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Are Diet Drinks Bad For Diabetics

The Problem With Sugar

Is Diet Soda Bad for you? Diabetes Doctor explains. SugarMD

High in Calories, Low in Nutrients

Sugar is 99.4 to 99.7 percent pure calories with no vitamins, minerals, fats, or proteins just simple carbohydrates that spike blood sugar, followed by an insulin response and subsequent sugar crash. In other words, sugar produces inflammation in your body, increases erratic brain cell firing, and sends your blood sugar levels on a roller-coaster ride.

How Sugar Affects Your Body

When we ingest sucrose, the sugar we find in processed foods like white flour, white bread, cookies, candy, cake, muffins, crackers, chips, energy drinks, sodas etc., it enters the bloodstream very quickly, wreaking havoc on our blood sugar level first pushing it sky-high causing excitability, nervous tension and hyperactivity, then dropping it extremely low causing fatigue, weariness and exhaustion.

Low blood sugar levels are associated with overall lower brain activity, which means more sugar cravings and ultimately more bad decisions.

Sugar Addiction is Real

Much like cocaine, alcohol, and nicotine, a diet loaded with sugar can generate excessive reward signals in the brain which can override ones self-control and lead to addiction.

Unfortunately, contrary to what popular marketing efforts would have you believe, artificial sweeteners are also bad for your health.

Research On Sugar Free Drinks And Diabetes

Sweeteners have such an impact on our health that there have been many scientific studies on their effects.

Here are a few of those studies

Some studies have found a dose dependent relationship between high fructose corn syrup intake and a persons risks for cardiovascular disease. This means that the more you consume beverages filled with high fructose corn syrup, the greater your risk for heart disease will be.

And if that wasnt enough, high fructose corn syrup has also been associated with increased rates of type 2 diabetes and obesity as well as higher levels of triglycerides in the blood, which may contribute to fatty liver disease.

But high fructose corn syrup isnt the only type of sweetener that diabetics need to look out for.

Studies have actually found that people with impaired glucose tolerance respond to high-carb sweeteners like honey and sucrose in the same way as they respond to high fructose corn syrup.

For example, a two week;study had glucose-intolerant participants consume 50 grams of carbohydrates from sucrose, honey, or high fructose corn syrup on a daily basis to see what the effects would be.

Regardless of which sweetener was consumed, the participants with glucose intolerance all experienced an increase in inflammation , an increase in triglyceride levels, and an increase in levels of blood glucose and insulin by the end of the two weeks.

Sweetened Or Unsweetened Fruit Juices

Although 100 percent fruit juice is fine in moderation, and is a source of nutrients like vitamin C, all fruit juices can add a high amount of carbohydrates to your diet and are pure sugar. This combination can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and increase your risk for weight gain.

If you have a fruit juice craving that wont fade, be sure you pick up a juice thats 100 percent pure and contains no added sugars.

Also, limit your portion size to 4 ounces , which will reduce your sugar intake to only 3.6 teaspoons .

You might consider adding a splash or two of your favorite juice to sparkling water instead.

  • increased weight gain
  • high blood sugar levels

Upon further analysis, the study participants who had overweight or obesity, which are risk factors for metabolic syndrome, had likely been swapping no-calorie soda for the full-sugar versions.

They likely took this step to cut their calorie intake. This was an association, but it wasnt considered cause and effect.

A 2016 study seemed to show that those drinking diet sodas had increased blood sugar levels and waist circumference.

However, this study did not control for meals or physical activity or other variables before each round of testing was done.

Further, the authors stated that individuals with higher insulin levels at the beginning of the study may have already had metabolic issues not related to their intake of sugar-free sodas.

For most people living with diabetes, sugar-free sodas are safe in moderation.

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Drink Carefully: Diet Soda

Are fizzy, zero-calorie drinks a brilliant choice, or could they also lead to weight gain and mess with your ability to absorb blood sugar? Recent science has stirred the debate. In some studies, diet soda fans were at a greater risk for gaining weight than people who drank the regular kind. In another, diet soda drinkers were 67 per cent more likely to develop diabetes than people who didnt drink them. One explanation could be that people who sipped diet soda felt the diet drinks allowed them to have high-calorie treats later. Another theory posits that diet drinks keep taste buds primed for sweets, making it likely that people will indulge when they see cookies or ice cream. One Harvard study that followed 40,000 men for 20 years found no link between diet drinks and diabetes when factoring in body mass index, family history, and diet, which may indicate that diet soda drinkers tend to weigh more than people who skip them.

But dont give up on diet soda just yet. Though theres concern among researchers, the American Diabetes Association still suggests that diet soda is a better alternative to a sugar-packed version for people watching their blood sugar.

Diet Soda May Lead To Metabolic Syndrome

Is Diet Soda Bad For Diabetics?  Park Eye Center

A study published in;Diabetes Care reported that people who drink diet soda are 36 percent more likely to develop metabolic syndrome than those who do not. Diet soda drinkers are 67 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to those who do not drink diet sodas.

