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Diet Soda Is Keeping You Fat And It’s Best Avoided

diet soda


Diet soda makes us fat. Some may be enraged by this, some confused, others ready to see this point of view.

Of course, there’s much more to this, and that’s exactly what we’re going to cover in this article and why diet soda is actually working against you, making it harder to lose that last bit of body fat.

It’s connected to the big picture – starving yourself and beating yourself down in the gym is only going to push you further away from your fitness goals and leave your health worse off than when you started…


Now before the diet coke drinkers get their pitchforks and torches to come after me…

My true reasoning behind this is simply to make getting (and keeping) your dream body much easier to achieve.

There’s a huge disconnect in the fitness industry and it’s keeping most in a vicious yo-yo dieting cycle. The truth is, reaching your fitness goals is much easier than you think – you just need the right guidance.

We’re about to cover the ingredients in diet soda that are hurting your health, how diet soda (and dieting) is causing more stress on your body than you think, the real reason your body actually stores fat, and what to drink instead of diet soda.

A mouth-full indeed, let’s dive in…


During the early years of my fitness journey, I learned the hard way.

I sacrificed my health for abs. Even my enjoyment, my social life, and my time.

All the way from crash and fad diets to 6 days a week in the gym.

Did I start to see some results? Sure did. But what also took a major hit was my testosterone (sex drive too), gut health, skin, sleep and much more.

What was the point of trying to get abs if I still looked and felt like a trash can?

You know what always looks sexy?


We’re literally programmed down to our DNA to scan for it in others.

Want abs? Want bigger, stronger muscles?

Bring your body into a healthy state and all of that becomes much easier to obtain and even easier to maintain.

The problem lies in the mainstream diet advice, which is leaving people starving themselves, killing themselves in the gym, and possibly even less healthy when they started…

Especially when one gets lost in only thinking about calories in vs. calories out.


What better place to really begin other than why we actually store body fat.

It’s important we do, as we need a new perspective looking at this situation. Most only view getting fat from too many calories, which yes, there is a lot of truth to that…

But most fail to see the big picture of the physical, emotional, and environmental factors that prime our bodies for fat gain as well.

Fat and storing body fat is the mechanism that protects us from … death, really.

If our metabolic health begins to suffer, fat protects the body from heat loss.

Say for example we throw it back long long ago, to our hunter-gatherer ancestors. If they weren’t able to store body fat, when they would encounter periods without food, they would have died instantly.

So yes, eating a surplus of calories will cause weight gain.

Although, my point is that the body has very complex ways of maintaining its synchronicity and balance (homeostasis); different factors (other than more calories) can throw off your body’s balance and prime it for fat storage.

And since most of us reading this are grateful enough not to have to worry about famine, what can still affect us though is chronic stress, dietary stress, emotional stress, environmental stress, and so on.

Remember, I’m Not Calling Out Diet Soda (Completely)

Can you ever pinpoint any one single thing causing an issue for somebody? No, not all the time.

So saying diet soda alone is making you fat, well, that’s not really likely. A bit contradicting of myself yes, but the point I’m trying to make is (which we’ll cover in a moment) that we need to look at the bigger picture.

The bigger picture being, ALL the things you do add up. And they can add up in a positive way that improves your health for the better or in a negative way that makes matters worse for you.


diet soda is making you fat

One last point to make before I start tearing apart diet soda to tie everything together…

Trust me, we’re building the foundation as to why pounding down multiple diet sodas each day (especially without any calories is affecting your health and making it more and more difficult to reach a low body fat.

Water. It makes up about 60% of the human body. And of course, that means it regulates the processes of pretty much every cell in your body.

More so, hormones and minerals help regulate water in your body. Everything is connected.

As we were just talking about the balance of the body, when this balance gets thrown off, that’s when issues such as inflammation can occur.

Sometimes inflammation is good and needed. Say when you workout and break down your muscles, after, inflammation is triggered to then signal the growth and repair of those muscles.

Sometimes inflammation is bad and harmful though. Say from poor food choices (dietary stress), poor sleep, out of whack gut health, etc.

