I just got an email from our good friend, Jonny Bowden, with a link to his latest exchange in an ongoing ‘dialog’ with Big Soda about the inherent health detriment of pushing diet sodas on the public as if they were health food.

Some of you may be familiar with Jonny and may thus have seen it, but others may not have, so here it is for all.

His point, which I think the representative from Big Soda totally misses, is that humans through the millennia had no access to nor were we ever designed to consume large amounts of high intensity sweet on a regular basis and that doing so potentially carries consequences to long term health with it. Bombarding the taste buds throughout the day, day in and day out, year after year with ever increasing amounts of sweetness, whether from natural sources or from artificial sources, bumfuzzles (Now there’s a complex medical term for you!) the digestive and metabolic system.

There’s no doubt that digestive physiology is set into motion when an intensely sweet stimulus hits the sweet receptors on the anterior two thirds of the tongue. The body has to at least begin to prepare for what the taste buds tell it will be a whopping slug of carbohydrate to deal with and then the slug never comes. It would seem logical that there would be a consequence to that false signal and indeed there’s at least some research (as we wrote about in The Protein Power LifePlan) to suggest that to be the case,

whatever Big Soda thinks to the contrary.

Is the diet version of a given beverage better than an equivalent amount of HFCS-sweetened-flavored-carbonated beverage? Probably so. But, as with most things food related, quantity matters. A diet soda here and there probably isn’t going to hurt anyone, but a steady diet of 32-ounce mega cup after 32-ounce mega cup of it might be.

A better drink option, to our way of thinking, for rehabilitation of the besieged sweet receptors and metabolism (and I’m sure Jonny would agree) is a nice cup of tea, or a glass of slightly alkaline mineral water or even just plain, old, clean, filtered tap water.

Or a bottle of wine….


  1. “or a bottle of wine . . .” A woman after my own heart!

    Seriously, though. I have been wondering lately about a possible insulin spike caused by the body’s anticipation of carb ingestion. I am beginning to think that some low carbers, especially those near their goal weight (read: moi!) can sabotage their efforts by liberal ingestion of treats made with Splenda-sweetened cream cheese. Low carbs, but lots of fat calories meeting an insulin spike. Is that how it works?

    Also, can caffeine cause an insulin spike? I have seen arguments on both sides of that one.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: There is most certainly an early spike in insulin (called the cephalic phase of insulin response) that occurs because of the sweet stimulation of the taste buds and possibly even from smelling the aroma of baked goods or seeing them in the store window. The research on caffeine is sort of equivocal, which is why we’ve always told our patients and readers to assess how it affects them and act accordingly.

    And yes, the closer you get to where you’re going, the slower the absolute amount of weight loss and the more possible it is, therefore, to sabotage efforts by a variety of means, including overuse of Splenda or ‘low carb, but high calorie’ treats.

  2. I completely agree. We only drink diet soda when we are out to eat (once a month?).
    I’d love to go with the bottle of wine, but our desire in the morning is for coffee. It would probably be quite comical if we were to drink wine in the morning. I can see it now, bringing the kids to the bus stop after a fine gulp of excellent Cabernet… oh the neighbors would be so interested! Then a nice nap. Maybe we should stick to the dinner hour for wine. 😉

    Coffee in the morning is SUCH a must-have. Unfortunately, our taste buds require Splenda sweetened coffee and Half-&-Half.

    Another unfortunate is that one cup leads to another, which leads to another… until the pot is gone! I don’t pay much attention to the coffee itself, but the amount of Splenda required to sweeten the coffee bothers me to no end. I wish we could drink it black, but we can’t.

    Even more unfortunate is that hubby and I have alloted that certain amount of Splenda (required each day for our pot of coffee) as a majority of our carb allotment.
    In other words, if we cant fit spinach into our diet because it competes with our Splenda requirement, then the spinach has to go. The Coffee is more important than anything!

    I know this is bad. But alas, we love our sweet light coffee. Sigh.

    PS- As an aside, we go through 2 gallons of Half & Half a week to enhance our coffee. I don’t know how many calories or fat that is, but it’s a lot. No weight gain at all. Ever!

    Love your blog!

  3. Excellent post, as always – I certainly lose weight faster if I avoid diet drinks.

    But the real reason I am commenting is to respond to Karen. I have been drinking my coffee, very light, unsweetened, for years. Maybe you could try gradually reducing the amount of Splenda you use, a half packet at a time? Also, if you switch to heavy cream instead of half and half, you will have more carbs to spend on something else.

    I don’t know why, but lately I haven’t even wanted coffee. Go figure.

  4. Hi MaryDan! Now the wine issue I like – but isn’t there a significant amount of carbs in wine?

    Hey, Fred–There’s about 1 to 1 1/2 grams per ounce in dry wine, red or white, so about 5 or 6 grams in a standard pour. Not too bad–if you stick to just a glass or two–for all the pleasure it brings! MDE

  5. This comment is for Karen in the previous comment.

    We switched to liquid Splenda several years ago. It’s truly zero carb, so you can have your sweet coffee and spinach, too. We get it from We also use a product called FiberFit, from Nutragenics. We get ours from Neither is cheap, but they last a long time.

    Also, if you like flavored coffee, try the DaVinci or other brands of Splenda-sweetened syrups, all of which should be zero carb. DaVinci has a simple syrup that is not flavored, too.

    These products save you a lot of carbs. I quit using bulk or packets of Splenda long ago, just use the packets for travel.

  6. The only time I drink diet soda these days is when I’m driving and need a caffine fix and my bladder can’t take another cup of coffee.

    Most of the time we drink tea or tap water or coffee in the morning, but I buy a 12-pack of Canada Dry lemon-lime carbonated water about once every 10-14 days.

    Sometimes nothing cuts the thirst quite like fizzy water. It’s easier to keep my husband in compliance when he is still able to drink something fizzy and he drinks most of them.

  7. So, will one 8oz. or 12oz. diet soda per day hurt you or not? I would hate to screw up my weight loss for a lousy diet soda – but, I do so enjoy it with my lunch. I was sipping a diet drink and eating my lunch while reading this and now I’m freaked out!

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Certainly a smidgen of anything won’t hurt your diet, including aspartame, but if you can find a diet soda you like without the aspartame so much the better. There are a number of them now sweetened with Splenda (which to our mind, while not perfect, is safer than aspartame, based on all the science we’ve seen.)

  8. I saw a particular drink Drs Eades showed on TV last week..and must have the recipe:

    it had 1 cup or more of coffee and there were 3 eggs beaten and warmed on the stove, I can’t remember the rest of the ingredients..but would love to have the whole recipe..
    Can someone help me?

    Thank you

    COMMENT from MD EADES: I can’t recall the recipe off the top of my head, though it sounds like a custard or ice cream or a protein shake. Go to the show’s website: and search the episodes and maybe you’ll find it. I’ll try to go back and do so myself and see if I can remember which one it was.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *