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Which is the lesser of two evils; diet or regular soda?

Which is less harmful; diet drinks with man-made chemicals, or regular drinks overloaded with sugar?
I have a coca cola addiction, and always struggle when deciding whether to drink diet or regular. . . . I am curious to see what other chows think.
and as an aside, any recs on how to rid of my coke addiction? :)

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  1. Regular sodas are full of chemicals too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Lucia

      I drink seltzer. Sometimes I add a small amount of juice or berry syrup. Done it fot over 30 years.

    2. Honestly, they are both full of things that are not good for you, be it chemicals in the artificial sweetners or the addictive HFCS in the regular soda.

      Is there any way you could try switching to another type of beverage and weaning yourself off your soda addiction? There are a lot of bevs on the market with some flavor to them that don't contain either HFCS or artificial sweetner. Even bottled juice would be better at this point.

      9 Replies
      1. re: rockandroller1

        I should have added that were I forced to pick at gunpoint, which is probably the only way I'd drink soda anymore, I'd drink the regular one with the HFCS. I'm sure there are chemicals in that, but I find that diet drinks cause a "boomerang" effect and make me much hungrier than regular sodas.

        1. re: rockandroller1

          If you do switch, beware if you switch to flavored water. My mom was recently told by her internist that some of them can cause the type of gastrointstinal issue requiring close proximity to a restroom.

          1. re: rockandroller1

            Agreed. Aren't there any pops in the US that are made with cane sugar instead of HFCS? Here in Canada, there are a small number of "all natural" brands that have no chemicals or HFCS and they're delicious, albeit a bit pricey. I don't crave pop often, but when I do, they really satisfy without leaving me feeling guilty.

            1. re: vorpal

              there are definitely some, marketed as "all natural."

              1. re: fara

                That isn't entirely true as 7 UP is labeled as "all natural" but contains HFCS - a horrible additive. There are some specialty sodas that are made with cane sugar. In Texas we have a specialty grocery store called Central Market, and it carries many cane sugar sodas, including an all natural Dr. Pepper...my goodness it was delicious.

                1. re: kkak97

                  yes, and you can always check the ingredients.

                  1. re: kkak97

                    I KNOW!! I saw that too and I was like "they have some nerve calling this 'all natural' with HFCS in it (I know technically it is natural, but come on!) That really got my goat........if the big name soda distributors out there were smart, they would try to capitalize on the backlash against HFCS with at least one product. It's really an unfilled niche unless you do all your shopping at the health food store.

                2. re: vorpal

                  This is not healthy--whether a soda is made from HFCS or sugar, it is not healthy. I'm not sure when people got into their heads that sugar is "natural" and therefore okay, while HFCS is unnatural and bad. Sugar is refined with chemicals, and at the end of the day there isn't all that much clear-cut scientific evidence damning HFCS over sugar:


                  1. re: Mandymac

                    I'm not trying to claim that sugar is healthy, but I've seen enough arguments and theories against HFCS that I try to avoid it. If I want something sweet, I go for sugar, acknowledging that it's not very good for me, but a substance that has been with humanity for centuries and thus well understood, unlike HFCS, which is fairly new in the grand scheme of human history and not that well studied.

                    More than anything, I'm concerned about all the chemicals in pop like sodium benzoate, artificial flavours, etc. (You'll note I mentioned "no chemicals" in my original comment.) Again, poorly understood, like HFCS. If I want pop, I want some real ingredients that grew out of the ground with carbonated water. It's still bad for the health, sure, but probably less so, and it certainly doesn't hurt as a once-in-awhile treat.

              2. In my humble opinion the diet drinks are worse for you than their full sugar counterparts. I feel the more chemicals an item has the worse it is for you.

                The above coming from a person who drinks at least 3 cans of Pepsi/Coke a day & likes it.

                1. Try drinking seltzer... it curbs the craving for bubbles.... but if it's the caffeine you're addicted to, I would go for green tea or some other kind of caffinated tea.

                  1. One has been linked to obesity and diabetes. The other has never been *proven* to have negative side affects.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: luniz

                      Which is which?

                      This is interesting reading about diet sodas:

                      1. re: luniz


                        Sure. The first diet sodas caused cancer so the sweeteners were changed. There are studies showing the latest diet sodas cause brain tumors in rats. Course it isn't proven. When I read that I stopped drinking diet soda. I don't need to prove anything to myself by playing chemical roulette.

                        Of course, there might be some who feel anything is better than being fat. Oh wait, everthing with a calorie can make you fat.

                        Actually I drink plain sparkling water these days. If I need a flavor I have the type mixed with 100 percent juice which have the same amount of calories as soda with sugar but aren't just empty calories. If I only had to choose the options in the OP it would be the empty calories of sugar over the yet-to-be proved riskes of diet sodas.

                        1. re: rworange

                          "The first diet sodas caused cancer so the sweeteners were changed."

                          Sure you have your facts correct?

                          You aren't if you're thinking of cyclamates, when rats were given some ridiculously large amount of cyclamates that was about about 200 times the amount of sweetener you would ingest if you drank 12 sodas for 6 months, and then the poor poisoned rats developed tiny bladder cancers. An absurd study that didn't prove a damn. If you ate a ridiculously large amount of mustard, or any other food, every day for 6 months, you'd get cancer or some other illness too. IIRC, getting cyclamates banned turned out to be the result of a huge lobby by the US sugar industry so that cyclamates wouldn't cut into sugar sales. (This dirty trick by the sugar industry came out much later.) Cyclamates are used and considered safe in Europe and in most parts of the world. But the US sugar lobby isn't in those places.

