Deciding if diet sodas are good for a low-carb diet depends on your definition of "good." Low-carb diets work by tricking your body into assuming a physiological state that naturally burns fat at an increased speed. The body can easily withdraw from this fragile state if you eat too many carbs. Although diet sodas can be friendly to a typical low-carb diet plan, they aren't necessarily your best choice for good health.
Low-Carb Diet Basics
Low-carbohydrate diets work on the concept of ketosis. In ketosis, your body shifts from burning carbohydrates as its prime source of energy to burning the energy stored in your body fat. This can produce dramatic weight loss in a relatively short time. One disadvantage of these diets is that it's easy to kick the body out of ketosis by taking in even small amounts of carbohydrates -- especially in the early stages of the diet.
Diet Soda Basics
In response to a growing American awareness of health and weight loss, soda manufacturers expanded their capitalization by offering a zero-calorie way to continue drinking soda. Most diet sodas are sweetened with zero-calorie, zero-carbohydrate artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame. Because these sweeteners contain no carbohydrates, they are generally okay for consumption from the standpoint of not interfering with the physiology behind low-carb diets.
Caffeinated diet sodas have an additional weight loss benefit. The caffeine is a mild stimulant, which can cause you to burn more calories throughout the day -- an ingredient behind the benefits of some weight-loss teas and diet pills. Although calorie count is not as important a factor in low-carb diets, this can still make a noticeable difference on your bathroom scale.
Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health writes about diet sodas in his landmark nutrition book "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy." He reiterates that diet sodas have no calories or carbohydrates, and states that the health risks associated with them are largely overstated. On the other hand, Willett notes that these drinks have no nutritional value -- ultimately making diet sodas "an expensive way to get water."
- "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy"; Walter Willett, et. al; 2004
- Obesity Action Coalition: “Upper” Limits The Value of Caffeine in Weight-loss
- Fire Museum of Missouri: History of Soda Pop
- Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.