Thats not all, though. The artificial sweetener in diet sodas tricks the brain into thinking that your body has actually consumed sugar. The problem? Your body becomes more intolerant to glucose and is more prone to metabolic disease.

Yup, it increases your likelihood;of developing diabetes, not avoiding it.

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The Risks Of A Diet Soda Habit

The recent news about risks associated with diet soda has been bouncing around all over the place. So, its understandable if youre feeling a little freaked out.

The truth is, experts have yet to determine if drinks brimming with artificial sweeteners are indeed the culprits, or if its simply that those who load up on sweet diet drinks tend to live a less than healthy lifestyle overall, leading to premature death.

Many of these studies show an association but cannot conclude a cause and effect relationship.

  • In observational studies, diet soda has been associated with increased risk of obesity.
  • Preliminary research has linked diet soda with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • In one study, those who consumed more than seven glasses of diet soda per week had almost twofold the risk of developing kidney disease.

Are There Any Health Risks Associated With Diet Soda

It is one thing that certain food and drinks are considered to be safe for people with diabetes. But a food or drink which is safe needn’t necessarily be nutritious. Similar is the case with diet sodas, which are far from being nutritious. Unsweetened iced tea or infused water are instances of other drinks which diabetics can have occasionally. They can have milk and fruit juices, which contain carbs but are more nutritious than diet sodas.

Carbonated cola drinks can pose health risks like bone fractures. Incidence of such issues is higher among people with diabetes. Studies suggest that artificial sweeteners can spike insulin in the body. They trigger sweet receptors in stomach. This can be risky diabetics who are on certain medications.;


Aspartame is one of the most common artificial sweeteners in diet soda. A study found that aspartame can cause oxidative stress which can disturb functioning of liver and kidney function in diabetic mice. Also, aspartame has been linked to increasing glucose intolerance in obese people. This can further increase risks of diabetes.Also read:;5 Reasons To Give Up Diet Soda: This Is What It Does To Your Body

Nonetheless, it is difficult to survive on water and people do need to indulge in such drinks once a while. But then, the consumption should be strictly in limited quantities.

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Are Diet Drinks Bad For People With Diabetes

Various diet drinks tend to be quite popular with people with diabetes. These drinks are low in carbohydrate and have limited calories. However, drinks with artificial sweeteners and other artificial agents to provide sweetness, such as diet sodas, remain a controversial topic.

Some studies have raised questions whether benefits of substituting sugar-sweetened beverages with artificial sweeteners are as clear as once maintained, particularly when consuming large amounts of artificial sweeteners. It seems that more research into this topic is required.

Dont Drink Sports Drinks Unless Youre An Endurance Athlete


Exercise is great for managing type 2 diabetes, but skip sports drinks, which are high in carbohydrates. One 8 oz serving of Powerade, for example, packs about 19 g of carbs, notes the USDA, and thats not even the whole bottle.

Dietitians only recommend sports drinks for endurance athletes, who may exercise strenuously enough to need salt and nutrient replacement. Sports drinks are usually not necessary unless someone has been very active for over an hour, Zanini says.

Water is sufficient to keep you hydrated for moderate exercise. You can also plan on a;healthy postworkout snack that provides you with some carbs and protein, such as an apple with a bit of peanut butter or a hard-boiled egg and an orange. These options will give you the protein and carbs you need to kick-start your exercise recovery without spiking your blood sugar.

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Drinks For Diabetics Green Tea

One of the best healthy drinks for diabetics is green tea;because it has zero carbohydrates and calories. So, diabetic patients can drink an unlimited amount of green tea without any restrictions. According to a study, green tea can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and lower blood pressure . Green tea is rich in antioxidants that help to neutralize the inflammation effects that protect from coronary heart diseases and decrease the risks of developing type 2 diabetes. Besides, both black and green tea comes with the polysaccharides, which aid in slowing down the sugar absorption into the bloodstream. It is suggested to enjoy 4-5 cups of green tea daily to decrease the risk of developing diabetes and keep diabetes in check. You should avoid sweeteners whether you choose black, green, or herbal tea.

K So Diet Soda Kinda Stinks But How Does It Impact Blood Sugar Or Insulin Levels

Studies on the impact of artificial sweeteners on blood glucose levels and insulin levels can produce some conflicting headlines.

In short, cracking open a can of diet soda wont directly raise your blood sugar levels. However, certain artificial sweeteners can have a long-term impact. .

Here are some of the most common no calorie sweeteners:

  • sucralose cyclamate

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Soft Drinks And Other Health Risks

There has been a lot of debate about the safety of sweeteners with some health campaigners taking the view that they can lead to a range of problems ranging from depression to digestive disorders and the aforementioned type 2 diabetes.

In response to the concerns about safety, pro-artificial sweetener lobbying groups such as the Calorie Control Council have funded studies and conducted PR campaigns to reassure consumers.

It should be noted that the Calorie Control Council actively represents the interests of a number of large companies which sell soft drinks, sweeteners and sugary foods, including:

  • Coca-Cola

What Is Metabolic Syndrome

Why Diet Soda Is Bad For Diabetics?

