Do diet sodas cause type 2 diabetes?

or is this just more junk science?

It’s been on the news and on the blogs. If you google ‘diabetic diet soda’ you’ll get tons of hits, virtually every one of them reading what they want to read (the modern day, internet version of hearing what you want to hear); diet sodas increase the risk of diabetes. They are even saying it’s worse than real (non-diet) sodas! Here’s just one.


I’m not pro diet soda, and I’m definitely not pro soda companies.

I think that a product that was once thought to be harmless, possibly helpful, sold in tiny bottles, and enjoyed on special occasions by most, has morphed into a corporate giant that will do what it takes to make it’s profits and gain and keep customers, whether it’s bigger cans, smaller cans, less sugar, added vitamins, more caffeine, less caffeine, a variety of flavors, more bubbly, less bubbly, weird colors…

colorful bottles of soda

…crazy marketing, celebrity endorsements, and creating an illusion of healthfulness by adding words like ‘recovery’ and ‘vitamin’ to the labels.

They’ve also branched out into actually healthy products, like water, and made it very clear that they are the providers of healthy drinks, thus ‘bringing up the brand’ in the eyes of its consumers.

Oh please…

/rant over (for now)


I don’t believe it’s true.

This is just another bad study attempting to tell us that diet sodas are worse than regular; this time they say that they might cause diabetes, but before this it was weight gain, cancer, etc. They hate diet sodas, most likely because they hate artificial sweeteners, and this seems to be the latest attempt to demonize them.

I’m not a doctor or a researcher, so take my opinion for what it’s worth – This study is awful.


My warning signs – 60,000+ surveyed, long term, and wide scale

When I first heard about it, from well meaning people, I was told that over 60,000 women were studied! Wow. Impressive. But how do you study 60,000 women. By surveys. Apparently, just one time for each woman.

Did their habits change as they learned of their risk? Did they even learn of it? Did they always drink the level of sodas, diet sodas, juice, etc. that was reported during that one, single survey?

Were they telling the truth? In my experience, people who are overweight and drink a lot of real soda, lie about it in greater numbers than people who drink diet sodas in excess.

The terms ‘long term’ and ‘wide scale’ make it seem valid, but the methodologies are questionable. With 60,000 people in the study, you can’t afford to follow up with them many times, and that makes it inaccurate, especially when it’s loooong term.

I hope you can see the flaws in this study. Did the people mean well? Very likely. Does this do more good than harm? I don’t know; not if it encourages someone who’s at risk for diabetes and/or overweight to add hundreds of sugary calories into their diet, thinking that it doesn’t matter or that they are reducing their risk.


Here are my big questions, based on the study, it’s methodology, and it’s ‘findings’

  • Are people who are addicted to sweets more likely to drink soda? Regular or diet?
  • Do people who drink diet soda drink more soda in general? Many people drink soda like water, and if they know there are no calories, then what’s the harm in drinking (and reporting) more.
  • Do people who drink regular soda report all that they drink? They know it’s empty calories and bad for them, because even the tv doctors who are mostly wrong get that right!
  • Are women at risk for type 2 diabetes more likely to drink diet soda? Have they been warned by doctors, the ADA, and the media to watch sugar, thus encouraging more diet soda?
  • Are overweight women more likely to drink diet soda? Have they been warned by their doctor to lose weight, thus encouraging more diet soda? Overweight people are already at risk and more likely to have or contract type 2 diabetes.
  • Are overweight women at higher risk for diabetes? Have they been warned by their doctor to lose weight, thus encouraging more diet soda?


So, what do the study’s authors think about the study?

The authors of the study even say that more research is needed to prove a true link between type 2 diabetes and diet soda. They admitted that:

“information on beverage consumption was not updated during the follow-up, and dietary habits may have changed over time. We cannot rule out that factors other than ASB [or artificially sweetened beverages] are responsible for the association with diabetes.”

I really don’t have more to add after their statement.


What’s the bottom line?

If you have sweets issues, put yourself on a sugar, starches, and carb fast. Break your habit! 

If you are overweight and/or diabetic (or at risk for it), you also have to cut out the sugars, but maybe also the starches. At least for a while.

overweight man sitting on a bench

Eliminating sugar, starches, and carbs isn’t necessarily forever; in the case of being fat or type 2 diabetic, your body is broken. What are you going to do to fix it? In the case of an addiction, are you really going to let food run your life? What about ruin your life?

Many of our friends and clients have had good success following our 30 Days of Real Food or the Whole30, both of which are 30 day programs to lick these habits, kickstart your weight loss, and show you what eating real food can do for your body and mind.

Whatever your problem, nip it in the bud. Start with 30 Days and see how you feel. 


Please join us

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