Dietitians Say You Should Stop Drinking This Fizzy Beverage ASAP If You Care About Your Gut Health

Sometimes there’s nothing like a refreshing beverage to add a little joy to your day. And whether you prefer iced coffee, a cold-pressed juice, or even just a tall glass of water, there are practically endless options. Unfortunately, though, not all of them are healthy—especially when it comes to your digestive health. While there are many beverages that can support a healthy gut, there are also a few options that experts agree you should avoid if you frequently struggle with gas and bloating. As it turns out, one of the biggest culprits is diet soda.

To learn more about how diet soda can lead to and worsen digestive issues, we spoke to health experts Paula Doebrich, RDN, and dietitian Marie Murphy, CEO of MEM Nutrition and Wellness. They told us that the artificial sweeteners and carbonation in this popular beverage make it a bad choice for anyone who wants to keep their gut as healthy as possible. Learn more below.


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Diet soda

You may be inclined to think that diet soda is a healthier option that its sugary counterpart. After all, sugar is one major culprit of inflammation, digestive issues, and weight gain, so removing it from the picture should make for a better-for-you beverage, right? Unfortunately, experts warn that's not necessarily the case, especially when it comes to your gut health.

Doebrich tells us that "one suspected outcome of drinking excessive amounts of diet soda are changes in the gut microbiome, which have negative health outcomes." This is largely due to the fact that artificial sweeteners may be just as detrimental to your digestive health as plain old sugar—especially if you're sensitive to them. "For some people, who are sensitive to the sweeteners used, [diet soda] may cause gastrointestinal discomfort," Doebrich warns.

Murphy makes a similar point, noting that artificial sweeteners are "gut disruptors, which decrease the good bacteria in our guts and increase the bad ones." And an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut can lead to a range of digestive issues, including gas and bloating.

Then there's the issue of the carbonation in diet soda, which only makes matter worse on the bloating front. However, this is true for any fizzy beverage. "Keep in mind that drinking a lot of carbonated beverages may also cause gastrointestinal discomfort, independent of the sweeteners,” Doebrich says. Murphy concurs, telling us that "carbonated beverages contribute to bloating by trapping gas in the intestines."

All in all, you're better off avoiding any type of soda—diet or otherwise—if you struggle with chronic digestive issues. The combination of artificial sweeteners (or sugar) and carbonation is a nearly sure-fire recipe for gas and bloating. Luckily, there are plenty of gut-healthy beverages that you can try instead, from ginger tea to probiotic-rich kombucha. Making these healthy swaps is just one great way to keep your digestive system happy and healthy.