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that often occur together. They increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

These factors include:

One recent study posted in Diabetes Care found a strong association between diet sodas and diabetes factors. In the study, researchers found a significant link between diet soda and the development of high blood sugar levels and belly fat, two factors of metabolic syndrome.

The results of the study showed a 67-percent increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes in people who drank diet soda daily.

While these are observational results and do not prove a cause-and-effect relationship, diet soda is unlikely to be the best option for people looking to control or prevent type 2 diabetes.

Obesity is a contributing factor in diabetes.

Controlling body weight is an important step in managing or avoiding type 2 diabetes.

A study posted in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society looked at the long-term effects of diet soda on waist size, an indicator of visceral or belly fat.

This type of fat increases the risk of chronic disease more than fat located in other areas of the body. The study lasted for 9.4 years and included a total of 749 participants over 65 years of age.

The waist circumference of participants increased when they drank diet soda for a long period. Participants who drank diet soda on a daily basis showed nearly quadruple the waist gain than those who did not drink it.

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Summary Of The Issues

Physicians often recommend switching to diet soda when providing dietary counseling for type 2 diabetes. However, while consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has a decidedly negative impact on glycemic control, the effect of artificially sweetened beverages is less clear. Theoretical concerns about ASBs effect on metabolic regulation include alterations of the composition of intestinal bacteria, reconditioning of the brain when faced with ASBs that are 200 times sweeter than sugar, and hypoglycemia caused by discordant insulin secretion when a sweet taste is present without a corresponding increase in serum glucose., Scientific studies about ASBs are often limited by reverse causality; patients who are predisposed to gaining weight and who are facing increasing insulin resistance frequently will increase their consumption of ASBs to help manage these issues.

Drinks For Diabetics Coffee

According to a 2006 study, moderate consumption of both decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in middle-aged and younger women . However, overconsumption of coffee can raise blood sugar level. Coffee contains the compound Chlorogenic acid, which helps to delay the glucose absorption into the bloodstream and curb type 2 diabetes. Along with that, coffee has no carbohydrates and calorie, which make it become one of the best drinks for diabetics. Thus, you should enjoy 1-2 cups of coffee a day without sugar and milk. This is because adding sugar, milk or cream to coffee may increase the overall calorie count and affect the levels of blood sugar.

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Drinks For Diabetics Bitter Gourd Juice

Bitter gourd is an effective medicine for anemic and diabetic people. It is good for treating both type 1 and type 2 diabetes because it affects the transport channels for glucose. According to a study, bitter gourd juice has beneficial impacts on glucose tolerance as well as lipid profile in streptozotocin-induced type -2 diabetic rats . In addition, it contains hypoglycemic substance so that it helps to reduce the urine sugar and blood sugar levels. For making this juice, you need to wash the bitter gourd at first and later peel its top skin. Then, cut it into fine pieces and afterward, properly apply salt by rubbing it with some turmeric. Keep it for several minutes and extract its juice. Crush these pieces in a mixer properly. For taste & tangy flavor, add some fresh lemon juice to it.

Diet Soda Leaves The Brain Vulnerable To Brain Damage

Can Diabetics Drink Diet Soda

The artificial sweetener in most diet sodas, aspartame, removes the brains natural defense system. It does this by interfering with antioxidants in the brain, which ordinarily protect the brain from damages. Diabetes causes a lot of damage to the brain naturally, resulting in reduced cognitive functioning. If you drink diet soda then you will only speed this process up.

Dr. Axe. URL Link. Retrieved October 23, 2017.

Medical News Today. URL Link. Retrieved October 23, 2017.

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Diet Soda Is Associated With Weight Gain

Some research;suggests that the brain reacts to artificial sweeteners much like it does to sugary sweets. Ingesting them frequently may result in an increased desire for high-calorie foods such as sugary treats, putting you at a greater risk of weight gain and binge eating all the cookies in the break room.

Another study found that overweight individuals who switched to diet soda were more likely to consume more calories in food than overweight individuals who drank regular soda. Those who drank diet soda even had a higher BMI than their counterparts.

Pros Of Drinking Diet Soda With Diabetes:

Diet soda contains artificial sweeteners, which are also referred to as non-nutritive sweeteners or non-caloric sweeteners. They have a higher intensity of sweetness per gram than caloric sweeteners like sucrose. Popular artificial sweeteners like aspartame, acesulfame-K, neotame, saccharin, and sucralose are regulated as food additives by the US Food and Drug Administration . Aspartame and saccharin, commonly found in diet sodas, are both FDA reviewed and approved. Besides FDA, most sweeteners used in diet sodas are approved by World Health Organization and/ or Food Safety and Standards Authority of India .

The American Diabetes Association lists diet soda as safe for diabetics to consume. Diet soda is typically sweetened with one of five artificial sweeteners. These sweeteners do not contain calories , and the ADA reports that they do not cause a blood glucose reaction.

Furthermore, carbohydrate content in diet soda is less when compared to that of regular soda. Also, the calorie content in diet soda is less than that of regular soda.

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