Diet drinks make you fat!

4 Jul

According to a study published last week diet drinks make you fat. Apparently results showed fairly conclusively that those that drank diet drinks over a period of 10 years put on considerably more weight than those that preferred their full fat counterparts.

Apparently the scientists aren’t entirely sure why this happens, but it may be something to do with tricking your body into expecting a large sugar boost and then not delivering it. Sorry, but D-U-H! Do you ever listen to reports like this and think “ummm, save those pennies Mr Medical Minister I know the answer to this one”?

If you’ve ever read my post The difference between thinnies and fatties you’ll see I’ve already got this one sussed. Diet drinks don’t make you fat any more than people tub up from too many ryvitas, just that only fatties drink them. Thinnies drink full fat coke, fatties drink diet coke. Simple. Look at any supermarket trolley on a Saturday morning and my hypothesis will be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s only overweight people that have low fat yoghurts, ryvita minis, diet colas, sweetener etc riding their belt at the shops. Anyone remotely sane (i.e thinnies) wouldn’t go near this sorry stuff. They eat exactly what they want, when they want, but the difference is they will stop when they’re full.  So of course they choose the stuff that tastes the best.

Fatties on the other hand, will stockpile these cardboard delights in the vain hope yet again of regulating their eating that week, only to send hubby out at unsociable hours on a chocolate run after a few wines have robbed them of their self-control. (That or raid their children’s biscuit tin of course). And they’ll eat these chocolate delights way past fullness, and right on into sickiness. And the diet drinks? Easy – only fatties will walk into a Macdonalds, order a big mac extra meal with quadruple size chips, and request a diet coke on the side. Why? Because we don’t want to waste the calories on a drink. There’s simply not enough fun in a 200 calorie drink to make the subsequent guilt and self-loathing worthwhile.

So why do diet drinks make people fat? They don’t. We just get fat eating all the other rubbish we get to go with them. (My pleasure Mr Medical Minister, I’ll take doughnuts for payment.)

25 Responses to “Diet drinks make you fat!”

  1. Kate July 4, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    I hate full fat coke. I don’t have a massively sweet tooth so I think it’s way too sweet. Diet coke has a good flavour. I used to drink tons of Diet Coke but I stopped drinking it for ages. I drink it again now but not as often as before – I always had a bottle on the go before.

  2. Julia July 4, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    It’s so black & white! I love your turn of phrase in this & can see you sitting down & banging the keyboard to write it! Have a coke on me (full fat of course!)

  3. henry July 4, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    Well sort of. It’s true that there’ absolutely no proof in the actual research that diet drinks per se led to the increase in weight. Here’s the relevant bit:

    “…We compared mean [change in waist circumference] for [diet soft drink] users vs. non-users in all follow-up periods, adjusted for sex; baseline [waist circumference], age, ethnicity, education, neighborhood, leisure physical activity, diabetes and smoking status; and length of follow-up.”


    So they *did* take participants’ initial weight into account (hence it’s not fair to say its only ‘the fatties’ who drink soft drinks – the effect seems to hold true whatever weight you were at the start of the study).

    However, here’s the big ‘but’ (no pun intended) – they didn’t account for changes in diet over the study period. So people could have been stuffing down the crisps and chocs all throughout the study and drinking diet coke to attempt to compensate. So you’re basically right.

    And, as ever, the Daily Mail is pretty much wrong.

    Oh, and the age range of the participants was 65-74 yrs – so the Mail missed a trick – it could have gone with “Diet Coke Killing Pensioners”.


    • marketingtomilk July 4, 2011 at 11:53 am #

      OOh i love that i’ve attracted comments from a real life scientist! You presuppose that fatties don’t put on weight. The truth is, we just get fatter over time. One dress size every decade in my case. So ten year study would merely be reporting on this natural phenomenon. I say natural, acutally what we’re eating and drinking is anything but……

    • henry July 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      Not sure I qualify as a ‘real life scientist’!! Just an ‘interested pedant’… 🙂

  4. JulieB July 4, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    I love the google ad that appears at the bottom of this post:

    Ads by Google
    Lose 6 kgs in 4 weeks?
    Cut 6 kgs off your belly a month by using this 1 weird old tip.

    Oh, and great post by the way, I do tend to agree…

    • JulieB July 4, 2011 at 11:04 am #

      Sorry, didn’t mean to copy the link there! Doh…

  5. Alex July 4, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    I’ve often stood behind enormo-people in McDonalds who order (for themselves) a large Big Mac Meal, a couple of hamburgers, some chicken nuggets and a diet coke, as though the diet coke absolves them of the rest of the calories.

    You’re right.

    • Madamding Mrsm July 4, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

      I order a diet coke with my McDonalds meal, not because I think it’s healthy but because I can’t stand the taste of the normal coke. Diet Coke is way better.

  6. wanderlust July 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    I don’t agree with your theory that only overweight people drink diet drinks and thin peeps drink the regular. From my observation it’s the other way around. But either way, I don’t think either variety is healthy. Both send signals to the brain that sugar is on the way. I drink diet coke because I don’t like the taste of regular, but I wish I didn’t have a taste for it. I’m trying to drink more water, but it’s a tough sell. There is absolutely nothing healthy in sodas. All chemicals and dyes. Yuk.

