Is there any real evidence that diet drinks are bad for you – or is it all just opinion?

Ask Bitten Jonsson

Is there any real evidence that diet drinks are bad for you – or is it all just opinion? And is it normal to feel bloated when you start out on a low-carb diet?

These and other questions are answered this week by our food-addiction expert, Bitten Jonsson, RN:

Is there any real evidence that diet drinks are bad for you – or is it all just opinion?

I’ve seen you comment, in response to questions about diet sodas, “…diet sodas are chemical sugar water…” and “…diet drinks are chemical expensive colored liquids…” and that they’re “[real] bad for you”.

There seems to be a lot of that kind of opinion in the diet world that zero-carb sodas are drinks of the devil – or some such. However, I have never, ever, seen any evidence or justification for that view – just attitude. So I’m really and genuinely interested to know what evidence there might be?


Hi Dave,

Based on my knowledge and opinion, and also experience from thousands of clients with sugar addiction. Diet sodas do not work. People become addicted to them, many have caffeine in them and they trigger cravings, they fool the body into thinking it is sugar. So I advice you to read up on that. I strongly advice against them. I do not se any use for them at all.


More info and links to studies on diet drinks

Is it normal to feel bloated on low carb?

First, this is my second attempt. Then I listened to your video about being addicted to carbs – you comment on the stages of carb addiction and hit home – I’ve blamed everything on menopause, depression etc. – but no, it’s addiction to carbs and my secret gorging on chocolate and ice cream!

Second, in my second week I feel very bloated? Is this expected?

Thank you again,

Hi Sarah,

Yes it is very common and it will pass, drink plenty of water.


Should certain types of seafood be limited on low carb?

There are very few recipes with shrimp or crab meat on the website. My family really enjoys seafood. Should certain types of seafood be limited or avoided?


Hello Angie,

I eat seafood a lot, maybe it is because there’s hardly any fat in them, but just add fat and then you are doing LCHF.



Earlier Q&A with Bitten

No Sweets of Any Kind, Ever?

How to Deal with Unsupportive Family Members?

What Should I Do After a Slip Up?

Can You Drink Diet Soda on a Low-Carb Diet?

What Sweetener Should You Use Instead of Sugar?

Dealing with Emotional Eating

Losing Willpower at Night and Eating

Addicted to Nuts?

More Questions and Answers

Read all earlier questions and answers – and ask your own! – here:

Ask Bitten Jonsson, RN, About Food Addiction – for members (free trial available)

Top food addiction videos

  • Sugar addiction 2: how to free yourself
  • How to get started on freeing yourself from sugar addiction
  • Don't act on false emotions
  • How to reach long-term recovery

Full Sugar Addiction Course >


  1. Kay
    I'm very disappointed with Bitten's response to Dave's question. He asked for evidence and she reiterated her opinion as though it were evidence. If she were tracking the results of her clients who use diet sodas and do not, her experience might qualify as evidence, but as it is she's just relaying anecdotal evidence that is likely coloured by her beliefs.
  2. john
    Very poor response to Daves query
    Daves question simply asks... Wheres the Evidence ?
    If there is evidence then our expert should be able to provide us with it
    1 "Based on my knowledge and OPINION" . ( already knew that, he wanted EVIDENCE)
    2 "Diet sodas do not work". Yes they do for many non sugar addicted people. WHERES YOUR EVIDENCE
    3 "Clients with sugar addiction. Fool the body into thinking it is sugar."
    Yes they do, BUT THEY ARE NOT SUGAR. Where is the EVIDENCE that it is as bad or worse than sugar
    4 "People become addicted to them". No, addicts add them to their pre-existing addiction to all things sweet
    5 "many have caffeine in them and they trigger cravings". EVIDENCE please that caffeine can lead to sweet addiction
    6 "So I advice you to read up on that". Have done and I would agree that trying to break a sugar addiction is unlikely to be helped by ANY
    substitution for sweetness
    7 "I strongly advice against them". Why? You are entitled to your opinion but were asked for EVIDENCE
    8 "I do not se any use for them at all". Again you are entitled to your opinion but were asked for EVIDENCE
    I would agree that some of the points in Bittens response are valid within a SUGAR ADDICTION content but not in a Dietry content. However Bitten offers absolutely NO EVIDENCE even within an addiction context merely re-iterating her opinions
    The big problem is when asked for evidence you cant provide it, just more opinion and we plebs are left uninformed or worse, badly informed
    The answer to Davids question is... yes it is all just opinion as shown in this experts response
  3. David Martin
    Nature, October 2014, study done in mice and then in people demonstrated that consuming saccharine, sucralose and aspartame were actually worse than sugar at altering the gut microbiota and raising hemoglobin A—1-C, which is a marker for glucose over the previous 2 months. To my knowledge stevia and erythritol have not been studied in this way.

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