Diet drinks not so diet


Apr 6, 2005

Low-cal means you may head right back to the fridge
Sep 02, 2007 04:30 AM
Leslie Scrivener
Which is better for you — Coke or Diet Coke?
Neither offers any nutrients, dietitians say, so which you drink becomes a matter of personal taste. "There's no such thing as better," says Stephanie De Maio, a registered dietitian at St. Michael's Hospital. Either one should be drunk in moderation, that is, infrequently, she says.
Some people like sweet taste or regular coke, which has 160 calories, and some people like the taste of Diet Coke, which has none.
We tend to associate diet drinks with weight loss or maintenance. But studies have shown that our bodies tend to compensate for calorie-reduced food or drink and demand more, which leads to overeating. As in: since I'm having a Diet Coke, I can also have a platter of French fries.
The most recent study, published last month in the academic journal Obesity, by David Pierce at the University of Alberta, found that young rats tended to overeat after they had been fed low-cal diets. In 2005, an eight-year study at the University of Texas showed that for each can of diet soda consumed a day, the risk of being overweight went up 41 per cent. In contrast, those who drank a can of regular sweetened soda every day, the risk went up 30 per cent.
Some diet soda drinkers may be concerned about the artificial sweetener, aspartame, which is the most studied food additive in history. Aspartame, made from amino acids, is 200 times sweeter than sugar. You don't need very much of it to sweeten a drink. Health Canada guidelines say we can safely consume 40 milligrams of aspartame per kilogram of weight, which means a 68-kilogram person would have to drink about 20 cans a day to get into the aspartame danger zone.
But not everyone can tolerate aspartame. "It's a definite no-no for any one with Phenylketonuria, or PKU," says Rena Mendelson, professor of nutrition at Ryerson University. Babies born in Ontario have been tested for decades for the genetic disorder, which prevents people from metabolizing phenylalanine, one of the amino acids in aspartame.
Coca Cola's latest pitch is to promote their products as "hydrating" drinks. New to the market is Diet Coke Plus with vitamins and minerals. It's on the shelves in the U.S. but hasn't been approved for sale in Canada.
Health Canada has strict regulations on food fortification. It allows for the replacement of nutrients lost in food processing – Vitamin D, for example, is added to milk when it's lost in pasteurization. But Food and Drug regulations do not not allow vitamins and minerals to be added if they were not present in the food in the first place.
The vitamins and minerals added in Diet Coke Plus (niacin, vitamins B6 and B12 and zinc and magnesium) are already found in most foods we eat daily such as bread, dairy products and meat.


House Member
Jul 10, 2004
Victoria, BC
Aspartame is nasty shyte. I do believe you're better off with the calories than chancing this stuff. I Googled aspartame and got a ton of hits. Not good news. Anyone who uses the stuff oughta give it a looksee.

Aspartame: 92 Side Effects

Too many to list here, for sure!

I find it interesting that the article does link weight issues with diet drinks ... believing we can have fattening foods since we have a diet soda to make up for them. I have no doubt that is a contributing factor to the current weight problems!

It is good to see that the companies are finally adding some nutrients to soda. We're gonna drink the stuff no matter what so they may as well do us the favour!


Electoral Member
May 29, 2007
I hate to say it but, I'm actually not surprised by this. Even without calories, diet soft drinks can always have the nasty stuff that's also in regular soft drinks. Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, etc. Because of this article, I also think that this is a link in this to the many weight problems a lot of people suffer from. Well, at least they're putting some nutrients in it, especially since I'm a huge pop drinker. But, either way, I'd stick with the calories over the aspartame and sweetener any day of the week!

Cosmo;868924[COLOR=DimGray said:

BTW, thanks for the info Cosmo! I knew some side effects about Aspartame before, but wow! I didn't know there were 92 of them! 8O
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Blah Blah Blah
Aug 31, 2006
Under a Lone Palm
Codfish, You say they haven't inventented an aspartame free soft drink. I must be mis reading cuz I just had a Coke with no aspartame.

The problem can be that people order a burger and super size the fries with a diet pop. WTF. If you're fat, have the pop with sugar and a salad and whole wheat bread, go easy on the dressing.


Jan 6, 2007
Keep in mind though, that for diabetics, aspartame and the like are a godsend.

I, personally, react horribly to any artificial sweeteners. My fibromyalgia flares up like mad. But, I do recognize that there are some people who need it to live a normal life.


Hall of Fame Member
Jan 28, 2007
Not all side effects are negative; my third hand is quite useful.


Hall of Fame Member
Jun 26, 2005
Minnesota: Gopher State
this is a mind on aspartame:



Force majeure
May 28, 2007
The whole "diet" gimmick is often little more than a marketing angle anyway.
Anyone living in a large city gets literally bombed with advertising selling very unhealthy food. While there is a huge and growing industry making billions off of people who hope for a solution to the horrible state they are in.

Stuff that will ruin your health are freely available in damn near any store you walk into and they promise that you will being exactly like the professional body builder who is promoting the product. Except in very tiny print squirled away in the light coloured font, where they tell you that actually any result like that is not typical at all. But the hype is all over the place for it. And if advertising didn't work, they wouldn't use it.

While a percentage of people don't feel the effect of it, some find it almost like some standing next to them coaxing them into eating not just the crap but plenty of it. Mixed with the message that fat is bad, is it any wonder why so many people are messed up?

There is a doco in rotation called Thin. It's about anorexics, and a bit of a tough watch. But it's especially difficult not to feel upset at seeing young girls in their teens or early twenties so caught up in the disorder that at 90 pounds they are at times hysterical in thinking they are fat and have to lose weight.

Think about that. 90 pounds and freaking out about being fat.
Our culture does this to people. Even right here, it's alright to rag on someone for being fat. That goes by without batting an eyelash. And because it is that acceptable to say that to someone, it justifies open season on people for flaws to what ever degree can be reached. And that's just one very visible flaw that people can be raked over for. There are hundreds of others. Disabilities, come in many forms. Some easily treatable, others take more extensive intervention to over come. But having products and making false claims about their effectiveness is just one more aspect to the whole problem.