Diet coke makes you put on weight?

There’s been this meme going around about how diet coke actually make you fat through some “insulin response” or some other mechanism like that. The web doesn’t seem to have any good info on this, so I’m turning to the dope.

Study: Artificial Sweeteners Increase Weight Gain Odds

For real?

Metabolic response to how the body handles food is hugely influential on weight gain over time. If you are drinking diet soda and limiting total calories to well below current weight maintenance, you’re going to lose weight.

If you are drinking diet sodas and eating a diet that just balances at maintaining your current weight (ie not a diet designed to lose weight) it’s not inconceivable that the metabolic impact of consuming diet soda could change how your body uses calories by decelerating your metabolism enough to cause an overall weight gain.

I can’t factually answer your question, but anecdotally, if I drink a diet anything with aspertame in it, which is what’s in Diet Coke, I get hungry, which tells me that my insulin level is being screwed with. Luckily more and more drinks are being made with Splenda, which doesn’t seem to do that. Mainly though, I just drink water or iced tea with Stevia.

Sorry I can’t give you a study, but I can tell you that I have learned the following from self-observation:

(1) certain kinds of foods are “fattening,” e.g. ice cream, cake, pizza, etc. This seems to follow the conventional wisdom.

(2) if I limit the amount of these sorts of foods in my diet, then my weight stays under control without any need for dieting. On the other hand, if I pig out on fattening foods, I gain weight; my clothes don’t fit as well, etc.

(3) There seems to be a natural craving for these sorts of foods. Even though I know they are unhealthy, I often have the urge to eat these sorts of foods much like a smoker has the urge to smoke a cigarette. In many situations, this urge seems to become quite intense and irresistable.

(4) Drinking diet soda seems to increase the craving I experience for fattening foods for a day or two after I drink the diet soda.

So I have no problem believing that diet soda would screw up peoples’ diets.

I have found that if I drink a Diet Coke, I get very hungry in 20-30 minutes (assuming of course I am not consuming it with a meal).
Dr. Atkins mentioned this in his books, and said that aspartame causes your blood sugar level to crash and trigger a hunger reflex in your body.
I try to stick with sodas sweetened with sucralose.

People are always looking for excuses why the fat, but it simply boils down to you eat too much.

Yes, things like Yo-yo dieting DO effect metabolism, but they do so in small ways. For instance a study done by Johns Hopkins found yo-yo dieters have lower metabolism to the tune of about 100 calories a WEEK LESS burned. This will not make any noticable difference in your weight.

Every study I’ve seen with artifical sweeteners says things like “They make you feel hungry so you eat more.” You see what it’s saying, you EAT MORE. You’re still in control.

If I lock you in a room and don’t let you eat, you won’t have the weight gain.

I drink diet cokes and stuff and got a kick ass body, and I’m 44. It’s all about calories in / calories out and exercise. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want, I just keep my calories at 1800 per day and I work out for an hour aerboics 5 days a week and 1 hour of weight lifting 5 days.

Don’t blame your lack of will power on a packet of Equal.

You actually can blame some of your lack of willpower on a packet of Equal. Overweight people, in general, have bodies that can’t regulate blood sugar as well and are capable of dropping sugar levels much lower than regular weight people’s from wrong food choices. If your body’s blood sugar gets low enough your body will make you eat. Yes, if you didn’t eat you wouldn’t gain weight but your body can override your willpower if it senses it’s in danger of dying.

Nah. The problem is, we pack in a bunch of calories and don’t move very much. They did those old studies, even the ones in the 80s when we complained about not exercising enough, but people still moved around more than they do today. More food is delivered, available via drive-thru, we’re on the computer instead of out doing yard work or working on the car, etc.

