Diet Soda May Help to Lose Weight, but These Are Better Alternatives

diet soda helps lose weight more than water

There has been a lot of debate on whether or not diet drinks can help you lose weight. A recent study (PDF) published in the journal Obesity found those who drank diet drinks lost a larger amount of weight than those who drank water (Note: this study was conducted for the beverage industry and there have been some questions about the methodology. Even the researchers concede they don’t know why those who drank the diet soda lost more weight since the study’s design didn’t allow them to identify what caused the greater weight loss). On the flip side, there have been a number of studies that show people who drink diet soda have a greater chance at being obese than those who don’t, and even a higher chance of being overweight than those who drink regular sugary soda.

In many ways, I think that the debate is framed entirely in the wrong light, especially if the object is to not only healthily lose weight, but doing it while saving money. In the study, those who drank diet soda lost more weight, but it’s important to note that both groups lost weight. Over the 12-week period, one group lost about 14 lbs while the other lost 10 lbs. While the beverage industry would like to frame this as proof their products are better for losing weight, the fact is that both helped people lose weight, and one costs a lot less. There are many alternatives to soda which will help you lose weight, cost a lot less money, and are chemical free.


Water is an excellent alternative to diet soda that doesn’t cost a dime to consume (if taken from the tap). It can save hundreds of dollars over soda during the course of a year. Water alone probably won’t be able to replacement diet soda completely since it lacks the sweetness and carbonation that many people crave, but it can be a great substitute the majority of the time.

Naturally Flavored Water

For those who do crave a bit of sweetness in their drinks, a good alternative is naturally flavored water. Skip the flavored water in the store (they are often loaded with extra sugar), and make it yourself. All you need to do is slice up fruit and veggies (lemons, oranges, strawberries, cucumbers or whatever taste you like), add them to a pitcher of water and let them soak for a few hours. The juice from the fruits will combine with the water giving you a bit of sweetness while being a lot healthier for you.

Black Coffee

The key with black coffee is that you don’t drink too much of it, and you refrain from adding anything to it like cream or sugar. It contains caffeine that will help those who drink diet soda for the pick-me-up, doesn’t have any fat and only contains a few calories. For those who want taste and aroma to their drink, it can be a good alternative plain water. When brewed at home, it is significantly well than buying cans of diet soda.

Unsweetened Iced Tea

Another wonderful alternative to diet soda that costs significantly less is unsweetened iced tea. While it won’t give the sweetness of a diet soda, it does give more taste than plain water. It’s an easy drink to make by brewing some tea, then filling a pitcher with ice and leaving it in the refrigerator. The few teabags you use will cost pennies rather than the dollars you would spend for the same amount of diet soda.

Green Tea

Green tea, much like iced tea, is another wonderful alternative. It has more caffeine that regular iced tea that can give a jolt to those who miss that aspect of the diet soda, but doesn’t have any calories. It also is a drink that can be consumed either hot or cold, depending on the season. Even better, it also contains a variety of antitoxins that make it a much healthier alternative. Green tea is usually a bit more expensive than regular black tea, but it still costs pennies compared to the cost of diet soda.


For those who like the bubbles and fizz that comes with sodas, a good alternative is seltzer water. Unflavored seltzer will have no calories, and flavored will usually have few calories. A great option is to do the same as with regular water and add some fruit to naturally bring in your flavor of choice to the drink. The cost of seltzer is usually less than diet soda, but you can save even more by purchasing a seltzer maker like soda stream if you drink a lot of it.

In the end, the question shouldn’t be whether or not diet soda is good for diets, but what are alternatives which are healthier and cost less while still helping you lose the weight you want to lose.

(Photo courtesy of globochem3x1minus1)

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17 Responses to Diet Soda May Help to Lose Weight, but These Are Better Alternatives

  1. derrick says:

    Diet soda is so bad for you and is filled with all kinds of chemicals. Stay away from it like the plague if you have any regard for your own health. That stuff is just terrible.

  2. gina says:

    As soon as you noted that the study was conducted by the beverage industry, I was inclined to disregard it. Unless this can be confirmed by some independent study that doesn’t have anything to gain by saying that diet sodas help you lose weight, I’m inclined to call bs. I look at this more as a marketing ploy than a true study.

