Dieting comes with its share of challenges, and right from the start, irresistible cravings kick in. If you’re reading this, you’re probably sick and tired of drinking water on keto, and wondering if diet soda on keto is the right way to go.
Diet soda is sweet like any other carbonated soft drinks, contains zero carbs, and doesn’t have any added sugar. From a nutritional point of view, diet soda sparks debate because it contains artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame which could have adverse effects on your health.
In this article, we shall be discussing everything you should know about diet soda on a keto diet.
What is Diet Soda?
Diet soda is a beverage that mimics the taste of regular soda but has no sugar. It combines artificial sweeteners, carbonated water, natural flavors, caramel color, caffeine, phosphoric acid, and preservatives. Let’s have a detailed look at each ingredient.
- Phosphoric acid– is found in bubbles of diet soda and can ruin your bone health. A study on the NCBI website revealed that high contents of phosphoric acid could lower bone mineral density.
- Carbonated water– its water infused with carbon dioxide (CO2). It’s also known as fizzy water or sparkling water. People prefer carbonated water because it more refreshing than plain water.
- Preservatives– some of the chemicals found in diet soda include potassium sorbate and potassium benzoate, which help prevent fungi and mold growth hence preventing food spoilage.
- Natural flavorings- The FDA defines natural flavorings as any product containing flavors obtained from fruits, vegetables, eggs or similar material. Its purpose is to provide flavor.
- Artificial sweeteners- Sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame K, and saccharin are zero-calorie sweeteners that are 100 times sweeter than sugar.
- Caramel color- is responsible for the brownish color of diet soda. An article posted on the NCBI website revealed that caramel color isn’t genotoxic, meaning it doesn’t cause cancer.
- Caffeine- when consumed in doses above 400mg, it can cause anxiety, nervousness, and jitteriness. (Source).
Can You Drink Diet Soda on Keto?
We’ve seen users on different online communities asking, can I drink diet soda on keto?
The answer is YES. While diet coke is not healthy, a few drinks once in a blue moon won’t ruin your keto lifestyle. Just watch for the addiction.
Additionally, diet sodas can’t be justified as healthy from a nutritional standpoint. They aren’t healthy and shouldn’t be a regular feature in your diet menu.
Nutritional facts of diet coke:
- 0g sugars
- 0 calories
- 0g carbohydrates
- 0g proteins
Because ketogenic diet purposely aims to cutting carbs in your diet, from keto standpoint diet coke is allowed.
Replacing regular soda with diet soda will help you significantly cut carbohydrate consumption and at the same time satisfying your cravings. Remember, you shouldn’t consume diet coke regularly.
Additionally, diet soda has zero nutritional value but linked to some health problems when in excess. The artificial sweeteners can also disrupt your body’s metabolism and spike up your sugar cravings.
Benefits of Diet Soda on Keto
Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of diet soda in your ketogenic lifestyle.
Zero carbs and calories
The rule of thumb in your ketogenic lifestyle is that; carbohydrates should never exceed 50grams per day. Cutting your carbs intake significantly helps in weight loss.
Additionally, to shed off those extra pounds, you need to burn more calories than you eat. To lose 1 pound of your body weight, you’ll need to burn 3500kcal. Typically, you should cut 500kcal daily (Source).
Drinking diet coke is an excellent way of satisfying your “sugary glands” while at the same time reducing calorie intake.
Satisfies your cravings
The artificial sweeteners in diet soda are 100 times sweeter than regular sugar. If you’re craving for something sweet but hate to gain extra pounds, a can of diet coke once in a will quench your sugar cravings.
How Diet Drinks Can Ruin Your Ketogenic Lifestyle
While diet soft drinks are sugar-free, they contain artificial sweeteners that allow you to get that sweet taste without worrying about carbs or calories.
Artificial sweeteners may indirectly ruin your ketogenic lifestyle in ways you never thought possible. Let’s see how?
On weight gain
You may argue that there’s no way you’ll weight from light drinks since they don’t have any calories or carbohydrates. That’s true, but the fact is that you’ll be promoting weight gain in other ways.
A 2019 study published in Pediatric Obesity found out that people who drink artificially sweetened drinks consume up to 450 more calories per day than those who only drink water. The reason being the sweet taste will make you feel hungrier than you would have without it.
According to a 2017 report, researchers found a correlation between artificial sweeteners and obesity. These sweeteners can affect the bacteria in your gut, resulting in decreased satiety hence prompting you to consume more calories.
On Sugar Cravings
One way to quench your sugar cravings when on a keto diet is to drink diet light drinks. You get to satisfy your sugar buds without any of the calories or carbohydrates.
Anything sweet you eat activates different pathways in your brain. However, the sweetness of artificial sweeteners without calories will only partially activate these pathways, and this leaves your brain “yearning” for more. Because artificial sweeteners don’t fully satisfy your brain, it’ll continually seek what it wants until it gets it – in this case sweet flavor with some calories (Source). If you give in to your cravings, you’ll only end up developing tolerance and preference for all things sweet making you utterly dependent on artificial sweeteners.
On metabolic Dysregulation
One of the primary purposes of ketosis is to regulate insulin and glucose levels, the two of the significant factors that help you to keep tabs on your weight.
A 2013 study by Diabetes Care found out that diet beverages work directly against the keto mechanism by disrupting glucose and insulin levels in the body. This results in increased risks of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity, that’s according to Reviews of Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders.
Avoid Diet Soda If you’re On Keto Diet
Although diet drinks won’t directly kick you out of ketosis, it’ll affect you in other ways and make it almost impossible for you to lose weight.
