Diet soda is commonly used by those who want to have their cake and eat it, too. They want to continue drinking soda without the extra calories. Their compromise is to turn to the fake sugar-laden diet soda, but is that really better?
Probably not. The two most commonly used fake sweeteners are aspartame and sucralose, both of which have shown possible carcinogenic effects, but only when used in extremely high doses (you probably won’t get cancer from the occasional can of diet pop).
The Effects on Gut Bacteria
However, sucralose has been shown to kill off our beneficial gut bacteria, while leaving the undesirable microbes. This contributes to weight gain, not to mention impaired digestion and compromised immune systems. The evidence for these problems is reinforced by the fact that regular diet soda drinkers are significantly more likely to be overweight than those who do not drink diet soda.
Reasons to Avoid Sugar
The Paleo diet limits sugar, not only because eating too much sugar is detrimental to our health, but also because it’s important to get off the sugar addiction so many people eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) suffer from. Rather than helping alleviate those cravings, fake sugar has actually been shown to increase sugar cravings, which could leave you reaching for those cookies later on, even when you know you’d be better off with some almond butter.
The bottom line is that living a Paleo lifestyle is all about eating real food and diet soda is not food. It is, as Mark Sisson puts it, “a consumable whose stated purpose is to help dieters lose weight by avoiding sugar.”