  3. bill says:

    you shouldn’t be ‘inclined’ to disregard it, you should immediately disregard it out of hand. if an industry funds research that suggests you should buy more of their unhealthy chemical laden products in order to improve your health, something should sound amiss – especially when independent studies have reached conclusions that contradict this suggestion.

  4. dave says:

    Industry sponsored studies by the tobacco companies said that smoking wasn’t bad for you, too.

  5. D. Christie says:


    (Note: this study was conducted for the beverage industry and the results are complete Bullchit!)

  6. M@ says:

    I hate to break it to you, but you’re made of chemicals and you need to eat chemicals (vitamin C, for example) to survive.

  7. C. Chatterton says:

    One thing you didn’t mention is a SodaStream. By making your own soda you can control the amount of sugar in it. You can also make your own carbonated flavored water that has all the “carbonation people crave” with none of the sugar.

    Another thing I like about unsweetened Iced Tea is you can sweeten it, just control the amount of sugar you use (notice I’m big on that). I’ve gotten to the point where I can add just a packet of sugar to a 32oz Iced Tea and it gives me enough sweetness to enjoy without being packed to the gills with sugar like the soda companies like to do. It’s all about control!

  8. Robert says:

    I’m actually inclined to believe it simply because it was published by a reputable journal. Hear me out on this – Even with industry-sponsored studies, the results and methodology must be peer-reviewed to be published. If, for example, the study was done with proper scientific method and the results showed that drinking diet soda did NOT reduce obesity, the industry would have simply not bothered to publish it. It’s much easier and far less risky to simply bury an unflattering study than to falsify results and try to get them published. Ultimately, other independent studies will have to replicate the results before one can say for sure. Just because a study is funded by an industry does not mean the results are automatically falsified or the methodology somehow flawed.

  9. crazyliblady says:

    Green tea actually has LESS caffeine than black iced tea assuming they are brewed for the same amount of time.

  10. Fat Bastard says:

    Can’t you guys see this is a bait and switch article. It’s meant to attract attention by being controversial besides being completely false. The guy that posted this article should be ashamed but I guess nowadays everyone and everything is for sale.

  11. Josh Walker says:

    Notice the details: “since the study’s design didn’t allow them to identify what caused the greater weight loss.” SO they dont even know if the soda was the reason for the loss maybe the people who drank diet weighed 400lbs so they lost more weight than the people who were 200lbs drinking regular soda.

  12. Stewart says:

    If you read some of the full articles on this you will note that the methodology was peer reviewed in advance and there was an agreement to publish whatever the results turned out to be. The study seems legit, and it’s conclusion reasonable. But folks are not reading closely to see what the study was about. It was about people who liked diet soda and then went on a diet and excercise program. Some kept drinking diet soda and the others had to switch to water. It’s logical that the folks switching to water had less will power left for the rest of the program. And the study indicates that claims that diet soda somehow makes people gain weight are as unlikely as they sound. People who drink diet soda tend be overweight probably because people who are overweight drink diet soda as a quick fix (that doesn’t work).

  13. bethofspring says:

    Been drinking diet soda for over 60 years.
    I don’t consider the chemicals dangerous.
    It started with saccharine and morphed into cyclamates (I still get them from Canada).
    Then we finally got NutraSweet, which broke down in the pantry.
    Splenda was the next big find, and the doomsday prophets could not wait to dump on it.
    Now the stevia blends like Truvia are the darlings of those who didn’t like the plain stevia.
    I drink any and all.
    Therein lies the enemy.

  14. I prefer to drink water or black coffee rather than diet soda. Also, having a good diet and exercise would definitely lose you some weight.

  15. I love soda but I don’t think it an help you lose weight. If you really want to be fit and stay healthy, better choose plain water or unsweetened drinks.

  16. Tyler says:

    YEAH, water is my number one choice! But it’s not the only factor that influence fatloss, and trust me there are only a few crucial ones that people overlook.

    If you want to learn all about these key factors that will help you LOSE THE FAT, and NEVER GAIN IT BACK, i invite you to click on my name. See you on the other side! If you’re not blown away by this, dinner’s on me! : )

  17. Andrew M says:

    I find water the easiest and when I’m out I usually buy water if I’m thirsty.

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