                          (And yeah, yeah, Reagan had an artificial sweetener insider as the FDA Commissioner. There are rats in government everywhere. If you were to read the incredible lobbying to the FDA (all online) by corporations desiring to put the tiniest amount of a "healthy" ingredient -- an amount that wouldn't have any real health benefit -- in a food but still have a label make the health claim, you'd be appalled. All the say, the FDA has been "bought" by corporations.

                          Please cite the medical study that said diet sodas caused cancer, or the pertinent newspaper/mag story (not from a health food site).

                          "There are studies showing the latest diet sodas cause brain tumors in rats."

                          I doubt it. Though I don't doubt that the sweetener industry plays some of the same naughty games as does the sugar/HFCS industries. Once again, provide the study link or newspaper/mag source that speaks of this.

                      2. I am also a soda junkie, but I have found doing half s.pellegrino and half cranberry juice is an adequate sub for my necessary fizzy fix. If you don't like cranberry juice orange juice is also v. good this way.

                        1. Both are bad for you, but if I had to pick,I would say the regular soda.

                          You may want to try iced tea and see if that helps you with your coke addiction. Perhaps you're addicted to the caffeine?

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: Miss Needle

                              Totally agree. Once you stop drinking any kind of soda, you will notice that any bloating you might have had goes away. We get our caffeine from coffee and drink water or milk the rest of the day. (Aside from an occassional margarita). Squeeze lemon in the water. My friend is addicted to Coke and she just drinks the regular stuff-which contains 16 T of sugar in each can! (I read that somewhere)-can't back it up though. But if I had to choose-regular Coke-why sacrifice on taste?

                            2. A chemical is not good or bad for you based on whether it's man-made. Every molecule in any food could be considered a "chemical," whether it's an additive-filled soft drink or a glass of fresh-squeezed juice. This is a common misconception which seems rooted in a general mistrust of the large corporations which produce "chemicals," and the government, whose FDA approves them. To answer the original question: you're better off with diet soda, rather than regular soda full of refined sugar.

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: gnosker

                                i think when people speak of "chemicals" they mean man-made compounds like aspartame. this does not exist in nature, neither does HCFS, margarine, splenda, equal (not sure what's in that), etc. You are fooling yourself if you think that just because refined sugar has a known effect, aspartame is better. Some people are allergic to artificial sweeteners, and they have been proven to increase appetite. The FDA is clearly bought by the food companies, any nutritionist can tell you that.

                                to the OP, learn about good coffee if you aren't familiar with it. buy a french press or demitasse or espresso machine to make good coffee in the morning. drink water, plain and sparkling.

                                1. re: fara

                                  Fara, please give me a link so I can confirm that what you say is true, that artificial sweeteners "have been proven to increase appetite." Thanks.

                                  I did a Google search and could not find anything that "proved" this. I found some studies that people who like sweet things (sweetened by either sugar or artificial sweeteners) tend to eat more sweet things. Which doesn't say anything.

                                  Another article remarked that those persons who use artificial sweeteners as an aid in weight control tend to overeat and gain weight anyway. So not there either.

                                  In the Mount Sinai study linked to in this thread, it says that glucose/sweetness receptors are found in the intestine [reading other medical research, I learned they are found all over the body] and that "the small intestine is the major site where dietary sugars are absorbed into the body to provide energy, and maintain normal metabolism and homeostasis. If glucose is absorbed in excess obesity may occur."
                                  But of course, there's no glucose in diet soda.

                                  So, I can't find any source that confirms what you're saying. Please supply one.

                                2. re: gnosker

                                  I agree that the man-made nature of a chemical doesn't dictate whether or not it's bad for you, but I'm much more likely to trust sugar - which has been around for ages and whose effects on the body are pretty well understood - than I would, say, aspartame, which is still fairly new in the grand scheme of human history.

                                  1. re: vorpal

                                    Diet are worse because they're full of crap, taste nothing like the regular version, and only encourage more consumption of crap "because I only had a diet soda"

                                    TT always has regular Coke in mixed drinks:)


                                    1. re: TexasToast

                                      I finally found a good-tasting (to me) diet tonic (made with aspertame instead of saccherine which is what Schweppe's and Canada Dry use) to use in my G&T's :-)

                                      1. re: jennywinker

                                        Does tonic water really have so many calories that you need to go to a diet version?

                                        1. re: ajs228

                                          Depends on how much of it you drink I suppose!


                                          1. re: ajs228

                                            It's at least as caloric as Coca-Cola.

                                    2. re: gnosker

                                      Sorry I meant to reply to gnosker. Your outlook is totally logical. HFCS, along with refined white flour, may be the two of the most insidious and omnipresent ingredients in the diet of an increasingly obese America.

                                    3. yeah, Im going to be the minority. There is nothing more refreshing in the world than an icy cold glass of Diet Pepsi...anywhere...anytime. And if it is fountain with that crushed ice from a quik-e-mart, my heart sings. My other drinks from 4-8 cans of regular Pepsi a day. Every day. Its his crack. He isn't dead yet. Im not quite in that league, but again...icy cold Diet Pepsi! YEA!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: chelleyd01

                                        No doubt, both are bad for you. For refreshment, I would take cold mineral water (gaseous or not) or fruit juice any time, with meals, wine, or in some cases (Indian or Mexican food, for instance) beer.

                                        As far as taste goes, I have tried Diet Pepsi, Diet Coke, etc., and none of them taste right to me. They're trying to taste like the original versions, and none quite make it.

                                        1. re: chelleyd01

                                          I am the same. Nothing quite hits the spot like a cold carbonated fountain drink. Fortunately for myself and waistline I was able to make the switch to diet w/o having the sugar cravings brought on by artificial sweeteners. You should try the sparkling water and juice combo I suggested above and see if you like it. To me it is an adequate soda sub, but my soda drinking guy says there is no substitution.

                                        2. The US is battling an obesity and diabetes epidemic, and much of it is due to the high sugar foods that are easily available (including sodas which are basically liquid candy). Diet soda is absolutely less harmful than regular soda. I've seen demonstrations showing how much sugar is in a can of soda (10 teaspoons or 1/5 cup). You can find videos of that online if you want.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: seconds

                                            "Diet soda is absolutely less harmful than regular soda."

                                            As far as obesity concerned, diet cola could be more harmful, the chemical in it fools your brain so the foods you eat don't register in your brain, so in turn you eat more (i.e. your brain registers everything zero calories). So instead of a 100 calories worth of glass of coke, you may load up on hundreds more with food...

                                            1. re: welle

                                              I want to find out is this is true -- can you give me link to read about the chemical in diet soda causes the brain to not "register" that a person has eaten food?

                                              There's a lot of incredibly bad information on the Internet -- I just want to make sure that what you're saying is actually so.

                                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                                I didn't get the information from Internet - I read it in different diet/obesity related books. I also have my own unscientific experience that I feel hungrier (hard to feel full) when drink diet sodas.

                                                If you need more scientific proof here is an older article from Purdue University: http://www.purdue.edu/UNS/html4ever/2...

                                                I'm pretty sure I've seen something more current that has to do more with brain receptors etc., but I can't find it at the moment.

                                                1. re: welle

                                                  The Purdue study was on 20 rats. No humans. We'll have to wait for some human studies.

                                          2. I say diet soda, but then regular is akin to drinking straight corn syrup for me.

                                            Now health-wise? Neither are good and I should kick the habit. One packs on the pounds and plays havoc with your blood sugar, and both eat away at your teeth. BUT the evil urologist tells me I shouldn't have any caffeine and must quell the 3-4 espresso a day habit. MEAN MAN. So I dropped to 1-2 espressos per day and supplement as needed with soda. Normally only 1 per day, but some days are rougher than others.

                                            13 Replies
                                            1. re: odkaty

                                              See my post above for a link to an article about a study that says both diet and regular sodas wreak havoc with blood sugar. I think it's pretty clear that soda isn't good for anyone, really regardless of whether it's diet or regular. (I'm not pulling a holier than thou thing, though...As someone above wrote about diet pepsi, there are few things better to me than an almost too cold to hold glass bottle of coke.) I don't think there's enough evidence to decide which is worse, it really comes down to what you think constitutes the bad parts of sodas.

                                              Bottom line, however much we all drink, we should drink less.

                                              1. re: ccbweb

                                                For every study that can be pulled up about how diet soda wreaks havoc on blood sugar, you can pull up one that says it doesn't (in academic medical journals). I think everyone can agree that regular soda and all the sugar in it is bad for you, but it isn't accepted as fact that diet sodas do that.

                                                ccbweb, I do agree with you in that in general we should drink less of all that stuff. It is certainly possible ten years down the line that solid research will come out that artificial sweeteners have harmful effects that we just don't know about now. There have definitely been studies showing that people who drink diet sodas actually gain weight - this is probably because they order their Big Mac and large fries and then get a diet soda with it, which I just shake my head at. Personally I don't drink either very often and usually just stick to water and occasionally tea.

                                                1. re: ccbweb

                                                  Hmm, didn't know diet messed with blood sugar too! My dad's newly diabetic and both the doctor and nutritionist advised him to turn his 12-pack of regular a day into a few diets.

                                                  1. re: odkaty

                                                    Yeah...something tells me (totally unscientifically) that switching to diet for that reason should help some, but it's clearly not a total solution. Blood sugar is what finally got me off of sodas entirely, I was on a medication for a totally different condition but a side effect of that med was that it made my blood sugar go up. Sodas really put it through the roof, so I just had to stop drinking them. I didn't go for diet simply because I don't like the taste. I rediscovered water of all things.

                                                    1. re: odkaty

                                                      Your Dad is fine to drink diet soda. Please do not believe everything you read here. Advise him to listen to his doctors. Diet soda does not adversely affect blood sugar. It's frustrating to read such misinformation. Read my post below for further explanation. Good luck to your Dad and his diabetes management. A great resource for him is the message boards at www.diabetes.org (the American Diabetes Association).

                                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                                        oh I don't believe everything I read here :D I just found it interesting that diet and regular have similar effects that the nutritionist wasn't aware of, or didn't warn of.

                                                    2. re: ccbweb

                                                      I read the Mount Sinai article and I didn't gain from it that sweeteners "wreak havoc" on your blood sugar. I read that they have discovered taste receptors in the gut. They did say that this may help w/ future development of non caloric sweetners that will aid folks attempting weight loss.

                                                      With diet sodas there is no glucose to absorb that will affect blood sugar levels. As a type 1 diabetic, I test my BS a minimum of 4-6 times a day and I know that artificial sweeteners do not affect my BS.

                                                      I know there is no nutrional value in soda, diet or otherwise. But if my kids or myself want one, we reach for diet. There's been a lot of misinformation out there about artificial sweetners. We know for certain that excessive sugar intake is harmful. We can't say that about artificial sweetners.

                                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                                        True to a point, the diet sodas themselves don't have glucose or anything in them that gets broken down into glucose. The article does note, though, that kicking off the taste receptors in the gut may cause the body to absorb more glucose from other foods and, thus, lead to the same or similar end result. This seems to me to be a sign that artificial sweeteners may not be nearly as benign as many think or claim.

                                                        Saying "we don't know for sure" doesn't seem to be a very good way to make decisions that have to do with health and safety.

                                                        1. re: ccbweb

                                                          Limiting a diabetics already limited options based on one inconclusive study seems irresponsible. I don't mean to sound argumentative, I'm just advocating for diabetics, particularly the newly diagnosed. I know, based on fact & my science, that my BS does not flucuate, in any significant way, from artificial sweeteners. Which is why endocrinologists, diabetes educators and nutrionists recommend the moderate use of articial sweeteners (in addition to a healthy, well-balanced diet) to us.

                                                          In any event, I think we can agree that for the insulin challenged, sugar is the greater of the two evils (w/ regard to BS). :)

                                                          1. re: lynnlato

                                                            I'm not trying to limit anyone's options. And sodas aren't a necessity for anyone. Certainly for someone who has to actively monitor their blood sugar (and I am one) regular sodas (or anything with a high sugar content...orange juice, etc) are going to shoot it up. Diet sodas won't do that. But the initial findings (and yeah, preliminary, not definitive) seems to say that the artifical sweeteners (not just in diet soda) could cause a series of reactions in the body that could affect blood sugar over time.

                                                            It's not the case for you, so that's excellent. And I'm certainly not trying to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't eat. But I also think that it's not a slam dunk that diet sodas are better than regular.

                                                            1. re: ccbweb

                                                              i always thought the only thing worse than diet coke is caffine free diet coke.

                                                              Blood sugar are not the only thing to consider. i personally have a gut that does not tolerate sweetners or anything decaffinated. I am not sure how they decaffinate stuff, but, if i drink it it gives me cramps.

                                                              So regular for me, Dilluted in lots and lots of melting ice.

                                                              1. re: hala

                                                                Hm, makes sense for coffee and tea perhaps, but sodas have caffeine added in the regular versions of stuff that has any caffeine to begin with. Very little if any is taken out for the decaf versions as I recall; it's just not put in in the first place.

                                                          2. re: ccbweb


                                                            Forgive me, I just re-read the Mount Sinai medical study and I cannot find ANYTHING that says or infers that "kicking off the taste receptors in the gut may cause the body to absorb more glucose from other foods and, thus, lead to the same or similar end result."

                                                            Nor is there any mention whatsoever that "both diet and regular sodas wreak havoc with blood sugar." No mention anywhere of diet soda.

                                                            Essentially, ALL the article says is that taste/sweet receptors were found in the intestine (they had been found in other parts of the body besides the mouth previously) and indicated those receptors' role in NORMAL digestion.

                                                            It says "The small intestine is the major site where dietary sugars are absorbed into the body to provide energy, and maintain normal metabolism and homeostasis. If glucose is absorbed in excess obesity may occur...

                                                            [that would cause weight gain in anyone]

                                                            "...Carbohydrate ingested from meals & beverages breaks down into glucose, which stimulates the sweet-sensing proteins in these gut taste cells. Activating the sweet–sensing proteins of the gut taste cells promotes secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), an intestinal hormone that plays a key role in promoting insulin secretion and regulating appetite."

                                                            That indicates the role of these sweet receptors in NORMAL glucose metabolism. Nothing more.

                                                            I even read the actual studies to which the Mount Sinai article refers:
                                                            "Gut-expressed gustducin and taste receptors regulate secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1"


                                                            "T1R3 and gustducin in gut sense sugars to regulate expression of Na+-glucose cotransporter 1"

                                                            Nothing there either. Any way you might have misinterpreted the Mount Sinai article or the studies?

                                                    3. I've talked to my naturopath about this. I usually drink caffeine free diet coke. She told me I'd be "Better off drinking regular coke." FWTW.
                                                      She did tell me that the stuff that comes out of the tap in the kitchen is the best thing to drink.


                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: Davwud

                                                        Our dentist told us he'd rather hear us say we drink a 2 liter of regular Coke every day than a can of Diet Coke. The diet will rot your teeth much quicker.

                                                        1. re: irishnyc

                                                          Well, all the dentist cares about is your teeth... I'm sure your family doctor would disagree with that!

                                                          1. re: seconds

                                                            I am amazed that people are making arguments for the safety of diet soda. On the highest level here's just a few of the potential hazards


                                                            cyclamate and saccharin - bladder cancer

                                                            saccharin - "The FDA in the United States considered banning saccharin in 1977, but Congress stepped in and placed a moratorium on such a ban ... In 2001, the United States repealed the warning label requirement ... Most other countries also permit saccharin but restrict the levels of use, while other countries have outright banned it."

