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Sep 28, 2007 02:08 PM

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. 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.