Diet Drinks: Part of Your Weight Loss Diet or Not?

Do You Drink Diet Drinks?

My sweet friend and I were talking the other day and she was telling me how hard it has been for her to stop drinking diet drinks. As a side note, she’s been trying to kick the diet drink habit on and off since I’ve known her, which is about 10 years.

So as not to discourage her from her attempt to once again kick this habit, I did not tell her this little fact. While I was losing weight, I did not drink nearly as much water as I should have, and drank a lot of diet drinks during the whole process.

As a little attempt to defend myself now, back in the late 1990s, drinking water for health wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now. People didn’t carry around cute or sporty water bottles, there was not any bottled water to be found in my grocery stores, and even my Weight Watcher’s leaders never really pushed water like they do now.

All of my friends even drank tap water. Gasp!

Anyway, I digress. The point is that I did not focus on drinking water back then like I do now. When I was morbidly obese I not only drank diet drinks, I also drank that bright red punch that comes in gallon containers, tea sweetened with tons of sugar, and even the kid’s Kool-Aid. It’s true. In addition to bad food habits, I also had bad beverage habits.  No wonder I weighed 300+ pounds.

During my weight loss experience I drank diet drinks, black coffee, and water. I cut out all the caloric beverages, which was a good thing. Interestingly, it wasn’t long after I got to my goal weight that I did stop drinking diet drinks altogether.

Truthfully, every great once in a while I will have a sip of a diet drink but you know what? Now, it makes me sick. Literally sick to my stomach, which I think is very telling.

For example, the other day John had a Vanilla Coke Zero in the refrigerator. (Side note: I never buy his diet drinks. He buys them himself because I won’t do it.) Back to the story. I took literally two sips of the drink sitting there and pretty soon afterward; I started to experience uncomfortableness in my digestive tract.

It had been at least a year since I had sipped a diet drink and I quickly remembered why I don’t like them and try to avoid all artificial sweeteners. I think it is interesting that I could drink diet drinks all day long back in the day with no ill effects, but once I quit drinking them, they now make me sickish if I even have a sip.

I do not want to judge anyone who drinks diet drinks, because like I told you in the beginning, I definitely drank them as well.  However, I’m interested in challenging those of you who drink them to wean yourself off of them, do not drink them for a while, and then try them again. I wonder if you would have the same experience I did and why you think that might happen.

So my question to you is this: Do you drink diet drinks or other drinks with artificial sweeteners? Why or why not?  Diane

34 thoughts on “Diet Drinks: Part of Your Weight Loss Diet or Not?

  1. MIZ says:

    I do.
    one a day.
    no smoking drinking fast food
    I workout I live clean
    Ive kept this one a day vice 🙂

  2. Caitlyn @ City and the Cubicle says:

    I graduated college last year, and there was a vending machine right outside my apartment tower, so practically everytime I came back or left my apartment, I got a diet pepsi. My rational was what most people rationalize: “it’s diet!!! it’s okay!” Now I don’t have the easy access to soda unless I go out and buy it. But, of course, I switched from soda to crystal light. Sigh. I’m trying to eat healthier and slim down, so I’m working on easing myself off that too.

  3. Linda says:

    I used to drink diet Dr. Pepper all the time and even regular Dr. Pepper. That was about 5 years ago or more. To be honest, I don’t know why I stopped other than, like you Diane, I felt sick drinking it. Now I mainly drink water, some of it fizzy water, allow myself two small coffees with light cream and a small amount of sugar and a lot of herbal teas with a small amount of honey or lemon. My son is diabetic and drinks some diet pop but not much – he also switched to drinking water. For some reason now, pop (both diet and regular) tastes like medicine to me – but not the good kind! Every now and then, I may have a ginger ale but that is about once or twice a year. Good question!

  4. HappinessSavouredHot says:

    Avoiding liquid calories is one of my main rules for weight loss and maintenance.

