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Diet Drinks Are Making Women Fat

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Artificially Sweetened Drinks Marketed for Losing Weight

Ever since saccharine was invented in 1879 by Remsen and Falberg, scientists at major food companies have been searching for the perfect artificial sweetener. In this discussion we will talk about the origins of diet drinks, the artificial sweeteners used to replace sugar content and reasons why many of those sweeteners may cause women and the obese to gain weight by drinking diet drinks!

Diet Drink Origins

Vernors Ginger Ale is considered to have been the first soda, created in 1767. Dr. Pepper was the first carbonated soda widely sold after being invented in 1885 at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas. Coca Cola was created a year later, and quickly became a huge hit, first in the United States. In 1919 Coca Cola expanded bottling operations to Europe and soon the world craved sugary carbonated beverages.

The average United States teenager drinks twice as many sodas as milk, even though teens desperately need calcium for bone growth. The average American of any age consumes 100 pounds of sugar a year, primarily from sodas and other sugary drinks (sweetened coffee, sports drinks, fruit drinks, etc.)

Diet sodas were developed as an alternative to those sugary colas and sodas. No-Cal Ginger Ale was invented by Hyman Kirsch in New York in 1952. While he was aiming at finding a diet soda to offer to diabetics and people with cardiovascular problems, the market quickly moved towards dieters looking to avoid adding extra calories and weight.

Coca Cola realized they needed to get into the diet drink game and created Tab as their first major no calorie soda and quickly marketed it to the dieter market. Once Diet Pepsi came onto the market, Coke knew they needed a new product, so they created Diet Coke in 1982, which remains the diet soda leader.

woman drinking

All About Artificial Sweeteners 

Saccharine Saccharine was the first major artificial sweetener widely used. Saccharine, aka Sweet and Low, is found in those pink packets which are frequently used as a coffee sweetener. A sulfonamide compound, saccharine has been found to cause severe allergic reactions in people who cannot tolerate sulfa drugs. 

For this reason, saccharine has lost popularity as a go-to sweetener. It also has been shown that while in the short-term saccharine may reduce calories, but people who consume it over an extended period have higher rates of obesity and diabetes than the general population. 


James M. Slatter discovered aspartame by accident in 1965 when he licked his finger while he was creating an intermediary compound towards a drug to prevent and treat ulcers. He noticed his finger was sweet and aspartame was born. Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar. You may know it by the trade names as it has been sold under the trade names NutraSweet, Equal, and Sugar Twin. 

Real world examples of aspartame use in drinks include Diet Coke, Fanta Zero and Fresca. Aspartame was banned by the FDA in 1980 after three independent brain tumors. Aspartame regained its safety rating after a sixth member was added to the original five-member Scientific Commission. The new member then voted for its approval, deadlocking the Commission 3-3. The tie for approval was broken by Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes Jr. His vote and original decision to add the extra member has always been considered controversial, especially since he was later forced to resign office for accepting bribes. 

Aspartame has been linked to negative effects on the immune system, potentially leading to oxidative stress and inflammation. A 2017 study shows potential aspartame problems developing in the brain, heart, liver, and kidneys. 


Sucralose is made from sugar. Three oxygen-hydrogen groups are replaced with chlorine atoms. Sucralose was discovered at Queen Elizabeth College in London when another researcher accidentally tasted a product he made after mishearing instructions on the steps he should take to make something else. 

Sucralose is super sweet – 600 times sweeter than sugar! It is sold as Splenda and has a huge 62% share of the artificial sugar market. Sucralose has gained such a huge market share after been marketed as the “safe” artificial sweetener. Several major studies released over the past few years have cast serious doubt both on the healthiness of the product and its ability to help consumers reduce calories and weight. 

Studies have shown sucralose negatively affects the gut biome, killing off half the beneficial bacteria we need to process food for energy. This change increases inflammation and can lead to obesity and diabetes. 

Women and the Obese Eat More After Sucralose Consumption 

A very recent randomized crossover study by researchers at the University of Southern California published in the scientific journal JAMA Network Open has added additional reasons to avoid sucralose consumption. Participants were offered an ab libitum buffet meal (at the participants discretion of what and how much they eat) 125 minutes (about 2 hours) after sucralose consumption. 

Sucralose consumption was found to cause women of any weight to eat significantly more calories at the buffet table offered to study participants than people who had not consumed sucralose. Participants who were already obese of any gender also ate more food at the buffet. Normal and slightly overweight men did not consume extra calories after sucralose consumption. None of the participants were diabetic. 

The reason for clearly negative health outcomes both for sucralose consumers and for consumers of many other artificial sweeteners is resulting from the inflammation they cause, brain issues and many other issues. The reality is we all need to fight our sweet tooths and get back to healthier eating. 

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