Current Page - Diabetes and Diet Soda

The Internet - Free, Bad Advice for Diabetics 

   Okay, here's what's wrong with the internet when it comes to health information. I found this while researching the subject of diet soda and its effect on diabetes. A woman posted a question on Yahoo answers; a newly diagnosed diabetic she wanted to know if she could switch from regular Coke to Coke Zero.

   Here are some of the answers she got -

   CeKaye L responded: NO. No dark soda even though they say diet, but no! Even though Coke Zero has not cal. its loaded with sugar.

   Yellabanana77 said: since zero coke acts like regular coke in the body , you may not want to drink it...so just drink soem(sic) fruit juice or try some water...

   ... and lsmith3332000 weighed in with this: I have several patients that drink coke zero and their blood sugars still are extremely high, try diet coke that will be ok..

   Iamjess also advised that: Splenda is the only artificial sweetener that has no effect on blood glusoce(sic) level. im not sure what coke zero has in it.


   First off, there were some good answers in amongst the shocking level of fail represented by the responses above. But, as an indication of just how free and easy people are with absolutely boneheaded and thoroughly ignorant advice, it's a good thing to keep in mind.

   Let's go through them: 

   I have no idea what CeKaye L is talking about and from the sound of it, neither does she. No dark diet soda? Really? Based on .... ?

   When people post this kind of thing and fail to give you a link or include any reference to where they got the information from, just let your eyes keep moving down the page. Better yet, look for answers somewhere else.

   "Even though it has not cal it is loaded with sugar."

   Well, no, it isn't. Coke Zero is sweetened with Asapartame and Acesulfame Potassium (Splenda.) It has no sugar and no carbs. This is what makes it Zero. If it were truly full of sugar, it would not be zero calories and could not be advertised as such.

   (Why is there a Coke Zero when there's already a Diet Coke? I wondered that, too, also why does Zero taste better, at least to me?

   The Coke people say that's because Diet Coke is based on the formula for New Coke and sweetened only with Aspartame. Zero is based on the original Coke recipe and the combination of the two artificial sweeteners help keep it closer in taste to the stuff I grew up with.)

   Moving on, Yellabanana77 advises to just drink some fruit juice, which is very bad advice for a type 2 diabetic, or for anyone trying to lose weight.

   Diabetics shouldn't drink fruit juices because they drive blood sugar levels through the roof, and the extra insulin produced to deal with that also makes you hungry.

   Fruit juices have the nutrients, antioxidants and fibre sucked out in the pulping process and often have other fruit concentrates - generally grape - added to sweeten them. Sugar is sugar - eat the fruit, avoid the juices, or mix them with sparkling water for flavour at a ratio of about 1 part to 3.

   Next - lsmith 3332000 claims, "I have several patients that drink coke zero and their blood sugars still are extremely high, try diet coke that will be ok."

   Where to begin ...? Firstly, -patients? So you're a doctor? Let's see the diploma. Or are you the kind of 'doctor' who has a thumbtacked sheet of pre-torn phone number slips on the bulletin board down at the health store? Whatever you are, I pity your patients and advise them to run, if they are still able, as fast as they can.

   The level of fail here is spectacular: she has several patients who drink Coke Zero and have high blood sugar. Did they perhaps have high blood sugar to begin with, and may even be drinking the product because they can't drink regular cola? No doubt they also wear shoes - but shoes are no more an indicator and cause of diabetes than Coke Zero is.

   She also says she doesn't know what sweetener is used in Coke Zero. Well, it isn't very difficult to find out and if you're not able to put that minimal effort into answering someone's question, you should get out of the medical advice business.

   And how switching to Diet Coke would solve the problem ... the mind reels. It's the same thing ...

   Lastly, iamjess - Hi Jess! - says, "Splenda is the only artificial sweetener that has no effect on blood glusoce level. I'm not sure what coke zero has in it."

   I don't know where Jess got this from but I can't find it, anywhere

   I did find the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation page which stated that "More than 100 scientific studies conducted over a 20-year period show sucralose (Splenda) is safe for use as a sweetening ingredient and has no effect on carbohydrate metabolism (blood sugar) or insulin secretion." I also found that the American Diabetes Association/Joslin Diabetes Center recommended four artificial sweeteners:

  • Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)
  • Acesulfame Potassium or Ace-K (Sweet One)
  • Saccharin
  • Sucralose (Splenda).
Diet Soda and Diabetes Mellitus.... The Shocking Truth.

   The ADA says: "Artificial sweeteners make food taste sweet but they have no calories and do not raise blood glucose levels. They do not count as a carbohydrate, a fat, and are very useful for people with diabetes. However, you should not depend entirely on foods made with artificial sweeteners."

   There you have it. -

   There is one thing that should be noted about artificial sweeteners: they are very, very sweet, - up to 100 times as sweet as sugar, -and you can easily get in the habit of using far too much in your coffee, tea, what-have-you.

   Being hooked on overly sweet things can cause problems with hunger and with diet, making it more likely you'll binge on things you shouldn't, so take it easy.

   If you're still concerned talk to your doctor. But remember that you have to have some enjoyment in life and if that means you have a diet soda at the picnic, or after you cut the lawn, big deal. Hell, have two. Just try to keep it under 350.