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The Hornet's Buzz

The multimedia news site of The Hornet's Buzz

The Hornet's Buzz

The multimedia news site of The Hornet's Buzz

The Hornet's Buzz

Diet vs. regular soda: Which do you choose?

Most people prefer regular soda, although some consider diet soda to be healthier. But is it really?

Soft drinks are the beverage of choice for many Northtown students. Some drink them morning, noon, night, and in between.  They’re tasty, available everywhere, and inexpensive. They’re also a prime source of extra calories that can contribute to weight gain. Once thought of as innocent refreshments, soft drinks are under scrutiny in recent years for their contributions to poor health.

But are diet soft drinks, made with artificial sweeteners, really good alternatives to regular soft drinks?
According to figures from the beverage industry, soft drink makers produce enough soda for every American to drink a 12-ounce  serving each day, 365 days a year. That’s a massive 10.4 billion gallons every year.
Once upon a time, humans got most of their calories from what nature put into food. However, that is often not the case anymore.

To date, the FDA has approved the use of five different artificial sweeteners which can be found in diet soft drinks. These artificial sweeteners range from being 180 times sweeter than sugar to being up to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar.

One concern about artificial sweeteners is that they break the relation between sweetness and energy. The dissociation between sweet taste and calorie intake may put the regulatory system, which controls hunger and body weight, out of sync. This can sabotage any weight loss goals.

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A study by Purdue University showed that laboratory rats, when fed the artificial sweetener saccharin, actually took in more calories and gained more weight than the rats fed normal sugar-sweetened foods.

When drinking diet soda, one may be desensitizing one’s sense of taste. Artificial sweeteners are hundreds of times sweeter than regular table sugar. By getting used to so much sugar, the normal sweet flavors of fruits and other healthy foods become bland, thus reducing our willingness to consume them. This can lead to an unhealthy diet.

Although the scientific findings are not conclusive, there is worrisome evidence that regular use of artificial sweeteners may promote weight gain. Because of these mixed findings about artificial sweeteners, drinking diet soda may not be the best substitute for soda containing sugar.

Coach Michelle Strack believes that cutting out  soft drinks altogether is the best way to go.

“Avoiding soft drinks is a good way to get rid of excess sugar,” she said. “Besides, water is way better for you.”

Strack rarely drinks soda, only about once per month. When she does drink soda, she usually doesn’t opt for the diet option but rather sodas with real sugar.

“It’s more of a treat for me,” Strack said.

If you’re wanting a more healthy lifestyle, soft drinks — diet or regular — should probably not have a place in your diet.

“I like regular soda, but I don’t drink a lot of it. Maybe two a week,” said sophomore Kennede Reed.

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