What do you drink to encourage weight loss?

I’ve drunk diet soda for about 20 years, but recently I’ve been reading things about the effect on the bones, and supposedly there is a reaction with insulin that discourages burning calories when you eat or drink sweet tasting things.

First, does anyone have good information if that insulin story is correct? Second, what do you drink that’s palatable and not just water through the day, if it doesn’t have some sort of sweet taste? I’m not thinking of anything. Green tea?

I was going to say water, but you told me not to, so never mind. I drink a lot of black tea. Serious true fact: On a hot day, unsweetened iced tea is the most refreshing thing ever. Other than that, I got nothing. I pretty much drink tea and water only. Well, and rum.

i’m probably conditioned via 3 brutal years of HS football but i can ONLY drink water after working out - room temperature water at that. ice water gives me brain freeze, tea has too much tanin, which makes me feel even more cottonmouthed, and gatorade is too sweet. watered down gatorade just tastes like urine.

I have PCOS/insulin resistance, so I’ve heard the “oh, sweeteners are the devil” thing a bunch, and I gotta tell you, for me they make NO DIFFERENCE. I lost 135 lbs in 14 months eating a ridiculous amount of aspertame and splenda: diet sodas, but also in my cottage cheese, in my coffee, in my tea, in my sugar free jelly etc. It might be worth trying–some people find it makes a difference–but don’t assume it will.

I did switch from diet soda to crystal-lite type powders about six months in because I was much thirstier and I found the non-carbonated stuff easier to drink in quantities, and I sorta lost my taste for carbonated sodas. I buy the generic powder and mix it in an empty gallon water jug–I use twice as much water as directed just because it does have SOME calories and once I got used to it, it tasted just the same (this took a couple weeks).

[rant]I think a lot of people think that anything that makes dieting easier is bad because being fat makes you a bad person and a diet is supposed to be punishment, so if instead you find a new way of eating that is actually enjoyable, it’s cheating. Instead, you are supposed to eat in a way that you don’t enjoy, but would if you weren’t a fatass, and if you find you don’t like a whatever diet, it must be that you are lazy and self-indulgent and the problem is all you. I spent YEARS trapped in this kind of thinking, and it was only when I realized it was all bullshit that I was able to safely and surprisingly easily control my weight.[/rant]

Same, I had no trouble losing weight while drinking diet.

The studies are generally pretty thin when I tried to get more detail.

Water is pretty hard to beat on price though, and thats what I mainly drink now. Like diet, I found if I practised drinking it enough, it eventually became normal.


I get cases of Perrier from Costco. Somehow fizzy water is much better than regular water.

Manda JO, good for you. You hit it right on the nose (with your rant, that is). And congratulations on the weight loss.

To answer the technical question in the OP, the research on the effect of artificial sweeteners on weight loss is very spotty. All the claims about artificial sweeteners and insulin resistance (or whatever it is) seem to go back to one small study (on rats, if memory serves) that has never been replicated (I don’t know if people have tried). Yet I hear this repeated as absolute fact, usually by skinny people.

Since this is IMHO, I’m not going to take the time to Google all of this for you, it shouldn’t be hard to find - the claims, and the actual evidence.

ETA: I drink too much diet cola and black tea, I just seem to need the caffeine to keep going. I should probably wean myself off of it, but one struggle at a time.

Drinking only water does get monotonous and I start craving flavor, so during the winter I drink tea (decaf lemon flavored black tea or mint green tea) primarily, but I’ll treat myself to a late afternoon diet soda. In the summer months I alternate plain water with Crystal Light (made with 50% more water than it calls for).

I lost 180 lbs a few years ago, and drank pretty much nothing but diet soda at the time. Still do, actually.

Could you practice drinking water? Like, by slowly watering down your diet soda until it’s nothing but water? I know that may sound a bit jarring, but water is good for you, has no risks associated with it, doesn’t go bad, and is remarkably cheap and thirst-quenching.

You could also drink water throughout most of the day and savor 8 ounces of diet soda (or whatever) as a daily treat.

It doesn’t seem like such a head-scratcher to me, but what do I know?

