Very often, we’re told about the high calories of soft drinks. Do you know that before the Government forces drink manufacturer to “siew dai” their drinks, a can of 320ml Coke contains 134 calories?
For comparison’s sake, a bowl of 100g rice is only at 111 calories, so if you have a can of Coke with your meal, you’re essentially just having an extra bowl of rice.
But nowadays, we’ve been seeing zero-calorie drinks. Coke has it, Pepsi has it and even 7-Up has it. In fact, almost all soft drinks have a zero-calorie counterpart—it’s just that in Singapore, some of them might not have been brought in.
Do you know that even A&W Root Beer has a zero-calorie version?
The taste is very subjective: some say they taste the same while others disagree wholeheartedly. But the truth remains: they contain absolutely no calorie at all.
So, does that mean that we can now drink ten cans of them daily?
If you’ve got some time to spare, you might want to watch this video we’ve done, whereby we explain everything with unfunny jokes (and please subscribe to our YouTube channel for more informative videos, please!):
Prefer to read instead? Well, here goes.
Basics About Soft Drinks
Before that, you need to know something: why are soft drinks so sweet?
If you say, “Sugar,” you’re only half right.
It’s like you asking a person what he has for lunch, and he says, “Food”
The specific answer is sucrose, which is made up of simple sugar fructose. Fructose is also known as fruit sugar, and it’s very, very sweet. Rumours have it that it’s even sweeter than your first boyfriend.
Here’s the thing: while it has lots of calories, it doesn’t make you feel full, which is why you might just drink 10 cans of soft drinks in one seating of a Netflix drama.
If you feel full from drinking a can of soft drink, it’s due to the water you’ve drunk, and you’ll therefore feel hungry again.
This is actually one of the key reasons why soft drinks cause weight gain.
So, if the sugar is unhealthy, then it should be healthy if we’ve a zero-calorie soft drink, right? Since it’s “sugar-free”?
On paper, yes. In reality not so much.
The Truth on Whether Zero-Calorie Drink Would Lead to Weight Loss Or Not
Zero-calorie drinks might sound like a godsend because it tastes “almost” the same but doesn’t contain the dreaded fructose.
In fact, do you that know these drinks were introduced back in the 50s for people with diabetes?
So it should be goody, right?
Well, what if I tell you that you might gain weight instead?
Before that, you need to know why it tastes the same even without sugar.
Instead of sugar, the drink is sweetened with artificial sweetener, and technically speaking, yes, they have zero calorie.
There have been talks of whether they’d post any other dangers, like a higher risk of cancer, but those have been debunked and currently, they’re “safe”.
And of course they are, if not they’d not be sold publicly. We all know how kiasi Singapore is.
So, why do I say that you might gain weight instead of lose weight when you drink zero-calorie drink? It’s safe, it contains no calorie and you look like Donald Trump when you drink it.
To simplify the point let’s just an example.
A guy called Steven Lim just bought a zero-calorie drink while another guy called Eric Tan bought a normal soft drink.
Now, it appears that Steven Lim might lose weight because he saved over 100 calories from the drinks, right?
When Steven Lim is dabao-ing his cai png, he might order 4 dishes instead of 2, and even ask for more rice, simply because he’s just bought a zero-calorie drink and therefore thinks he can eat more.
Whereas for Eric Tan, he continues to order 2 dishes with less rice because he knows he’s taking in more calories with his usual soft drink.
You see, surprisingly, while on paper it looks like a zero-calorie drink can help you lose weight, it doesn’t work that way in real life.
Some studies show that drinking too much of these zero-calorie drinks leads to obesity because people might eat more with the switch. In fact, some scientists suggest that zero-calorie drinks may increase appetite by stimulating hunger hormones, altering sweet taste receptors, and triggering dopamine responses in the brain.
Simply put, it’s all in the brain.
But then again, there are other studies that show people do lose weight if they drink zero-calorie drinks.
So, what gives?
There’s no concrete answer, so it really depends on you.
If you maintain your diet when you switch to zero-calorie drinks, you’ll lose weight. If you get “greedy” after the switch, you’ll gain weight.
So What’s the Conclusion?
Whether zero-calorie drinks can help you lose that spare tyre on your waist isn’t clear yet, but there’s been a few studies that show drinking them regularly is linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease.
And yes, this could possibly be one of the reasons why some people claim zero-calorie drinks aren’t healthy.
Just like whether zero-calorie drinks would lead to weight loss or not, this requires more studies to confirm as well.
One of the reasons why those studies might not be accurate is that we’re talking about just one drink, and the subject would’ve consumed many other things that contributed to those conditions, or have pre-existing conditions.
So, should you drink them after all?
Just think of them as normal drinks, and you’d lose weight.