Regular or Diet Soda - Which One Is Healthier?

Regular or Diet Soda - Which One Is Healthier?

You don’t have to be a health nut to know that soda/ pop isn’t good for you. But is it really all that bad? I’m sure you have heard lots about it, so let’s go into further detail about both options today.

Whether you call it soda or pop, it’s the same thing.

Coke, Pepsi, 7-Up, Sprite, Dr. Pepper… if you look in the store, you can always see the regular and the ‘diet’ version. If you watch tv, or hear ads anywhere, then you are likely confused which is better or worse for your health.

Is it ok to just have it once in a while? And if you’re going to have it, is it better to have the regular ol’ sugar-filled version or the zero calorie “diet” kind?

Well, let’s weigh-in on the facts:

Regular soda - is it as bad as they say?


  • It doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharin) that have gotten a really bad rap lately.


  • The sugar! A 12-ounce can of cola has about 8 teaspoons; almost the daily limit as recommended by the American Heart Association.

  • Drinking 1-2 cans a day can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 26%

  • Regular sodas are filled with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) which is linked to obesity, heart disease and fatty liver disease.

Diet soda - is it actually better for you?


  • It feeds the craving for something sweet without adding extra calories or carbs, if you’re concerned about this.

  • Since it’s sugar-free, diabetics can sip without worrying about the direct hit to their insulin and blood sugar levels.


  • While diet soda may be considered ‘safe’ for diabetics, they are far from nutritious as the artificial sweeteners in diet soda actually cause you to crave more sugar. When we drink it, our body is expecting sugar. Then when it doesn’t get it, it responds with even more cravings - for sugar!

  • Diet soda drinkers tend to gain more weight particularly around their belly.

  • One study: (Click if you want to read the study) said that frequent drinkers of diet soda gained up to three times more belly fat than their non-diet soda drinking counterparts.

  • Diet soda is now being linked with cancer, heart attacks, strokes and neurological disorders.

The verdict on soda

Neither regular or diet soda are going to improve your health. They are literally devoid of any health benefits. In fact, both are linked to significant health issues.

So what should you choose?

The best bet would be to steer clear of both, if you can. However, if you do decide to have a soda from time to time, the choice is ultimately up to you.

If you’re sensitive to sugar, then perhaps the diet soda may be your best bet. But, if artificial sweeteners wreak havoc on your digestive system, you may want to go with the regular soda instead.

What to drink instead

The healthiest drink you can give your body is plain old water. And while water may not seem as exciting as soda, you can shake it up by adding lemon, lime or berries - or even cucumber and mint for a bit of flavour.

Sparkling waters (sugar free and artificial sweetener free) can also be a great alternative for a soda replacement since they still contain some bubbles and fizz.

This is one area that you want to pay attention too. Some new studies are coming out all the time in this area, and we don’t really know long term health effects of many things until it’s too late.

Related Reading:

Water- And Why You Probably Need To Drink More

How Do I Keep My Blood Sugar Stable?

The Truth Behind Artificial Sweeteners

Do you want give it up for a few days? It doesn’t have to be hard, IF you follow a step by step system to get rid of the cravings. Give my free challenge a try!

Gaylene Gomez, NNCP, C.H.N.

A little bit about me! I'm Gaylene, a Holistic Nutrition Coach for women. I work with busy, professional women to help them learn about healthy, simple lifestyle changes they can easily implement to reduce belly bloat, lose weight and get through their day with sustained energy. My clients are committed to their health and excited to learn about healthy eating and natural living. I feel proud of them for taking charge of their health and I'm so lucky to work with these amazing women. 

Learn more about me here: About Me


Wiley Online Library - Diet study & waist circumference study

CNN - Diet Soda May Do More Harm Than Good

Harvard School of Public Health - Soft Drinks & Disease

American Heart Association - Sugar 101

Healthline - Is Diet Soda Safe for Diabetes?