                                                            aspartame - brain damage .... "In 1981, FDA Commissioner Arthur Hull Hayes, newly appointed by President Ronald Reagan, approved aspartame as a food additive. He was closely associated with the artificial sweetener industry "

                                                            Let's see ... there is no REAL proof and studies ... many of them sponsered by the artificial sweetener industry ... tend to discredit studies claiming problems.

                                                            Dunno. For me it isn't worth the uncertainty for something I don't need. Nature made things harmful to us taste bad. There's always some bad, weird aftertaste to artifical sweetners. Maybe we should pay more attention to that.

                                                            Seems easier to drink plain sparkling water or drink soda with cane sugar in moderation.

                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                              How about Splenda? I never drink sodas with other sweeteners.

                                                              1. re: aynrandgirl

                                                                Splenda (the little yellahh packet) is my favorite !

                                                              2. re: rworange


                                                                I appreciate your energy on these boards, but as an active food writer please make sure whatever information you're passing along is accurate before you pass it on.

                                                                Please never use Wikipedia as a source for accurate information. It's notoriously inaccurate -- please read the recent news stories about this -- remember, anyone can write ANYTHING on a Wiki site and claim the "truth."

                                                                Case in point: The Wikipedia artificial sweetner info has a ton of errors. Did you check out the source data for the information? Shaky, at best, and no scientific studies AT ALL. Health food websites are loaded with errors too.

                                                                One of the major tasks of any reader these days is to be able to evaluate the validity of what we read. What is the source, what is that person's/company's expertise, when was the study/article published (medical studies published even a few years are too old -- that's how fast the research moves), who does the author work for, do they have an agenda or bias, do any scientific studies back up what is being claimed, who was the study paid by, is there conflicting info? All are questions that have to be asked.

                                                                You may wish to visit the website for IFIC, the International Food Information Council. You'll like this site in general -- lots of info -- it is one of the scientific sources to which journalists turn. They published an educational booklet devoted to aspartame, citing 100 studies showing the safety of aspartame.

                                                                Probably, the most accurate current info you can find is by going to the National Library of Medicine website, and reading the medical studies for the last five years.

                                                                If you can find a few recent scientific, peer-reviewed medical studies (that are independently paid for) with a large patient sample that prove what you are saying, I'm happy to read them.

                                                                But until you do, I don't think you've got your story straight.

                                                                In any case, I'm not advocating you drink soda, diet or otherwise.

                                                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                  2007: Aspartame: a safety evaluation based on current use levels, regulations, and toxicological and epidemiological studies.

                                                                  Magnuson BA, Burdock GA, Doull J, Kroes RM, Marsh GM, Pariza MW, Spencer PS, Waddell WJ, Walker R, Williams GM. Burdock Group, Washington, DC, USA. bmagnuso@umd.edu

                                                                  "Acute, subacute and chronic toxicity studies with aspartame, and its decomposition products, conducted in mice, rats, hamsters and dogs have consistently found no adverse effect of aspartame with doses up to at least 4000 mg/kg bw/day. Critical review of all carcinogenicity studies conducted on aspartame found NO CREDIBLE EVIDENCE THAT ASPARTAME IS CARCINOGENIC."

                                                                  Environmental Health Perspective, March 2006:
                                                                  Title: Aspartame not linked to cancer.

                                                                  Happy to read what you unearth, rworange.

                                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                    thanks for the information, maria. it's nice to see someone sticking to the facts and trying to relay those facts in the face of what seems to be quite a lot of misinformation.

                                                                    i'm months late, but again, thanks!

                                                        2. From one that used to drink 3 or 4 a day, I say go for the real stuff. The diet stuff has more chemicals, and studies show more side affects. For me the big factor is the taste, or I should say after taste stays with me all day. I now drink a lot of water, and to fill the carbonation addiction I drink Crystal Kyser carbonated water with flavor.. You have to get used to it but then it is really good. But if I do have a soda it is the real stuff.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: paprkutr

                                                            "The diet stuff has more chemicals" - Not true, HFCS or any sweetener are chemicals.
                                                            "and studies show more side affects" - I work in drug discovery and I looked through my databases and I can't find any clear evidence that the diet stuff has more side effects.

                                                            1. re: honkman

                                                              Exactly! It's quite proven what sugar does.

                                                          2. I love, LOVE a can of Coke Classic straight from the fridge. A guilty pleasure that I let myself have during my most recent pregnancy. I have cut back since my daughter was born. Now, I drink sparkling water and that is helping with the craving for carbonation, at least.

                                                            One thing not mentioned yet is that diet soda is higher in phosphates, which can lead to a decrease in bone density. I know some gals who drink TONS of diet soda because it has 0 calories, thinking it is "okay" then. However, they could seriously be messing with their bone density.

                                                            In short, I think neither sodas are good and should best be viewed as an occasional treat.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: CulinaryCutie3

                                                              i also love real coke every few years or so, especially frosty-cold from a glass bottle.

                                                            2. Hmmmm, rather lose an arm or a leg? Do your best to kick the habit and have the product (which is what it is) only occassionally - know that it is not the staff of life.
                                                              To kick the habit - it depends on your current consumption - rather than cold turkey, try reducing by one serving per day. Within a month (allowing for mishaps) you should be clean.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: jh nj

                                                                Also, go to a smaller size. One of the ways I limited my soda intake before kicking it almost entirely was to get 8 oz. cans instead of the 20oz bottles that have become the standard size at convenience stores. It took care of the craving for the soda.