    • marketingtomilk July 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

      I’m only aiming for statistical significance here, and my terms “thinny” and “fatty” are more psychological then physical. Fatties like me overeat and can’t control it. Could still be thin by running daily marathons (unfortunately i’m pretty lazy too so no hope for me).

  7. Libby July 4, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    Did you write this post as a joke?
    Hard to think someone would be so offensive on purpose.

    • marketingtomilk July 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

      no not a joke. I actually do think this. If you’d read carefully, you’d have seen i put myself firmly in the fatty camp, and if you’d ever read any of my other posts you’d also know i always write with my tongue firmly in my cheek.

  8. Madamding Mrsm July 4, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    As I’ve said above, I drink diet drinks because I like the taste. I am absolutely addicted to diet coke but can’t stand to drink a “normal” one. It’s nothing to do with being healthy for me, it’s a taste issue.

    I know your post is tongue in cheek but I don’t agree because I’m a size 10 and my trolley is often filled with low-fat goodies. Mainly because I want to stay a size 10!

  9. Kelloggsville July 4, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    Hmm I don’t do fizzy drinks very often but if I do it will always be diet as there is no way I’m going to drink 300 calories when I could have a biscuit! I am not fat by any stretch of the imagination. I think there is a link between fizzy pop and fat regardless of whether it is regular or diet. I agree that people inclined to guzzle pop are also likely to be choosing food for reasons other than fuel or making bad choices. However, as I say, I am thin and I would only drink diet, I buy fat free yoghurt and be good to yourself bacon. I also stuff chocolate late at night after the wine’s gone down. So I’m not entirely sure your theory holds out completely. I think you should supermarket stalk obese people for a little longer and report back 😉

  10. urbanvox July 4, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    ummmmmmm chocolate!!! 🙂

  11. Tabs July 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    From the reading I’ve done around this subject, it’s not that the drinks themselves make you fat, but there is evidence to suggest that they kid people into thinking they can eat more food and drink to compensate for the fact they’ve been ‘good’ (by having a diet drink).

    Similar results are seen with diet/low fat foods. People kid themselves into thinking because it’s low calorie, they can eat MORE of it. Usually this leads to them eating more than they need to and overall, they tend to consume more calories in a day than people who eat the standard versions. My mantra is – eat less of the full fat version. You’ll feel fuller and more satisfied.

    And the diet industry is horrendous at telling the truth – for example, low fat Cadbury’s drinking chocolate actually contains more calories than the normal version, because they’ve loaded it up with sugar to compensate for the loss of fat. Weight for weight, a bowl of Special K cereal contains the same amount of calories as a raspberry glazed Krispy Kreme donut. Obviously the fat content is vastly different, but you’re still getting a huge amount of calories because they’ve loaded the Special K with sugar!

    The industry makes it very tough for people to make the right decisions about their diet. My rule of thumb – if a product makes a big noise on the packaging about how healthy it is, it probably isn’t. You know like Nutella claiming it’s really good for you because it contains milk and nuts. Forget about the humungous amounts of sugar and it might be true! 😉

    • marketingtomilk July 4, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

      I def think it’s a psychological thing, rather than any biological one. ONly those of us that have a psychological “issue” with eating seem to be succeptible to all this in any case.
      Thanks for the great comment.

  12. mothersalwaysright July 4, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    I hate diet coke. In fact I hate coke. Unless it is laced with vodka, in which case it is really rather pleasant. I’m a water girl all the way. It washes down the cake far better I find.

  13. Doodlemum July 5, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    Great post! The diet industry is huge and the biggest pile of money making pants on the planet next to the arms race if you ask me.
    People are making money out of fatties and their insecurities.
    I personally hate diet coke with a passion as I used to be one of those people that would drink it thinking it was saving me calories.
    I dumped the stuff after reading Susie Orbach and happily skipped off to the land of lovely food and have lived the liberated life with just me my body and my food ever since. Fab.

    • marketingtomilk July 7, 2011 at 11:28 am #

      Good on you, i’m trying to catch the express train there at the moment, but i’m finding my big fat arse difficult to get off this chair ;>)

  14. Alice July 5, 2011 at 10:42 am #


    I do drink coke on occasion but hate diet coke and only drink the fat stuff. It’s a big treat when I do allow myself to indulge and I only do it when I’m hugely hungover or very tired.

    But all this reading about coke means I’m going to have to go and get one now. Mmmmm fatty fat fat coke.

  15. CoffeeCurls July 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Oooh lots of very serious comments!

    My only observation is that the only people I know who drink red coke (as I call it) are skinny so I’d tend to think you have a point!


  16. HannahSam July 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    I agree to a point but the fact is fat Coke makes my teeth itch so it’s Diet Coke for me please! But when it comes to everything else?? Fat or thin, I’ll always go for the full fat option

I'm all about the debate. Would love to hear what you think.

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