    I don’t like pop (regular or diet), so that solves part of the problem for me.
    Coffee (1 cup a day): I have it black. Same for tea and herbal teas. There are tons of types, and you can also find flavored coffee that’s still non caloric.
    Instead of drinking juice, I eat fresh fruit and drink water.
    I do drink some smoothie, but I make it myself with fresh fruit and vegetables and plain, nonfat yogurt. Only good stuff.
    Occasionally I will have 1 glass of wine with supper, but I privilege quality over quantity: I pick the bottle carefully, and drink slowly!

    Liquid calories are a curse!

  5. Alejandra @ wishfulshrinking says:

    I definitely let myself have a coke zero a day my first two attempts at weight loss and weened myself off completely a couple years ago. I think because the first couple of attempts were such drastic diets, I needed that dose of sweet everyday. If I drink one now it’s rare and completely upsets my stomach. I eat enough clean real food that I don’t crave artificial sugar, because I get natural versions in fruit and honey. If you feel yourself reaching for a soda, drink a glass of water instead!

  6. KCLAnderson (Karen) says:

    It has gotten to the point where I seriously dislike artificial sweeteners and diet drinks so no, I don’t drink them at all (although I used to…and like you I slowly weaned myself from them and find them icky now!). The only time I drink a “regular” soda is if I have stomach upset (and that hasn’t happened in a very long time). Ginger ale does the trick for me! My beverage of choice is plain old water!

  7. Dukebdc says:

    I am an unapologetic diet-drink consumer. Diet Coke is my beverage of choice, but I drink other diet soda types as well as Crystal Light. I even make southern-style sweet tea with Splenda instead of sugar. I think it’s the residual part of the “I deserve it” mentality that you have mentioned before. For me, personally, diet soda gives me a pleasant, cold, bubbly beverage to enjoy that won’t wreck my waistline. I’ve read the studies about diet soda drinkers weighing, on average, more than non-soda drinkers, but it hasn’t been a problem for me. As long as I watch my calories (as always) more or less diet soda doesn’t affect my weight. And luckily, it doesn’t seem to give me any intestinal discomfort either. And frankly, the bubbles kind of fill me up, so if I’m fighting a craving for junk food, diet soda can save the day. Drinking a diet soda versus having a free-for-all with the cookies in the break room is a no-brainer for me.

  8. Taryl says:

    I do diet soda, coffee, tea, and other zero calorie drinks like Mio. I try to limit them, but when I’m having a sweets cravings, in particular, they are a helpful tool. I also drink tons of water, it’s just no big deal to me. I haven’t seen a big difference in my rate of loss or adherence, though too much aspartame gives me some cravings. But still – it’s a perfectly acceptable ‘evil’ for me, especially since my diet isn’t filled with diet foods. One vice does not a diet break 😉

  9. Dr. J says:

    I do drink diet sodas. I don’t tell others to do it, but I am not a good example there.

    I do not have liquid calories in my usual diet.

  10. Jody - Fit at 55 says:

    Well.. yes, ideally it would be a great thing to work your way off the diet drinks BUT if they are helping a person lose weight, well, so be it. They can make it part of another goal once they lose the weight. If they can cut back along the way, that is great & find flavored water or other things that help them.

    I used to drink them too, When I was in a very stressful job, I started to have stomach issues with them. I stopped at that point & never went back. My tummy can’t handle them anymore…

  11. Janis says:

    I drink water, but I do drink diet Snapple. Not so much soda; I’m not a major soda fan. Full-sugar soda makes me feel slightly nauseous, but the diet stuff just seems to sit more lightly. In general though, I do prefer (bottled) water, and aside from milk for my weekend coffee, a six-pack of bottled water is all I have to drink in my fridge. People laugh at southern Californians who drink bottled water, but the tap water in these parts tastes like gym socks.

  12. Amy says:

    I remember my mom drinking Tab back in the 70’s – anyone else remember those pink cans? And then in the 80’s and 90’s pretty much everyone seemed to be drinking Diet Coke, including me.

    I know some people that really got addicted to it, but that didn’t happen to me. I just slowly stopped drinking it so often, and now I almost never have it. I guess it just tastes too sweet and artificial to me now. We don’t even buy it anymore and when we go out to eat, I’d much rather have a sparkling water or a glass of wine.

  13. Karla says:

    I don’t drink diet soda any more. I WISH I could kick the artificial sweetener all together, I have tried several times, but I just can’t seem to get on board with 100% artificial sweetener free

    but no soda for me just, water… water… and more water…

    I started with the Crystal light and used to buy it by the CASE!!! but I read a blogger write about how she went into her dentist and they asked her if she had an eating disorder??? huh??? the citric acid in the unsweetened drinks was actually starting to eat away at her teeth!!! that was the final straw for me and unsweetened drinks

  14. E. Jane says:

    I have never liked the taste of diet soft drinks, so I don’t bother with them. Water is usually good for me, but I admit to an occasional “real” coca cola. Adding lemon or real cranberry juice to sparkling water gives it the kick that I am sometimes missing from carbonated drinks.

  15. Jenny says:

    I find it really difficult to drink a lot of water. I don’t like the “tastelessness” of it.
    I prefer to drink diet pop. I know it’s still not the healthiest option but, it helps with the sugar cravings and is at least calorie-free.

  16. Jennifer says:

    Good question, Diane! I stopped drinking any liquid calories when I first started my weight loss plan. Therefore, I drank diet pop. Now that I’m in maintenance, I allow myself occasional treats such as half a can of regular pop, or a carbonated flavored water such as Sparkling Ice. It depends on what my calorie consumption is for that day. However, it is an occasional indulgence (once a week or less), and I rarely drink more than 6-8 ozs.

  17. Meghan Rich says:

    I drink 64 oz of water a day and one to two cans of diet coke. I’m thin and healthy and am training for a half marathon… I guess it just depends on what works for you. I eat plenty of fruits veggies proteins an whole grains so if I have the occasional brownie or can of diet coke everyday I don’t worry about it because I have the body I want and I do plenty of good to it. But I will never advocate that diet soda is healthy because its not!!! It would be like me saying hey, it is healthy to tan, smoke ect… But hey we have our vices and mine is a cold glass of diet coke on ice with a straw 😉

  18. Babbalou says:

    I’ve never been much of a soda drinker but do drink coffee, tea, water, red wine and the occasional seltzer, particularly when I’m working outside in the heat. While I’d be the last person to claim artificial sweeteners are particularly healthy, I’m not opposed to them in moderation. The good thing about using them in tea rather than drinking soda, is that I’m spooning it in myself so am well aware of how much sweetener I’m adding. On average I probably use a couple of teaspoons a week. I know people who drink many many cans of diet coke daily, that would be of concern to me.

  19. Kelly says:

    I used to drink diet coke EVERYDAY and a lot of it. If I wasn’t drinking it I thought about drinking it. I quit 5 years ago and am happy about that because the fizzy-ness made me hungry all the time. At first you feel ‘bloated’ and full but just a few minutes later I’d be hungry – even if I just ate a meal.

  20. Katrin says:

    I do still drink an occasional diet pop. I do drink an obscene amount of water now. When I go out for dinner now I usually just order water and don’t miss the pop.

  21. PlumPetals says:

    I feel lucky that I’m allergic to artificial sweeteners so I’ve never been hooked to diet drinks. As for other types of drinks, I would much rather eat my calories than drink them, so I feel like a 100 calorie glass of juice is a waste. I’d rather have a bit more fish with my dinner!

    I love water and have no problem drinking it all day (again, I feel lucky with this because so many people seem to struggle with this). I’ll have green tea 4-5 times a week, coffee once in a while, maybe 4-5 times a month.