<soapbox>It just seems like if people want to lose weight and keep it off, they have to train themselves not to constantly indulge in taste and flavor. I’m not saying people should eat dirt, but I can’t help but think that if folks can’t get into the habit of drinking plain water–a very basic thing–then they aren’t really going to maintain a healthy weight in the long run.</soapbox>

Mr. Sali was one of those people who drank coffee in the morning and diet Coke all day long until bedtime. Didn’t like water. Until he took a sip of super-chilled tap water from an aluminum bottle in the refrigerator, and now he actually likes, and drinks, occasional water. A miracle for our time!..
Does anyone drink Kool Aid any more? I used to make it for the kids when they were small (the add-sugar kind), making it just barely sweet, and some flavors were pretty darned good.

I’m not sure that a cephalic phase insulin response to diet soda consumption has ever been observed in humans, but even if it were true the whole “insulin hypothesis” explanation of obesity appears to be full of holes. See James Krieger’s excellent overview of the science of insulin:

In my experience, the full calorie soda with lots and lots of caffeine, like coke, pepsi, or mountain dew, and then skip meals.

I’ve been skipping meals since high school and kept my weight at 115 until I was married.

You can train yourself to enjoy water. It only takes a couple of weeks to lose the cravings for flavored drinks. Liking water is a skill that will serve you for the rest of your life in a number of ways.

My mother drank diet cola like it was going out of style when we were growing up. We weren’t really allowed to have it when we were young, but by the time I was fourteen I was a total Diet Cokehead. Could easily down four litres over an afternoon.

Then I started university and moved out. No way could I afford soda. I received one of those home carbonation things - about the size of a coffee maker and carbonates one bottle at a time - and started drinking as much carbonated water as I had previously done with soda. I did feel better, I still do. I really enjoy sparkling water with a few drops of Angostura bitters, but that could be a personal thing.

When I drank diet soda all the times, I craved sweet things often, either the cola or whatever I could get that was sugary. Now, diet cola tastes absolutely terrible to me, and I rarely want sweet things. Obviously YMMV.

My sisters and mom still drink insane amounts of Diet Coke. I’m really glad I broke the habit. I know people say “But water is booooo-ring”, trying sparkling water. When you drink diet soda, how often are you really tasting the soda, as opposed to just being aware of the carbonation and the sweetness? You can still have the bubbles, and in a short time you’ll stop wanting the artificial sweetness. Or try adding a small amount of lime cordial - still a bit sweet, you can decrease the amount you put in over time.

Like at least one athlete noted above, plain water sans gaz is the Cadillac of hydration vehicles when it comes down to quenching.

I only drink tap water, tea, and coffee, and once or twice a week, copious amounts of alcohol (not good for a reducing plan such as I am “on”), but if I had the scratch, I’d drink MINERAL WATER all day. It’s the only substance I find more or equally as enchanting than a good beer or plonk.

Believe it or not, you can really taste the differences between different brands of mineral water – I don’t know how much is due to levels of carbonation vs. presence of various minerals, but it can be it’s own thing, like wine tasting, if you like to get into minutiae.

I drink a pot of black coffee in the morning and water the rest of the day. Zero calories on a daily basis. I do drink about 12 beers a week though after racquetball.We play 4 times a week and drink 3 after playing.

Grain alcohol and distilled water, or, rain water.

I am also extremely fond of Diet Coke. I figured that it wasn’t likely to be healthy, so my New Year’s Resolution this year was to go for the month of January without soda. Except for one trip to the movies, I did it. It took me about three weeks to stop obsessing about how much I missed my bubbly friend. (Seriously, I don’t know how people break addictions to more serious substances. Also, I wonder what they put in that stuff.) Anyway, I primarily drank hot tea and tap water as replacements, but I’ve found that low calorie Gatorade is good for when I really want something sweet to drink. It has 20 calories/8 oz serving and I don’t think it has any artificial sweeteners. I’m not especially interested in weight loss, but I don’t like adding empty calories to my diet, either.

I like your various powdered drink mixes (insert your favorite brand here - I usually go with the cheapest) but either without adding sugar or with maybe 10-20% of the recommended sugar. Its something I grew up drinking and still have a taste for. When I first had Kool-aide with the full amount of sugar added it almost gagged me so I went back to mixing it more as a flavored water.