Following the ketogenic diet means you have to restrict your carbohydrate intake pretty drastically to help with weight loss, so most drinks with added sugar and calories like Coca-Cola and fruit juice are off-limits.
But Diet Coke lovers, rejoice! You don’t have to give up your guilty pleasure because diet sodas are allowed on the keto diet. The reason: It contains zero calories — including calories from sugar — so it contains zero carbs, and it won’t throw you out of ketosis, or the process where your body turns to burn fat instead of carbs for fuel.
Drinking Diet Soda on the Keto Diet
Diet sodas are generally low in carbs and calories so that they won’t throw you out of ketosis.
The most common artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas include:
- Acesulfame potassium
Aspartame — brand names Nutrasweet and Equal — is what you’ll find on the labels of most diet sodas because it provides a super sweet taste with only a gram of carbohydrates per one gram serving. One 12-ounce diet soda has about 180 mg of aspartame.
It doesn’t affect blood sugar levels, so you likely won’t have to worry about it kicking you out of ketosis.
Sucralose and stevia are other common artificial sweeteners in diet soda that are technically allowed on keto because they contain about the same amount of net carbohydrates as aspartame. Still, research suggests sucralose may indirectly cause weight gain by increasing cravings.
If you’re craving sweets after drinking diet soda, it’s best to cut it out altogether.
Why You Need to Stay Hydrated on the Keto Diet
Dehydration is a common side effect of the keto diet, particularly in the beginning.
When your body is adapting to using fat for energy, water weight can decrease, leading to dehydration and an increased risk of kidney stones. To avoid this, ensure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. You can also add electrolytes to your water or take supplements if you feel significantly dehydrated.
First, when your body enters ketosis, it produces more urine. One of the by-products of fat burning is ketones, which can be excreted through urine. To avoid dehydration, make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.
Second, when you cut carbs out of your diet, you also lose out on glycogen. Glycogen is stored in your muscles and liver and mainly consists of carbs. When you work out, your body taps into glycogen for energy. So when you’re following a keto diet and working out, you may not have the same energy levels as you usually would. Again, this is where staying properly hydrated comes in – it can help offset some of the fatigue you may feel.
So how much water should you be drinking on a keto diet? There isn’t a hard and fast rule but aim for at least 64 ounces per day or eight glasses. And if you find yourself feeling fatigued or lightheaded during workouts, make sure to drink even more water than usual.
Does Diet Soda Dehydrate You?
While a common argument against drinking diet soda with artificial sweeteners is that it’s dehydrating, the effects are often blown out of proportion. Caffeinated drinks are mild diuretics, meaning they cause you to go to the bathroom more; they’re not a primary cause of dehydration.
Alternatives to Diet Soda on the Keto Diet
While diet soda might not affect the keto diet and isn’t dehydrating, it’s a good idea to keep your sips of Diet Coke during the day to a minimum. Instead, swap the cans with drinks that are shown to help keep your body hydrated and energy up.
Good ol’ H20 should be at the top of your daily drink list.
Water is always the best choice when it comes to staying hydrated on a keto diet. It is calorie-free and can also help fill you up, so you eat less. It’s also essential for many of your body’s functions, including regulating temperature, transporting nutrients, and helping organs flush out waste.
Bone broth is a great source of protein and nutrients, and it’s also low in carbs and calories, making it a perfect drink for people on the keto diet. Bone broth can help improve digestive and joint health and boost immunity.
Coconut water is a refreshing and hydrating beverage that’s also low in calories and carbs. It’s a great source of electrolytes essential for people on the keto diet. Coconut water can help you stay hydrated and replenish your electrolytes after a workout.
Have a difficult time limiting your soda? Sparkling water may help.
Sparkling water is a great way to stay hydrated and add variety to your water intake. It’s also low in calories and carbs, making it a good choice for people on the keto diet. Sparkling water can help you reach your daily water goals and may even help with weight loss.
The Bottom Line: Can You Drink Diet Soda on Keto?
Overall, drinking diet soda on a ketogenic diet is perfectly fine; don’t make a Diet Pepsi the only thing you reach for to quench your thirst. Instead, make water your drink of choice to keep your body hydrated.