The discussion of whether artificial sweeteners cause insulin secretion was thrown around the old website forum. I am the only person I know who claims to get very drowsy after trying diet pop or Splenda in my tea. Drowsy in that "I just ate an entire angelfood cake" insulin-coma way. As I thought it might be just my imagination, I read up on the topic, and the answer to your question is NO, you should not consume a "diet" drink. It has the same effect of drinking a regular soft drink. Worse, actually.
Insulin is stimulated the moment your tongue tastes the sweetener. Stomach acids too. The entire digestive and endocrine systems are poised and ready to digest, absorb, and store carbohydrates. Imagine their disappointment when no carbs arrive.
In other words, your body suffers as if you had drunk regular Coke after all.
David Wells (not the Yankees pitcher) says it better:
[quote:a4dc7d45fa]Artificial sweeteners are worse than sugar. Your body still produces insulin in response to the sweet taste, but there is no sugar to drive into the cells. In addition to feeling the effects of low blood sugar (weakness, fatigue, dizziness, irritability), fat is conserved and obesity remains.[/quote:a4dc7d45fa]
...But then again, he's just a chiropractor. Here's the link to the entire article if you're interested: [url]http://www.drwells.net/nutrition/to...;/url]
If a PhD is a better source, then here's a citation from a low-carb article by Tanya Zilberter:
[quote:a4dc7d45fa]Sweet taste, even coming with artificial sweetener, raises glucose concentration in the blood before the food has a chance to be digested. Why? Because your body knows that eventually, it will have all the carbs you've swallowed and it doesn't wait until it that happens. When the sweet food is real, the carbohydrates eventually get into the blood... Nature never counted on us inventing artificial sweeteners. Being fooled, your body reacts rather vindictively: it forces you to want more sweet food plus eat more next time, no matter what food you agree to have. [/quote:a4dc7d45fa]
The phenomenon has come to be called the "cephalic phase of insulin release", and was first published in 1974 by Drs. Fischer, Hommel, Fiedler, and Bibergeil in their clinical article "Reflex mechanism on insulin secretion". (There's no English text online or I'd link to it; but believe me, you wouldn't get through it.)
Indeed, it's not only tasting sweetness, but merely smelling, and maybe even just looking at food that begins the insulin secretion. These veterinarians took Pavlov's experiment a step further, proving that dogs conditioned to feeding don't just salivate at the sound of the bell, but also begin a pancreatic response:
[quote:a4dc7d45fa]Analysis of...insulin secretion during carbohydrate ingestion has shown that insulin secretion can start even before glucose is actually absorbed. This so-called early insulin response (EIR) is initiated through stimulation of sensory receptors in the oropharyngeal region as well as through visual and olfactory stimulation. [/quote:a4dc7d45fa]
(Again, the entire piece: [url]http://ajpendo.physiology.org/cgi/c.../url])
So, no, I don't drink diet soft drinks. I don't use artificial sweetener. Heck, I can't even step inside the bakery for a sniff.