The artificial sweeteners in diet sodas are linked to other health problems like:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Short term memory loss
How to Cut Down Diet Soda on Keto
To get rid of diet soda from your menu, you need to understand the reason why you drink soda and find a good alternative.
Some people drink diet soda to satisfy their sugar cravings while others want a quick caffeine jolt. For people not on keto diet, switching to tea and coffee may be a good alternative. However for people living keto lifestyle, they’ll need to find a sugar-free option and calories free.
You can replace diet soda with another keto-friendly drink and smoothies that provide same sweetness as soda.
Recommended Keto-Friendly Drinks: Best Diet Soda Alternatives
As more medical publications are made available to the general public about the health risks of diet soda and possible artificial sweetener addiction, manufacturers have responded by offering light drinks made with stevia, which is an all-natural no-carbohydrate, no-calorie sweetener.
However, there isn’t sufficient information whether stevia has the same effects as artificial sweeteners.
Below are keto-friendly sodas that have been crafted to satisfy your taste buds without knocking you out of fat-burning ketosis:
- Homemade sodas
- LaCroix, a sweetener-free drink that uses a combination of natural flavors.
- Homemade recipes (discussed below)
6 Ketosis Friendly Homemade Diet Soda Recipes
Image credit: Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash
Humans can’t survive without water. It’s the best drink for everyone on the planet that not only quenches your thirst but also keeps you hydrated and cures headaches.
While water is a must, not everyone appreciates its taste. Sometimes we want to quench our thirst with something that tasty and sweet. Below are different keto-friendly recipes that you should try.
1. Zingy Salted Lime Soda
Generally, you can use sparkling mineral water, club soda, and seltzer water interchangeably unless you’re specific. The minerals in these three only change the taste slightly. It’s important always to check the ingredients since some have artificial flavors.
- 1 lime
- 1 ¼ cups of club soda, sparkling mineral water o seltzer water (adjust amount to taste)
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt (adjust the amount to liking)
Juice 1 lime and then mix with club soda, mineral water, or seltzer water and salt. Stir the mixture gently until all the salt dissolves and serve chilled.
This is the perfect homemade diet soda to keep in the refrigerator for those hot days as it’s quite refreshing, and the small salt added can help with rehydration. You can dip a slice of the lime to the rim of the glass to make it look like some fancy summer cocktail.
2. Cucumber Lime Water
Cucumber waters are served in spas, probably to help you relax during the session. This recipe only requires three ingredients and can be prepared in less than five minutes.
- 1 lime
- 1 cucumber
- 1.5 liters of water
Gently peel the cucumber and slice it into small slices. Add the slices to jug. Extract juice from 1 lime and add it to the jug. Add water to the mix and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
Cucumber is an excellent cooling vegetable that adds flavor to water. The lime adds some zingy freshness to make the drink even more refreshing. Alternatively, you can use a water bottle with infuser in the middle to help you drink comfortably without the cucumber slices coming your way.
3. Sparkling Pomegranate
You’ll only need about 5 ingredients to make this refreshing pomegranate drink. It’s important to note that it does contain some caffeine to spice up your mood on those boring afternoons and boost your energy.
- 20 drops of stevia
- 2 cups of water
- ½ cup of cold green tea
- ½ cup of pomegranate juice
- ½ of sparkling water
It takes less than 5 mins to have the sparkling pomegranate drink ready. Combine the five ingredients in a jug and serve over ice.
This recipe contains 18 calories and is sugar-free making it perfect for people living ketosis lifestyle.
4. Ginger Ale
Ginger has been attributed to many health benefits. This ginger-flavored keto drink will not only quench your thirst but also help you balance blood sugar, relieve cough symptoms, and digestive problems.
- 4 cups of sparkling water
- 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons of erythritol
- Ice cubs
- 22-inc pieces of ginger
Wash your ginger, peel and grate it. Place the grated ginger in a cheesecloth or muslin and squeeze it until you have 2 tablespoons of ginger juice. Mix the ginger juice in a jug with other ingredients and serve immediately.
5. Easy Flavored Water
In the past few years, it’s been discovered that store-bought flavored water can have hidden additives. Here’s how you can turn your “plain” water into ketogenic friendly flavored water using ingredients such as raspberries, lime, blueberries, and blackberries.
Slice the lemon into small slices and wash all other ingredients. Then dip a lemon slice and small pieces of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries into a glass of water. Serve over ice.
6. Pink Grapefruit Soda
This is one of the best diet soda alternatives that give the same fizzy feeling as diet soda without artificial sweeteners. It contains real juices from lemon and grapefruit and can be enjoyed by everyone in the family.
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 cups of sparkling water
- 1 pink grapefruit, juiced
- 20 drops of stevia
- ½ lime juiced
Mix lemon juice, grapefruit juice, 20 drops of liquid stevia, and salt. Divide this mixture into four different serving glasses. Add ice cubes to each glass and fill with sparkling water.
Ketosis Smoothies and Other Beverages
Many keto-friendly smoothie recipes can help you satisfy your sugar cravings without impacting negatively on your health or affecting your keto lifestyle. The best way to make low-carb smoothie or keto smoothies is by using fats like coconut oil, nut butters, or coconut oil and some low-carb vegetables like cucumbers, leafy greens, beets or celery and smaller portions of fruits like apples, pears or berries.
Other keto-friendly beverages include unsweetened almond milk, which sugar-free and contain about 30 calories per 8 ounces serving.
Final thoughts on Diet Soda on Keto
Although diet soda may seem like the best way to satisfy your thirst without worrying about calorie intake, its damages to your health exceed the benefits. It doesn’t matter whether it’s calorie-free or carb-free, you should avoid it as long as you want to enjoy the full benefits of a ketogenic diet. Consider our six alternatives; they are all low carb, sweet and good for your health.