consumption of artificial sweeteners, I'd be interested to hear what you experienced. Post your comments below or on the Nutrition Diva Podcast Facebook page

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


The Quick and Dirty Tips Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.