Diet Soda in the Firehouse

Drink Diet Soda?

There’s been a lot of discussion around the firehouse lately about the “dangers” of drinking soda and diet soda. The topic was started after I revealed my personal “diet soda” experiment.  Three years ago I wanted to know if diet soda was bad for you or just getting a bad rap.  My experiment was to drink one 16 ounce diet soda everyday for one month and report my weight, energy level and overall health throughout the month.  The results….by the middle of the month I had gained 5 pounds and was drinking over 32 ounces of diet soda a day.  My energy was awfully low, I craved and ate sugar all the time and had some bad mood swings.  Needless to say after that little experiment I decided to avoid diet sodas as much as possible. 
It’s not surprising that drinking all the sugar in sodas would cause weight gain, but what is surprising is that even diet soda will pack on the pounds.  In fact, researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center monitored 475 adults for 10 years, and found that those who drank diet soda had a 70 percent increase in waist circumference over the 10-year study, compared with those who didn’t drink any soda. It also found that those who drank more than two diet sodas per day saw a 500 percent waist expansion!  
Why does Diet Soda lead to fat gain
The main reason diet sodas are leading to weight gain–the artificial sweeteners.  These sweeteners have been linked to an increase in sugary food cravings.  These cravings lead you to seek out higher calorie, sweet, unhealthy snacks to fill the sugary void.   In my personal experiment I felt like I couldn’t eat enough to stay satisfied, I even had late night cravings that led to midnight trips to the store for sugary foods (not kidding). 

What Should You Drink Instead?
The best advice is to avoid diet (and regular) sodas and switch to drinking water, green tea, or black coffee.  This will prevent exposure to artificial sweeteners which may alter your body’s ability to recognize high-calorie, sweetened foods, which could lead to weight gain.  By switching to water or other beverages, you will be keeping yourself hydrated (which is very important to the fire rescue athlete) and potentially boost your metabolism to burn more fat.
This is just one of the many reasons why diet soda is bad for you. 

 I challenge you to stop drinking it and feel the difference for yourself.

Stay Safe and Healthy,
       Aaron Zamzow


  1. Mark Olson on November 12, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    I think an observation you’re missing from your experiment is your blood glucose levels pre and post diet soda. You would expect that there would be no change, but studies show over and over again that aspartame and sucralose both increase blood glucose levels which can encourage your body to store excess energy as fat. I am a big proponent of stevia for this reason as it has shown little to no effect on blood glucose levels.!po=0.769231

    • Zamzowfitness on November 13, 2018 at 3:49 am

      Hey Mark, I agree 100%. Great stuff. I like to use stevia also and find I do not have those cravings then. Great input!

      • James Newman on March 5, 2019 at 1:31 am

        2 months ago we began a fat loss challenge in my department. The biggest change I have made is cutting sugar from my coffee and replaced with stevia. Along with cutting other added sugars and watching portion sizes, I have lost 20 pounds and a little over an inch around my waist. And I haven’t really begun any regular exercise. When I do, I can’t wait to see what happens.

        • Zamzowfitness on March 5, 2019 at 1:34 am

          Nice work brother. its these small things tha make a great difference. Let me know if you need a workout, we have a great option for you.

          Send me any questions, I can get you a discount code too.
          I am here to help. Keep making progress.

          • James Newman on March 13, 2019 at 2:28 am

            I just ordered the fat loss program. Looking forward to starting it. Thanks for putting this out there.

  2. James Newman on March 11, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Thank you so much. Yes, I am very interested in your program. I feel that the main reason I haven’t started exercising, working out, is I just don’t have a structured plan. As a district (battalion) chief at my department, I have to run around all over, and by the time I complete my rounds and other duties, the guys at the station where I stay have already done their workout for the day. Also, I am only 2 1/2 years from retirement, and I really want to improve my health and well being so that I might have a nice, long, drawn out retirement.

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