                                                              2. Colas contain phosphoric acid, which is suspected of interfering with the metabolism of calcium. Bone loss and tooth decay are potential conditions that (particularly) women seem to suffer from when cola is consumed regularly. I don't know how many studies have shown this to be a statiscal issue, but it's definitely worth considering when deciding how much Coke or Pepsi to drink...

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                  Thanks all . . . . The posts have been very interesting to read. . . . I am trying coffee to kick the habit, but the hot brewed drink doesn't quite replace the need for a cold glass of coke (it provides my caffeine kick though). . . . I have been off for about two weeks and maybe i'll buy some of that natural soda for when I really have to give in.

                                                                  1. re: pancake

                                                                    Try a Latino market next time you want a Coke. A lot of them import Coke(and other sodas) from Mexico where they use cane sugar instead of HFCS.

                                                                2. There are plenty soda options out there now that you dont have to drink Coke or diet.
                                                                  But my usual findings of anything diet, is that it is much worse. Whatever is trying to made up for that is found in the real thing is usually horrifying.

                                                                  1. I really prefer La Croix Lemon fizzy water. There is nothing added to the water except carbonation and lemon. Really refreshing on a hot day and it is icy cold. The bubbles are finer than in regular sparkling waters. Sort of like the difference between good French champaign and the cheap stuff.

                                                                    For diet soda I have been a diet Pepsi fan but now that Diet Coke has come out with it enhanced with some B vitamins and minerals I drink it when I feel the need for cola and caffeine

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                                      I like LaCroix too, just about all the flavors. Even my teenager will drink it! We also like the Poland Spring carbonated flavored water, similar to the LaCroix

                                                                      If I really want sweetened pop, I'll drink the Jones or Boylan sugar sweetened, TJ sparkling lemonade or limeade, WF Italian sodas,or look for the Mexican sugar sweetened Coke like hipquest suggests..

                                                                    2. If you are trying to kick make sure to remove all the soda from your environment. Then start making an effort to drink water and have a snack before you're blood sugar is crashing and the cravings hit. If you're hooked on caffeine as well, but you don't intend to give that up you'll want to start drinking tea or something like that. http://www.wilstar.com/caffeine.htm Substituting coffee or imported teas may increase your caffeine consumption. Training yourself to order water with lemon, or something else, with your restaurant meals will get easier and easier as time goes by despite initial relapses. Good luck. I'm confident you can do it and that your life will improve as a result.

                                                                      1. When I was younger, and taking care of my car, a mechanic told me to pour a carbonated drink on the battery posts to eat off the excess acid, and it worked like a charm. I haven't drunk a can of soda since then. I will, if I have to, have a root beer but with lots of ice. That scared me to think what canned sodas were doing to my body.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: danhole

                                                                          Then you should avoid any baked goods made with baking soda - a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a glass of water would've made the same trick. That's chemistry 101.

                                                                          1. re: welle

                                                                            I can't imagine that when I eat a piece of bread I am getting a full teaspoon of baking soda. If I soak bread or crackers in water and put that on the acid, is it going to dissolve it? I don't think so.

                                                                          2. re: danhole

                                                                            That's irrational. Orange juice will dissolve a nail, but no one says not to drink it.

                                                                          3. By far regular is better - mainly because the sweetener Splenda/Nutrasweet/Apsartame have been linked to anxiety,depression,Alzheimers and other maladies.

                                                                            Google Splenda and disease...not pretty. They just recently had to change their ad as it apparently does NOT come from sugar....

                                                                            Sugar might not be that good for you but at least it exists in nature!

                                                                            Before you go with the selzer / juice mix you might try mixing selzer and coke in varying proportions.

                                                                            1. Based on the fact the when my wife was pregnant with our first baby a few years ago, her doctor said she could eat just about anything but specifically forbade diet soda.

                                                                              On your second point, how to ween yourself off of you addiction, I'd say cold turkey. I've never been "fat" but every few years I need to diet and lose 10-15 pounds. On my first crack at this to lose the "Freshman 15" I eliminated soda cold turkey. That was 15 years ago. Ever since, I only drink water, seltzer, beer or wine. I have an Occasional coke or preferably a higher end soda made with cane sugar.

                                                                              1. I would say regular soda is better! So what if it has more sugar? You have no idea what all those chemicals in diet soda are...or what they're doing to you.

                                                                                But why not just drink water??

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Chew on That

                                                                                  What makes HFCS more "healthy" than any of the sweetners ? The only significant difference between diet and regular is HFCS or Aspartam/Splenda etc. All of them are man-made and there is no evidence available which harms your body more. I wouldn't drink both.

                                                                                2. I drink maybe one or two sodas a week, and I always go for the regular. If I'm going to drink something bad for me, it might as well taste good. When I drink a Diet-Coke (or worse diet Mountain Dew), all I can taste is chemicals.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: ajs228

                                                                                    Diet Mountain Dew is how most of my friends made it through medical school. All of the caffeine, none of the calories. Until they got to the endocrinology section. Then they all kicked sodas and caffeine for a while and drank water. (They all went back to coffee and sodas at some point later on, I'm sure).

                                                                                  2. ROCKSTAR - the white can - & party like a ROCKSTAR !

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                      I buy this cane sugar Dr. Pepper syrup from Dublin Dr Pepper in Texas.

                                                                                      Mix 1 tbspoon with some ice cold Seltzer water and you have the best soft drink on the planet.

                                                                                      This is the original and only way to have a soft drink.

