Grandma's Ninja Warrior Diary: Diet Soda and Weight Gain



Yep. No typo in that subject line. I am 100% convinced that deit soda has nothing to do with a good diet if by diet you mean the attempt to lose weight.

I want to lose weight. I must lose weight. With push-ups, I am pushing an extra 30 pounds. That is a lot. With pull-ups, I am pulling an extra 30 pounds. That is a lot.

I have trued everythng available. Well, probably not everything, but many things. Keto? Fat cells cling stubbornly. Paleo? Fat cells cling ferociously. Trainer's special diet? Fat cells thumb their nose. Drop caloric intake to 900 calories day after day? (The thinking goes: you will lose weight with no more than 900 calories.) Those fat cells proved that thinking wrong. Cling, cling, cling!

Then, Carl was busy ubering, and there was no diet soda in the house -- for a couple of days. Time for tea!

Suddenly, without other explanation, a couple of pounds walked away. Gone!

The only difference that I could identify: no diet soda. That prompted some reseach--and, by golly, there is some science behind the connection between diet soda and weight loss, uh, make that weight gain!

Some studies have shown three reasons for weight gain (gain documented over a period of eight years) while drinking diet soda:


  • The artificial sweetner causes the body to produce insulin in anticipation of sugar. Sugar never arrives, and the result is metabolic confusion. (Yes! I was wondering if there were a metabolic problem after 6 months of 900 calories or less a day and still not losing weight--rarely gainig, but rarely losing anything except an occasional pound that would quickly reappear as two pounds. The metabolic disturbance has some bad side effects, like higher blood pressure and higher sugar levels. 
  • The greater sweetness of artificial sweeteners (more than real sugar) can create craving for more sugar--if given in to, well, here come more fat cells. (Fortunately, I do not like the taste of real sugar, so that craving never took over.)
  • Drinking diet soda throws off calorie counting mathematics (see me other posts on mathemtatics--never realized that elementary school math classes would be so important in my adult life). While diet sodas contain zero calories, they affect your body the same way a regular soda does, causing your metabolism to behave differently and to store fat, so it is like drinking those 140 calories, but not knowing that you think you can eat an extra 140 calories. (Ah! So, my 900 calories were really 1040 or 1180 or even much more!)

As if that were not enough, supposedly drinking diet soda has been linked with an increased risk of stroke (maybe from the higher blood pressure?) and increaed risk of Alzheimer's. Yikes!

So, perhaps all the time I was losing weight from keto, paleo, trainer, 900 calories tops, I was actually putting it right back on with the diet soda. Who would have thought!!

As for those brain cells, I cannot give them up to Alzheimer's. They are needed for figuring out how to handle obstacles.

Bye, bye, diet soda! Will follow the scale with heightened interest now. (In spite of my trainer saying to track how my clothes fit, not what the scale says -- gaining muscle and all that...)

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