    If I do ever want a soda (rarely), then I’ll have a regular one. I think I do this maybe 3-4 times a year.

  22. Tanvee says:

    Hi Diane,
    I used to drink a lot of diet coke these days I have reduced the amount but I can’t say I have completely stopped it..I’m hoping I can, these days I prefer green tea, herbal tea, earl grey and coffee

  23. nancy says:

    This is such a great question. I can’t drink diet sodas or use artificial sweeteners of any kind. I am very chemical sensitive and the artificial sweeteners have bothered me since I was in my 20’s (I am 50 now). That has made avoiding diet drinks very easy for me. I am thankful I am happy with water (always with lemon or lime in it) and green tea. My husband is a different story. As a diabetic, he is encouraged to drink diet sodas. He had a diet coke habit that was astounding. Even after surviving bladder cancer (connection maybe???) he returned to his diet soda habits. Numerous attempts to wean himself off failed. When a good friend encouraged him to try again he realized something very interesting. When he avoided diet sodas and artificial sweeteners, his chronic knee pain completely disappeared. Now if he wants a soda he drinks a real one, or one made with stevia, and gives an appropriate amount of insulin to cover it. This is huge for him and I could not be happier. And—–we have 3 teenagers and, like most teens, they love soda. They are allowed one small one per day (I buy the smaller 6 oz sizes) but NEVER EVER allowed to have diet varieties.

  24. blackhuff says:

    I don’t drink soda drinks at all – so no diet drinks for me.
    I don’t use sweeteners as well, never have. Sweetners and diet drinks have never been tasty, the reason why I don’t use them.

  25. Andrew says:

    Hi Dianne,
    Problem with diet drinks is they contain man made chemicals, preservatives and artificial everything. Even the flavor is a derivative of chemicals. Diet orange has never been near anything resembling an orange.
    I think its better to cut them all out!

  26. Karen says:

    I used to be an avid Diet Coke drinker. Cans, bottles, 2 liters, fountain … any and all. I’d start in the morning and drank them all day. The idea of NOT drinking a Diet Coke was completely unthinkable. Over time, I’ve changed to coffee (am), water (all day), and an occasional cup of tea (pm). I use stevia for sweetener. Most of the time when I want a fizzy drink, I drink mineral water, either alone or with a bit of lime juice.

    My weight loss has not been fast, but all the changes I’ve made have been slow and with the intent for them to be sustainable.

  27. lisaross says:

    I had a weight issue since 5 years and I tried many ways but nothing changed. As you said that diet drinks made you sick after stopping. I want to use diet drinks for weight loss so can you help me which diet drinks I have to use for effective weight loss without any side effects and I need to fallow any diet plan or physical work outs while taking these drinks?. I heard about many diet drinks like green tea, black coffee, Dr.Pepper etc. but I don’t know which will work effectively. Please help me out of this problem.

  28. Tracy says:

    I have cut way back on my soda drinking, not quite sure why/how it happened. But, as a diabetic, I freely choose artificial sweeteners over sugar – I must. I began drinking diet Coke a long time ago, but not for caloric reasons, I just found it better tasting that regular. I find it offensive when people say things like “oh sure, have a Whopper and a diet Coke – that helps!” But when you prefer the taste of one thing over another, why should it matter if it’s “diet”? P.S. I’ve never eaten a Whopper 🙂

  29. Elle says:

    I have given up diet drinks. I’ve always enjoyed drinking water and if I really need flavor (which is not often), flavoring it with a little juice is better than chemicals. I occasionally drink La Croix Water which is basically carbonated water and, according to their website, “The flavors are derived from the natural essence oils extracted from the named fruit used in each of our LaCroix flavors. There are no sugars or artificial ingredients contained in, nor added to, these extracted flavors.” Do not expect it to taste like soda because it doesn’t. It has flavor but is not particularly sweet. I like it especially when it’s hot out and for some reason a soda-type drink is what I’m in the mood for.

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