Maybe not individuals, but people in general. Video games, Internet, pda/phones, and so on, it’s easy to entertain ourselves without moving. The 2000 calorie diet is not only chewed through in a fast food meal or two before we even get to the soda or snacks, one calculation I saw had a 180lb man that spent most of his time in a chair (desk at work, car for the drive home, restaurants and recliner at home) could skim by with only 1200 calories a day. Maybe the calculation is ideal, but that’s basically a large fast-food meal. Once a day. Nutrients are an extra 50 cents…

Eating less and better might help, but I bet moving (not necessarily “exercise”, but little stuff, remember how (great-)grandma always seemed to be doing something, cooking, cleaning, gardening, and (great-)granddad always had some strange project he was working on? How many folks are like that today? I won’t even start with their own parents’ energy output.

Could the sweeteners cause a problem? Probably. But I think the only reason we’d notice it today is because it’s the only difference in our metabolism. A 10,000 calorie athlete probably wouldn’t even notice the effect.

Ahh, but then you DON’T eat whatever you want whenever you want. Or you don’t crave, say, McDonalds double quarter pounders. You eat 1800 calories a day. Not the same thing.

Because if I actually ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, I would weigh 900 pounds.

I apologize for hijacking here, but are you actually maintaining your weight with that high level of physical activity and that low a caloric intake? I mean no offense by the following questions if they are completely off-base, but my curiosity compels me to ask them anyway: are you very short? Are you very light? Are you female?

Yes, but if I’m not hungry I don’t tend to eat and there’s no need for willpower. As long as I stay away from anything that makes me hungry (such as Diet Coke or anything else with Aspertame), I don’t even think about food. I have to force myself to eat. That’s the biggest non-medical perk of a low-carbohydrate diet (which I’m on for diabetes, not weight). I know my body well enough now that if I have hunger pangs, ever, I’ve eaten something I shouldn’t and need to replay in my mind what I put in my mouth that caused my insulin to spike.

I don’t think that everyone is here actually reading the article. It’s NOT saying that diet soda will make you gain weight through magic even if you are dieting. It’s saying that in non-calorie restricted diets, diet soda does not help, and is potentially meaningful correlated with weight gain.

Artificial sweeteners do affect sugar levels, and I can easily believe they can mess with your metabolism if the body is expecting sugar and gets none by decelerating your metabolism or ramping up your appetite, either of which will cause weight gain (all other things being equal) over time.

Why don’t you believe that’s true? Of course one could eat whatever one wanted, just not the amount that one might want to.

Actually, Markxxx’s 1800 is where they’re saying most somewhat active people probably fall today. Two hours of exercise a day might be a lot if Markxxx’s got a highly physical job (fast paced heavy lifting factory or construction job), but if not, it evens out. Depends on the intensity of the program, too.

Who is “they?” Learning about diet and nutrition is sort of a hobby of mine, and I’ve generally seen numbers for caloric intake quoted much higher. If there’s been new research that lowered this number significantly, please enlighten me. I’m all ears.

I asked this a while back. IIRC (and I might not), the response was that this had been hashed before. I found quite a bit of info about it (pro and con) on the net.

Sorry, no links - my connection is s l o w.

Whatever one wants + whenever one wants would seem to = unlimited food.

1800 calories is not the same as unlimited food.

Incorrect and in fact, the opposite is true. Willpower can override the body’s sense of self-preservation. An anorexic starving him or herself to death is a typical example.

As this post notes, there is nothing to make you gain weight if you are restricting calories. The title of the article (which I haven’t read) could be misleading. This same article comes out every few years, at least since the 80s. I remember an economics professor at my college bringing it up on the first day of class, way back when. I knew he was full of himself, and just trying to torture our ears, because I was drinking at least a litre of diet pop a day. It helped me *lose *weight.
At any rate, it’s a pop headline that the reporter used to make you read his article. Exercise and good genes will make you gain weight if you are on a non-restricted calorie intake regimen. Running 10 miles a day and lifting weights for three hours will make you gain weight if you are eating more than you are expending. Big news flash.

I drink a lot of Diet Pepsi, and I’ve always wondered if the high acidic content in the drink makes food digest more quickly, therefore destroying the fats that make you feel “full”

For me, there is a difference in feeling a sudden drop in blood sugar (my husband and I call it “hitting rock bottom”) and just an empty, acidy feeling in your stomach.