Doctors Discuss Body Changes When You Quit Drinking Diet Soda

Joel Eisenberg

Whether you pause for weeks or months, beneficial body changes are likely to be fast and notable.

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Author’s Note

This article is free of opinion and bias, and is based solely on science and accredited media reports. No medical advice is offered herein on the part of the author. All listed theories and facts within this article are fully-attributed to several medical experts, scientists, and media outlets, including Healthline.com, TheList.com, EatThis.com, and The Oregon Dietician.

Introduction

I have previously written two articles for NewsBreak on the dangers of diet soda. See here for “Medical Studies Disclose Dangers of Diet Soda on Physical and Mental Health,” and here for “Medical Studies Say Diet Sodas are Linked to Depression and are as Unhealthy as Sugar-Heavy Regular Sodas.”

Excerpted in the latter article is a Healthline.com piece written by Rachael Link, MS, RD, medically reviewed by Alissa Palladino, MS, RDN, LD, CPT, and entitled "8 Potential Side Effects of Consuming too Much Diet Soda."

From the article, which also notes more research is needed before a definitive conclusion can be made in this regard: One study in 59,614 women showed that drinking at least 2 diet drinks per day was associated with a higher risk of heart problems and dying from heart disease over a 9-year period. Other older studies have found that both diet and regular soda intake could be linked to an increased risk of stroke. Plus, diet soda has been tied to a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, which is a group of conditions that can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Other potential side effects listed in the Healthline.com pice is a decrease in bone density and an erosion of tooth enamel.

At this juncture, most of us are familiar with these findings, some recent and others several years old. What we have yet to discuss, however, is exactly what happens to the human body when diet soda is no longer ingested for a particular length of time. We know the dangers, but does pausing or stopping entirely truly aid specific body functions?

Let us explore further.

Diet Soda and Health

An updated March, 2018 article from TheList.com, written by Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH, and entitled “Things That Happen When You Stop Drinking Diet Soda,” states the following: "Artificial sweeteners have been shown to increase appetite and to disrupt the hormones that signal fullness," Dan DeFigio, nutrition expert, and bestselling author of Beating Sugar Addiction For Dummies told me. "Drinking artificially-flavored substances desensitizes your taste buds to sweetness, so you end up craving more sugar and sweet tastes." Once you give up the diet stuff, you may notice that your Friday morning muffin tastes a lot sweeter than usual. You may not even want the whole thing!

Potential signs of withdrawal, according to the article, are also common prior to the general sense of well-being.

A Gabby Landsverk piece from Insider.com details the alleged plight of YouTuber Joel Wood, who is said to have gone from drinking two liters of diet soda a day to giving it up completely. Landsverk’s piece, entitled “A YouTuber Quit Drinking Diet Soda For 109 Days and Found He Craved Less Sugar Than Ever,” states: While the first days and weeks without his beloved Coke Zero and Pepsi Max were challenging, Wood said he eventually found it much easier than he though to live without diet soda, and plans to keep doing it. There were major benefits to kicking the habit, both for his wallet and his health. He saved a significant amount of money — about $3 a day, or nearly $300 in total. But he also ate fewer sugary treats overall. 

The article goes on to say the tendency to decrease sweets upon giving up diet soda is common, and verified by physicians.

In an April, 2021 article about soda in general, written by Kiersten Hickman for EatThis.com and entitled “Side Effects of Giving up Soda, According to Dietitians,” the author states: Soda is one of the most unhealthy beverages you can consume, and giving it up will definitely make you feel better and improve your health overall," says Megan Byrd, RD, from The Oregon Dietitian. "When you give up soda, your body will become more hydrated and you'll have less inflammation. By substituting out water and other healthy drinks instead of soda, you increase your metabolism, improve your cardiac health, and you may even lose some weight!" A positive change in your body's metabolism and weight aren't the only side effects of giving up soda. In fact, even your bone and teeth health will significantly improve.

Science, it seems, is largely in agreement.

Conclusion

Soda, regardless of their diet or regular varieties, are rarely of benefit to the human body (my caveat here are those marketed as all-natural utilizing non-chemical sweeteners, of which more studies are presently being undertaken), and most frequently, in fact, deleterious in the long-term.

The efficacy of diet sodas on physical and mental health, especially, as they are sold as healthier variants, are largely misleading. When one pauses their ingestion of diet soda, medical benefits are quickly noticed, as is a general sense of overall well-being.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

Northridge, CA
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