By Joshua Corn
Guest writer for Wake Up World
We are surrounded by junk foods and beverages. They’re everywhere – in our grocery stores, in our restaurants and even in our schools. While I have a strong distaste for such artificial, highly processed goods, at least many of them are typically recognized for what they are. Most people know that Twinkies, Slim Jims and Mountain Dew are not healthy choices. What makes me really angry is when something that is bad for you is marketed as good for you. Why? Because it’s a scam, it’s unfair and it often has negative effects on the people who are most vulnerable – namely children.
Diet Drinks: Marketed as Safe, but Far From It
At the top of my list are diet drinks that contain artificial sweeteners. Decades from now, this will be one of those “what in the world were we thinking” topics. But today, we have to contend with the fact that the vast majority of the public considers diet drinks “good for you.”
Whose fault is this? Well let’s start with the global corporations that market these toxic concoctions as “healthy” alternatives to sugary drinks that can actually promote weight loss. I can’t help but draw comparisons to the big tobacco companies that marketed their “light” cigarettes as healthier alternatives.
Next, we can blame our leaders and policymakers for being duped into thinking that promoting diet drinks is a good strategy to getting people to drink less sugary soda. Given the multiple scientific studies that prove that diet drinks (and soda in general) have numerous negative health consequences, this strategy is seriously flawed. An example of such policy is New York’s ban on large-sized sugary drinks that excludes diet drinks.
Lastly, we have ourselves to blame. There is always a level of individual responsibility with any social issue. We allow these drinks to be sold and, in my opinion, are not nearly vocal enough in terms of educating people about their dangers.
Sadly, Consumption of Diet Drinks Is Increasing
What inspired me to write this article was a study I read about in USA Today, which showed that the consumption of diet drinks has been steadily rising over the past decade. The worst part about this study is that almost 20% of girls aged 12 to 19 consume a diet drink on any given day. On many occasions, I’ve cringed to see kids under the age of 10 drinking diet sodas – their parents naà¯vely thinking they are making a smart choice for their children.
Let’s Talk About Some of the Dangers
The dangers of diet drinks are numerous and well documented. I’ve provided links to 3rd party sources below to avoid creating the perception that this is simply our opinion.
- Some studies show that diet drinks can actually make you 70% fatter.
- The artificial coloring used in diet drinks is a carcinogenic.
- Aspartame and Neotame (Equal and NutraSweet) are also known carcinogens, even in low levels.
- Sucralose (Splenda), alters the microflora in the intestine and “exerts numerous adverse effects, according to a Duke University study.
- Diet sodas in general are linked to a 61% increase in strokes and heart attacks.
What To Do If You Really Like Soda
If you currently drink diet sodas, I hope you consider stopping. In my 20s, I used to drink a lot of diet drinks thinking they were harmless. But then I uncovered the truth, and once you know the facts, it’s easy to quit. I do, however, enjoy drinking carbonated beverages. Here’s my advice for you if you do too
1. Avoid diet drinks like the plague!
2. If you must drink soda, one sweetened with corn syrup is probably better than an artificially sweetened drink, but remember this is just the lesser of two evils – neither is good for you.
3. More and more sodas are sweetened with cane sugar, which is a better choice than high fructose corn syrup. Still, please remember that any drink containing sugar provides “empty calories” and should be avoided.
4. If it’s just the carbonation you like, try good ol’ fashioned sparkling water. Just be careful because a lot of sparkling water (especially club soda) is made from unfiltered municipal water, so keep an eye on the water source. If it has lemon, lime or other fruit juice added, try to pick a drink that uses natural instead of artificial flavoring. Note: Some experts say that excessive consumption of carbonated beverages – even water – may leach minerals from your bones, so don’t overdo it.
5. My favorite solution is using a SodaStream machine to add carbonation to high quality filtered or spring water or organic juice. I bought mine on Amazon.com, but they are widely available online and in stores. My kids (and I) love it because we can make all types of drinks that are refreshing and healthy. My only tip would be to upgrade to the glass bottles so you can avoid using plastic!
One parting comment – please spread the word about the dangers of diet drinks. I think if more people knew about the mounting evidence showing the numerous health consequences of diet drinks, very few people would consume them. The best way to mitigate the negative effects of a bad product on the market is to speak with our wallets and simply not buy it!
Previous Articles by Josh
About the Author
Joshua Corn is the Editor-in-Chief of the natural health and wellness site, Live in the Now. Josh is a health freedom advocate and veteran of the natural health industry. He has been actively involved in the natural health movement for over 15 years, and has been dedicated to the promotion of health, vitality, longevity and natural living throughout his career. Josh has successfully overcome several personal health challenges through natural means, and believes that sharing information can empower people to take control of their health so they can solve their own problems and live life to its fullest potential. Josh is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Live in the Now. Additionally he serves as CEO of SAN, a company that has been formulating premium dietary supplements since 1995. Josh is currently working on his first book about natural health, and gearing up to launch the Live in the Now radio show. In addition to his work in the natural health field, Josh is an avid outdoorsman, yoga practitioner, animal lover and father of two sons who remind him every day to “live in the now”.
This article was republished with permission from Live in the Now, one of the fastest growing natural health newsletters. Visit LiveInTheNow.com to browse their complete library of articles, or join the nearly 60,000 readers subscribed to their Newsletter.