All hail New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg whose efforts in proposing a ban on the sales of large sodas and other sugar-based drinks fell short, but undoubtedly started what might be the biggest awareness campaign of the century.
Bloomberg not only opened the eyes of capitol hill to the dangers of soda, but sparked the debate over the “real benefits” of soda’s healthy counterparts.
Between” diet”,” zero”, “sugar free” and a ton more pop culture terms branded on sugary drinks these days, consumers are left to scratch their head and believe what is being spoon fed to them via television and cleverly created marketing campaigns. Essentially consumers are putting their trust in corporate America to have their best interests at heart. That’s like trusting your teenage daughter with her new Marilyn Manson boyfriend and his windowless van.
So let’s look at some of the more popular non-diet beverage choices out there and compare their actual calorie and sugar count:
So those of you who are still drinking large amounts of NON-diet sodas run the risk of your doctor telling you, “Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of diabetes, tooth decay and even bone decay!”
And what about those diet sodas? Just mentioning the word “diet” gives people the feeling of health and safety, but many health experts say that diet sodas can actually be more fattening than non-diet versions. Yes that’s right folks diet soda can be MORE FATTENING than regular soda!
A recent study conducted by the University of Texas revealed that diet soda drinkers experienced a 70 percent increase in waist size compared with non-diet-soda-drinkers.
The main culprit of weight gain among diet soda drinkers is an ingredient called aspartame, which is an artificial sweetener used in most diet sodas. Experts say continued consumption of aspartame will lead to increased blood glucose levels over time, which could eventually cause diabetes.
So consumers, being the smart people that they are, have been turned to drink zero calorie drinks instead. Many believe sodas like Coke Zero and Pepsi Max are a healthier product to buy, but experts say they’re really not.
Many of the zero calorie beverages not only contain the aspartame ingredient, but also have an additive called Acesulfame Potassium, which is another tricky artificial sweetener that, like aspartame, could create serious health risks.
Research scientists have found that Acesulfame Potassium increased the risk of cancer as well as insulin production levels in test animals. Yikes!
Experts say Acesulfame Potassium is less risky than aspartame, but more research still needs to be done on both additives. The problem with zero calorie sodas, experts say, is they typically contain both artificial sweeteners, and each comes with its own potential health risk, not to mention possible weight gain.
Besides water, here are some of the healthier drinks that experts say should be replacing your soda or sugary beverage intake:
Helps reduce risk of osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease and cavities. It also holds a natural antioxidant that can protect cells from receiving cancer-causing substances. Green tea can also lower the risk of heart disease, blood clots, and strokes.
Prevents gum disease, urinary tract infection, and eliminates bacteria from the teeth and gums while eating. But doctors say to be mindful of your intake, as certain juices contain high levels of sugar. “Make sure the label says 100 percent juice, not ‘juice drink’ or ‘cocktail,’” says Heidi Reichenberger, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
Protects against certain cancer types. Processed tomato products have the richest source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been known to lower the risk of lung and stomach cancer, say experts. Tomato juice has also been known to reduce the chances of getting pancreatic, colorectal, esophageal, oral, breast and cervical cancers.
Many already drink the popular breakfast beverage for its taste, but orange juice also has some wonderful health benefits. It’s a high source of vitamin C, and has antioxidants that can thwart off diseases like, cataracts, and certain types of cancers. It’s also known to boost the immune system. However, it’s even better to eat an orange, as you get more fiber that way.
So remember boys and girls… Soda bad! Water good.