                                                                                      Its almost healthy!


                                                                                    2. I am surprised to see that no one here has addressed the issue of the toxicity of artificial swweteners. Take Aspartme, for starters. It was developed by Searle Chemical company way back in 1965, I believe. They discovered that it was sweet tasting and cheap, so they lobbied the FDA for approval to sell it as an artificial sweetener. For TWENTY YEARS the FDA refused to approve it, because it was considered "toxic to humans" and ate holes in brain tissue. But Searle didn't give up there. They hired a big wig from DC to pull strings for them. That big wig was none other than Donald Rumsfeld (if that doesn't scare you, it should), and the "string" he pulled was Ronald Reagan.

                                                                                      When Reagan took office, he fired the FDA Commissioner who had refused to approve it and replaced him with Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes. But there was still so much opposition that a Board of Inquiry was set up. Their response was unequivocal: “Do not approve aspartame.”

                                                                                      Dr. Hayes OVERRULED HIS OWN BOARD OF INQUIRY and approved the use of aspartame in carbonated beverages. Not long after, he left for a position with Searle’s public relations firm.

                                                                                      Methanol/wood alcohol—a deadly poison—comprises 10% of aspartame. It is gradually released in the small intestine when the methyl group of aspartame encounters the enzyme chymotrypsin. Absorption into the body is sped up considerably when free methanol is ingested. Free methanol is created from aspartame when it is heated to above 86 Fahrenheit (30 Centigrade). This would occur when aspartame-containing product is improperly stored or when it is heated (e.g., as part of a “food” product such as Jello).

                                                                                      Methanol breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde in the body. Formaldehyde is a deadly neurotoxin. An EPA assessment of methanol states that methanol “is considered a cumulative poison due to the low rate of excretion once it is absorbed. In the body, methanol is oxidized to formaldehyde and formic acid; both of these metabolites are toxic.”

                                                                                      The recommend limit of consumption is 7.8 mg/day. A one-liter (approx. 1 quart) aspartame-sweetened beverage contains about 56 mg of methanol. Heavy users of aspartame-containing products consume as much as 250 mg of methanol daily or 32 times the EPA limit.

                                                                                      Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, causes retinal damage, interferes with DNA replication, and causes birth defects. Due to the lack of a couple of key enzymes, humans are many times more sensitive to the toxic effects of methanol than animals. Therefore, tests of aspartame or methanol on animals do not accurately reflect the danger for humans. As pointed out by Dr Woodrow C. Monte, Director of the Food Science and Nutrition Laboratory at Arizona State University, “There are no human or mammalian studies to evaluate the possible mutagenic, teratogenic, or carcinogenic effects of chronic administration of methyl alcohol.”

                                                                                      I'll take real sugar any day.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: lisablink

                                                                                        Easy for you to say... what with your healthy, fully functional pancreas and all. Are you a sugar lobbyist??? (JK)

                                                                                        Seriously though, there's plenty of science out there debunking all the purported myths you list. Bottom line, there's little reliable evidence to suggest that artificial sweeteners are more harmful than sugar. Check out this site:


                                                                                      2. Neither diet nor regular soda are harmful in the least.

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: FrankJBN

                                                                                          Gotta call BS here - plenty of documented linkage of aspartame consumption and anxiety. Very dangerous substance. Believe the hype regarding diet / artificial sweetners.

                                                                                          1. re: jbyoga

                                                                                            Both are obviously filled with things that are bad for you, lots of chemicals, flavorings, colorings. Once you accept that fact you need to look at other factors

                                                                                            1. Is filled with a HUGE amount or refined sweeteners, is one of the major factors in obesity and is one of the 1st things you should eliminate if your watching your weight.
                                                                                            2. The other has zero calories, zero calories will not make you gain an ounce.

                                                                                            again you can go on about the benefits of sugar versus artificial sweeteners and chemicals and all of that...both types are filled with crap you shouldnt put in your body..the diet soda will not put an extra 200 empty calories and 35 extra carbs in your system every time you drink it...In addition many diet sodas are now sweetened with Splenda..which has not had any of this issues associated with it that apertaime has had.....(here come the 400 posts showing how bad Splenda is for you)

                                                                                            best bet is drink either in moderation

                                                                                            1. re: jvish

                                                                                              You really cannot win with this one. There is always going to be someone with a contrary viewpoint and plenty of facts to back it up. I think it is more of a decision each person has to make for themselves. Personally, I enjoy the occasional soft drink, don't feel any real negative reactions (headaches, cravings, brain holes, etc) from artifical sweeteners, and I don't want the extra calories so I go with diet soft drinks when I want one. To each his own.

                                                                                              1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                                                "brain holes"... baahahahahaha!!!!! You're absolutely right tho. Everyone has an opinion and science to back it up. Choice and moderation are good things. :-)

                                                                                        2. HFCS is doubly nasty. It actually dries out your mouth, making you more thirsty, making you want someone to drink, for which you might reach for more soda, making you more thirsty. It's a money making scam since it's cheaper and makes you more addicted.

                                                                                          1. At the end of this looooonnnnnng list of comments I must add my own. Coca Cola regular settles my stomach on those rare occasions of upset. Must be regular, any of the diet stuff makes me sicker. As a rule, I don't drink pop but keep a bottle in the frig for emergencies. And I'm lucky enough to be near a Mexican market that carries Coke made with cane sugar, not corn syrup. Only drink it for "medicinal purposes" don't ya know. However, the Coke with corn syrup also works to calm my stomach. Usually just a few ounces, maybe six or eight.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: eartha

                                                                                              eartha, just thought id add that caffiene is a known stomach irritant. not sure why you enjoy regular and not diet, but id thought id tell you that caffiene is often difficult on an empty stomach.

