People are driven to fast by differing health and spiritual reasons. Intermittent fasting, also known as scheduled fasting, is a form of fasting where food is eaten at certain intervals. The choice of drinks consumed during intermittent fasting is important, for some high-calorie drinks have the potential to break intermittent fasting.
Diet soda is allowed during an intermittent fast for it has zero or negligible calories. Most diet soda brands pack 0-10 calories per serving, which is inadequate to disrupt an intermittent fast. However, too much diet soda should be avoided because sometimes, the sweeteners in these sodas might stimulate the body to produce insulin even without sugars. This increased insulin production triggers fat storage, compromising the main goal of intermittent fasting: weight loss.
The rest of this article will explain how different amounts of diet coke servings affect the body. The discussion will include an analysis of the insulin-glucagon glucose metabolism loops and how they are impacted by the sweeteners in diet coke.
Amount of Diet Soda to Be Consumed While Intermittent Fasting
Dietitians opine that diet soda carries little harm when consumed in little or average amounts during intermittent fasting. The acceptable consumption, in this case, is a maximum of 17 cans of diet soda within a 24-hour intermittent fasting period. However, some people can consume more diet soda a day within a 24-hour fasting period with little impact.
The active ingredient in diet soda that has the potential to break an intermittent fast is artificial sweeteners. Sucralose and aspartame are commonly used to sweeten diet soda. Although these are consumed in minuscule amounts, they still carry the potential to trigger the body to produce insulin.
The chemicals in these sweeteners can trigger a chemical brain reaction similar to when sugar is consumed. The intermittent fast is broken when the body produces insulin in response to these sweeteners. The insulin drives the body to start storing glucose when the goal of fasting is to encourage the breakdown of this glucose and fats.
Related Reading: Can You Use Artificial Sweeteners on an Intermittent Fasting Diet?
Leigh Merotto, a Toronto-based registered dietitian, observes that these sweeteners risk heart disease, tooth decay, and type 2 diabetes. To avoid these risks, people should limit their consumption of diet soda to 17 12-ounce cans of diet soda every day. This consumption would contain an average of 3,400 milligrams of artificial sweeteners daily. The bottom line is to keep diet soda consumption within acceptable daily limits during intermittent fasting.
The Goals of Intermittent Fasting
The main goals of intermittent fasting are weight loss and promoting metabolic health. Stephanie Whatson from WebMD states that intermittent fasting is designed to burn fat and cleanse the body. The most common intermittent fasting schedule is 16:8, although each person can have their own schedule. In the 16:8 schedule, 16 hours of fasting and abstinence from calorie intake are followed by 8 hours of eating.
Related Reading: Which Meal Is Best to Skip During IF? Breakfast or Dinner?
However, people derive maximum benefits from intermittent fasting when they fast for at least 10 hours. The common three-meal-a-day course suffers from the main weakness of training the body to burn the sugars stored as glycogen instead of fats. Intermittent fasting helps you to turn away from this three-meal-a-day course and train your body to burn fats since there is limited stored glucose.
The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting helps regulate the insulin-glucagon loops that regulate blood sugars. People can, through intermittent fasting, regulate these loops to improve metabolic health and fat storage. When a person fasts for at least 8 hours, they give the body adequate time to burn through glycogen stores.
Glycogen is the form in which sugar is stored in the liver, smooth muscle cells, blood cells, kidney cells, brain cells, and even adipose cells. The body relies on the enzyme glucagon produced by the beta group of cells in the pancreas to break down glycogen. During fasting, the level of sugars in the blood reduces, which triggers the pancreas to release glycogen to break down glycogen into glucose that is used up by body cells.
The longer the fasting, the higher the amount of glycogen burned down until it is eventually depleted. After the glycogen reserves, the pancreas will release another enzyme known as lipase, also produced by the pancreas. The longer the fasting, the more stored fats the body will burn and utilize.
When a meal is taken after a period of fasting, it is digested in the intestines, and carbohydrates are converted into glucose which goes to the bloodstream. This causes blood sugar to rise, and the pancreas releases insulin to help move this excess glucose into cells. This excess glucose is stored in the liver, muscles, and fat cells.
The more calories that are absorbed into the body, the more the amount of insulin is produced. More insulin then translates to more glucose being stored in the body. Eating many times a day triggers the overactivation of the insulin-glucagon system, a risk factor for diabetes. Too much insulin can trigger insulin resistance.
Intermittent fasting creates time for this insulin-glucagon mechanism of metabolism to readjust. Lowering the amount of insulin creates time for pancreas cells involved in its production to revitalize, and this lowers the risk of diabetes.
You can drink diet soda during fasting if the consumption is within acceptable limits. Consuming too much diet soda increases the risk of the artificial sweetener used, triggering the production of insulin, which leads to the storage of fats. Storage of fats would be counterproductive since the main goal of intermittent fasting is burning fat.
Also, consuming too much diet soda carries heart disease, tooth decay, and diabetes risks. A maximum of 17 12-ounce cans of diet soda is recommended per day of intermittent fasting.