That’s actually important to mention, nowadays poor gut health is one of the biggest causes of chronic inflammation in the body.

Essentially when bad bacteria overpopulates the gut microbiome, they produce a metabolic waste called endotoxin. This waste then causes inflammation, water retention, and weight gain as it continues to stress the body.

Relating everything together, this inflammation is what stimulates fat storage to only protect yourself if the stress continues. Which if it continues for long enough, can lead to far worse problems than just a little extra weight gain.


A big takeaway from this article and the main reason I’m writing it isn’t that diet soda is inherently making you fat BUT it’s definitely not helping make matters better for your overall health and well being.

In other words, I’m a huge proponent of eating as close to whole, easily digestible foods as possible.


You’ll have more energy, your health will be optimal and you’ll finally get to your fitness goals much easier.

Of course, everything in moderation right? Just as you would (or should) treat a brownie, cookie, glass a wine, etc. with an already balanced diet – that’s how you have a win-win in your life and enjoy it to the fullest.

The Unhealthy Ingredients In Diet Soda

Now let’s take a look inside the silver can…


Diet soda companies make claims that aspartame is totally fine for consumption.

Gosh it’s really tough to say honestly because we don’t have enough research on the long-term side effects because it’s so newly introduced into our diet.

One thing is for sure though, there is a difference in human and animal studies. In animals, aspartame has been shown to increase the risk of cancer.

Obviously the size and dosages are going to affect animals before it does a human but in my opinion, even if the dose isn’t high enough to cause an effect in humans (which we don’t fully know) it’s best avoided altogether.

It doesn’t stop there though.

I’ve run through multiple studies where artificial sweeteners trick your body into thinking calories will be accompanying the sweet taste.

But there aren’t any in diet soda. So this sends signals to your brain to continue drinking and craving it more.

I’m going to expand on this on a moment because it’s the main point I’m trying to make.

Caramel Color

I used to think caramel coloring was harmless until I looked a little deeper.

The coloring contains a chemical contaminant called 4-methylimidazole—a. Long-term exposure to this chemical has been shown to cause lung cancer in mice.

It’s also been listed on California’s Proposition 65 list of carcinogens.

Swinging back to moderation. If you’re having one or two cans a day, that’s not moderation, that’s a habit.

“Natural Flavors”

This is a very gray area. It can sound great. Making natural flavors coming from essential oils, spice, fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc…

Although, the reality is that they are coming from chemicals. Which can mimic the taste of any “natural flavor.”

In short, there’s definitely not flavor extracted from essentials oils in your diet coke. It’s chemicals.

Phosphoric Acid

Phosphorus is found naturally in many foods and your body needs it in abundance.

Phosphoric acid, on the other hand, is used as an additive and it’s what gives diet sodas its tartness. This acid is also used for many other purposes that aren’t related to human consumption. Too much of it can be toxic to the body.

It’s also been claimed that this ingredient in diet sodas is what erodes tooth enamel.


Finally, the big moment you’ve (or just me) been waiting for, ha!

I’ve had several clients go on and on about how they crave diet soda…

Is it the cold, refreshing crispiness? Maybe the taste? Is it linked to your own little drinking ritual?

Sure, it could be all of those, but I believe it goes much much deeper.

The core reason for this article is that diet soda isn’t helping your body manage water and electrolytes properly.

And the real reason you keep craving diet soda is that you’re tricking your body into thinking it’s getting calories when it’s really not.

The Problem With Most People’s Morning Routine

Most wake right up in the morning and rush straight to the coffee or diet soda.

The problem? You’ve just gone all night without any water or nutrients. And if you’ve ever felt a little foggy and tired first thing in the morning (yes this could be from a short or poor nights sleep) what also could be contributing to this is being slightly dehydrated.

Now, caffeine is ALWAYS going to stimulate and raise the metabolic rate.

And this is great, it’s one of the reasons caffeine is one of the most widely used drugs.

This is fine in a healthy person and okay if you’ve eaten something and have had nutrients with caffeine.

It’s not okay when your body doesn’t have protein and carbs to help metabolize the caffeine.

First thing in the morning, if it doesn’t, it will release stress hormones to break down fat and muscle tissues for fuel.

