I find it appallingly funny to see new and alternative forms of indulgence coming in to replace ‘sinful’ foods every day. Instead of keeping a check over their food intake to maintain health, consumers are increasingly resorting to food substitutes. Honestly, I don’t have a problem with things that are healthy to consume but the high dependence on lower calorie alternatives seems a little unintelligent. Today, artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes are found in a range of food and beverages tagged as “sugar-free”, “diet” or “light”, including soft drinks, jellies, ice creams, baked foods, confectionery etc. Amidst the ever-rising popularity of low calorie substitutes comes a notorious ban on the sale of super-sized sodas and other sugary drinks. It restricts selling sodas in cups or containers larger than 16 ounces. Don’t panic yet. This ban in only limited to New York City at the moment; passed by NY’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg the logic being that “sugary drinks have led to rising obesity rates for New Yorkers”.
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It’s an effort to help curb obesity which has already made beverage makers furious and promoted widespread criticism in the people that the mayor is turning the city into a “nanny state”, a Wall Street Journal article said. I am not really sure how much of obesity will this new ban succeed in curbing in America but it definitely has left me wondering about one thing:
The ban leaves out diet soda.
For what reason? Because diet soda is low calorie and does not contribute to obesity, or so they think.
However, according to the innumerable researches done on diet soda since its inception, it is just as likely to increase the risk of obesity, among other problems. Research has disclosed that artificial sweeteners in diet soda interfere with blood sugar control, thus increasing cravings for sweet snacks. Not just this, it is a proved fact that people frequently over-consume foods tagged as low fat or diet. It is very likely that this ban will increase the market for diet soda.
Below, I am going to cite certain findings from various researches conducted which seem pretty logical to me –
Drinking diet soda can also lead to weight gain – A study followed about 5000 adults over 10 years and found a dose-response relationship. It suggested the more diet soda one drinks, the more weight one gains over time.
Drinking diet soda increases risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes in kids and teens – This study followed kids over 5 years and also studied their past and present diet soda consumption. It found that drinking diet soda everyday was associated with a 36% greater relative risk of metabolic syndrome and 67% greater relative risk of type 2 diabetes.
Drinking diet soda is associated with increased risk of stroke – A 28 year study indicated that both diet and regular soda were associated with increase in risk of stroke.
The following video proves how diet soda can cause weight gain:
These are just some of the many research studies conducted on the risks of consumption of diet soda. They all prove that diet soda is as big a factor as regular soda when it comes to obesity and other health problems. So while I admire the rising concerns of people over consumption of unhealthy foods, I just wish they had a better knowledge of what’s “diet” and what’s not.