The question of ‘can you drink diet soda while intermittent fasting’ is one that is asked on a regular basis. The short answer to this question is no and we will look at why this is the case in more detail below.
Diet soda is often marketed as a healthier alternative to regular soda because it does not contain any sugar and has no calories. While it is true that it does not contain either of these things, it is still considered detrimental to your health. This is especially true if you suffer from diabetes.
A study from Purdue University showed that diet soda can increase insulin production and this can lead to other issues such as insulin resistance and high cholesterol. It is believed that it is the sweeteners in diet soda that cause these health problems, but further study into this is required.
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Should diet soda be consumed as part of intermittent fasting?
As diet soda does not contain any calories, then technically it could be consumed. However, one other thing to consider is how beneficial the diet soda is to your overall health.
This is the downfall of diet soda because it does not promote any of the health improvements that intermittent fasting can bring. The period where you are fasting allows the tissues in your body to heal so that you become stronger and healthier. The chemicals that are used in diet soda to give it a sweet taste such as aspartame and sucralose can actually undo some of this healing.
The artificial sweeteners that are present in diet sodas can also lead to sugar cravings if consumed in large amounts. Intermittent fasting is something that requires a lot of willpower, and any cravings can be hard to deal with.
If you are fasting for weight or fat loss, you could technically drink diet soda. Because when we fast for these two objectives, our main goal is to stay in a calorie deficit – and diet sodas have zero calories. If we do this, we would call it dirty fasting. I wrote an article explaining what this is: What is Dirty Fasting?
Artificial sweeteners affect your metabolism
Big Sky Health shared research that suggests artificial sweeteners interfere with your metabolic processes. If you want to get all the benefits of your fast, it’s best to give your gut a rest at the same time. These sweeteners can be as much as 10 times sweeter than regular sugar. They’re absorbed by the gut according to studies on the topic, and it makes your gut work overtime. While it doesn’t raise the blood sugar, it does affect other parts of your body, especially the digestive system.
However, natural sweeteners, like Stevia could help your fasting. I wrote an in-depth post about this: Does Stevia Break a Fast?
Reasons you should avoid artificial sweeteners during your fast
Other studies have shown that diet sodas can increase your appetite and cravings for sugar. They promote weight gain and the storage of fat, according to Erin Palinski-Wade, RD. The author and registered dietitian discourages drinking diet soda during intermittent fasting. She explained that there is no nutritional value in diet soda and some studies suggest that artificial sweeteners increase your risk of gaining more belly fat, becoming depressed, or having a stroke. Coming off a fast with more cravings isn’t an ideal situation.
What are the best drinks to consume for intermittent fasting?
Even though diet soda is off-limits, there are plenty of other drinks that you can have while you are fasting. These drinks can actually help to enhance the benefits of fasting and none of them are high in calories.
Water – Ensuring that you are drinking enough water is one of the easiest ways to stay hydrated. Water can also make you feel full which will reduce any cravings that you may experience. Carbonated water also has the same benefits and it may help you to deal with your cravings for soda.
Green Tea – Research shows that drinking green tea on a regular basis has significant health benefits. It can protect against cardiovascular disease and improve the function of your arteries. It will also reduce the risk of cancer. Adding milk can reduce these benefits, but you could try honey or lemon to flavor the tea.
Green Juices – These juices can help you to increase the number of nutrients that you get in your diet. However, there is not enough carbohydrate energy in them to break your fast. They are tasty and filling and can give you a boost when you are feeling hungry.