This in the fitness space is considered a good thing (fat burning baby)! But don’t go chugging your diet soda just yet…

Your Body Is Under Stress

Remember what we were talking about earlier in the article, if your body is under stress, it promotes fat storage.

So in the mornings with diet soda or caffeine (especially if you didn’t have any water first thing), your body doesn’t have sufficient nutrients to keep up with the raised metabolic rate from caffeine.

It will then release stress hormones to break down tissues. Your body is literally eating itself to survive. The sad part? It doesn’t just start with body fat, it first goes after your organs and muscle mass first.

In short, you’re putting your body through extra struggle and stress to try and lose body fat.

The body doesn’t run on air. The body needs nutrients to survive. That’s why crash dieting ALWAYS leaves people in a yo-yo cycle. Losing and gaining back the same 20-30 pounds year after year.

This leaves you in an endless cycle of struggle, frustration, strenuous effort to get to your goals, but can never relieve the stress and get out of the hole you keep digging.

A Real-World Example

is diet soda healthy

A more real-world example of you experiencing this is when this caffeine triggers the flight or fight stress response (which is good in some cases).

But this stimulates increased bowel movements and water loss (peeing it out).

Again most people think this diuretic effect is a good thing for losing weight and body fat but it’s hurting the body in the long run because it’s losing a lot of minerals and electrolytes (think sodium and potassium) by using caffeine incorrectly.

You aren’t losing water retention from your tissues (what you think is keeping you fat) but you’re dumping essential minerals and electrolytes from the bloodstream because you don’t have the calories to prevent this.

The average person can have as much as nine pounds of water just in their bloodstream.

And if the body is under stress and is worried about survival, it’ll start shedding water quickly if it thinks it needs to get away from danger (obviously not the case today, maybe you want to run from your boss or co-worker) but the stress still happens).

In other words, diet sodas stimulate a huge loss of electrolytes because of caffeine and no calories – which in the long run is going to hurt your body’s ability to manage water.

This is also related to why you keep craving them. And if one keeps drinking more and more diet soda the body can’t handle the increased water volume because of loss of electrolytes.

In turn, causing the water to soak into your tissues like a sponge BUT it’s still causing a low blood volume and the water going into the tissues then stimulates fat storage and fat retention.


So in short, if you’re struggling with losing body fat and your weight, you’re making it harder on your body to do so by constantly flushing your electrolytes.

Achieving Balance

Caffeine can be very helpful and even therapeutic but only if your body can handle it.

If you’re struggling with losing stubborn body fat or with your weight overall. You could very much benefit from ditching diet sodas.

And even caffeine for a few weeks and focus on improving your diet and allowing your body to restore its electrolyte balance.

For me personally, I benefitted from having sufficient calories when I consume caffeine so I don’t trigger this stress response.

You’ll notice the difference too:

1) Either you’ll feel super stressed, anxious even. You have heavy pit sweats. You have to pee a lot and feel really jittery and hyper.

2) Or you feel awesome with smooth calm energy. Ready to tackle whatever the day throws at you. Your hands and feet are warm. You’re in a great mood and have immense mental clarity and focus.

I opt for #2.

Should You Stop Drinking Diet Soda?

Once you focus on eating better foods and drinks with better ingredients your cravings for diet sodas will literally disappear.

That being said, I wrote this article to offer a new perspective on dieting, the fitness industry, and helping reach your dream body and health.

It’s very easy for people and even the masses to get caught in certain dogmas.

What I mean is, people are scared of drinking a fresh-squeezed glass of organic orange juice because of the 110 calories but forget about the beneficial vitamins and minerals like vitamin c, potassium, calcium, and B vitamins that help support a robust metabolism – so they drink a zero-calorie beverage with no nutritional value and continue to struggle with attaining their dream body.

Do what’s right for you and what you feel best.

And of course, everything in moderation, right?


– Trent



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About Trent McCloskey

I'm Trent, the creator of Train. Eat. Live. My mission is to empower people around the world to take control of their bodies and change their entire life’s course through fitness.

Interested in working with me? Click here.

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