                                                                                            2. For the record, im addicted to diet coke and drink 3 cans a day. However, after reading all the posts, I'd agree that both are bad. AND regardless of what you switch to, save water, will be bad for you too. Caffiene in coffee and tea is "bad" for you. Sugar in fruit juice is "bad" too. Try moderation, or cutting drinks with more water.

                                                                                              Also, regular soda is just as fine as diet, as long as you can cut calories elsewhere. If you are happy with your weight, regular soda is ok.

                                                                                              Love the suggestion of seltzer too. Another good idea.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: in_wonderment

                                                                                                I was too until rehab & now I like Diet Mountian Dew - hmmm

                                                                                              2. Both are bad for you, but so is that bus you could get hit by crossing the street.

                                                                                                With the above said, I drink 3 cans of pepsi, or coke a day, I also like Dr. Pepper, Jolt, and Mt. Dew. The diet versions of these just taste terrible to me, thats why i stick to the full strength version.

                                                                                                1. I used to be a Pepsi-holic. I rarely drank water. A few years ago, I weened myself off of Pepsi by switching to Diet Vanilla Coke. Then I went from Diet Van. Coke to sugar free fizzy flavored water. Then I went from that to plain water. In order to lose weight I started drinking 2 litres of water a day. I usually have wine for dinner. I do keep diet lemon lime soda around to make sugar free mojitos! :-P

                                                                                                  1. I think almost everything has been said already, but I'll just add a few thoughts. Everyone is dying, some of us are just doing it quicker. If Diet Coke were my worst habit (it isn't, but IF it were), I wouldn't be too worried about me. I tried to cut my Diet Coke habit with imported mineral waters, but then decided that shipping bottled water FROM EUROPE wasn't really environmentally friendly. Factoid: Diet Coke has the highest brand loyalty of any brand on the market. And I agree that nothing beats a Diet Coke chilled to the perfect temperature.

                                                                                                    1. I too must confess before I put in my two cents - I LOVE a mexican coke with lots of ice. Its a treat for me and since I don't drink alcohol, I'll sometimes order a coke when we're at a bar.

                                                                                                      Having said that, both are bad. Moderation is key. My limit is 2-3 regular cokes a week. I usually stick with coffee or iced water.

                                                                                                      1. I have been a diet soda drinker my entire adult life. My teeth have not rotted; my blood sugar remains OK; and I haven't developed cancer. In the last few years, we discovered Vernor's Diet Ginger Ale, and that is my diet drink of choice. No caffene. However, if I take a diet soda in a restaurant, I will take whatever diet drink is available, and request a lime for it. These days, it usually is a diet Pepsi, which really needs the help.

                                                                                                        For those of us who switched to diet drinks long enough ago, there is nothing better to drink on a hot or tiring day. Diet soda is what you want. If you are addicted to either kind of soda, you are probably addicted to the caffene, just as a coffee drinker would be. (like me) Neither diet or regular soda should become addictive. In all likelihood, neither substance is good for you in excess. So my advice is to worry less about the sort of soda you drink, and more about how much you are drinking. Even coffee addicts have to manage their caffene intake.

                                                                                                        1. A way to get around the HFCS problem with regular soda is to simply make your own. You can either buy a home carbonator for about $100, which is the easy route, or build your own carbonation unit with a schrader valve in a PET cap, a 20lb CO2 tank from a welding supply store, a regulator, some hose and a chuck. With these, you can create your own sodas from simple syrups that you make at home, and they'll be a lot better than anything you can get in the store. With the latter of the two, you can carbonate a gallon of liquid for about 4 cents. Hmm... wonder where I can come up with some quinine. A gallon of homemade tonic would be most excellent...

                                                                                                          My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

                                                                                                          1. Hi--My New Years resolution was to cut down my excessive (3/4 can a day) Diet Coke habit/nutrasweet addiction. So far I've been drinking alot of water and a cup of Roobios tea every now and then. I'm allowing myself 1 can a week. I think once you start hydrating with water, instead of DC, you just lose your taste for it.

                                                                                                            So instead of an everyday necesity, I'm treating like a treat, and I'm reminding myself that my body is a temple and I'm not putting junk into it any more. It seems to help, and actually I've been feeling better and sleeping better since the New Year.

                                                                                                            Good luck!!

                                                                                                            1. Easy. If the choice is
                                                                                                              A. HFCS
                                                                                                              B. Aspartame

                                                                                                              I choose none of the above. If you are addicted, it is an addiction worth breaking. Drink water, juice, black coffee, unsweetened tea, maybe some fruit juice in moderation.

                                                                                                              Sidebar: I also learned to make a great margarita from scratch as my favorite mix was full of HFCS.

                                                                                                              Also, a good alternative to soda for something cold and caffeinated: iced coffee-- make your own, just try to go easy on the milk and sugar. Try making your own. Most of the canned/bottled ones have much more calories/sugar/fat, than necessary. And some of the commercial ones may have HFCS, as well.

                                                                                                              I probably drink 1 or 2 sodas a year. And only when there is no alternative and I really need something to drink.