Diet Sodas in Schools

May 5, 2006 at 11:40 pm (Science)

ABC News reports that non-diet sodas will not be sold in any public schools by 2010.

NEW YORK May 3, 2006 (AP)— Tens of millions of students will no longer be able to buy non-diet sodas in the nation's public schools under an agreement announced Wednesday between major beverage distributors and anti-obesity advocates.

Combine this with other research that shows that people that drink diet sodas tend to gain MORE weight than people that drink non-diet sodas. As reported by WebMD:

For regular soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

  • 26% for up to 1/2 can each day
  • 30.4% for 1/2 to one can each day
  • 32.8% for 1 to 2 cans each day
  • 47.2% for more than 2 cans each day.

For diet soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

  • 36.5% for up to 1/2 can each day
  • 37.5% for 1/2 to one can each day
  • 54.5% for 1 to 2 cans each day
  • 57.1% for more than 2 cans each day.

A possible reason for this has been proposed, but not investigated yet. Basically, the brain receives the 'sweet' signal from the taste buds, and prepares the body to process carbs (sugar). When the carbs don't arrive, the body starts craving them, leading to a higher than normal intake of carbs. At this point, it is a lose-lose situation, because if you give in to the craving, you've negated any benefit from drinking the diet soda. If you don't give in to the craving, your body puts itself into 'famine' mode, setting itself up to store any excess calories that it has to get you through the lean times. Your body has a similar mechanism for water. If you don't drink enough water, your body will conserve as much as it can, and store it for later. It can take a month of adequate water intake to convince your body that the 'drought' is over, at which point it will go back to normal. During this time, it is possible to gain 8-10 pounds of water weight, which are quickly dropped when your body switches the 'drought' mode off.

I realize that this goes against the standard chant of the health establishment that says that the only way you gain weight is if your caloric intake exceeds your output through exercise. In my opinion, this is overly simplistic. We all have known people that didn't exercise, ate whatever they wanted, and never gained weight. We call this metabolism. Some people just naturally burn more calories at rest (or don't store them) than others. We've all also known people who diet constantly, eat healthy and exercise, but can never manage to lose weight. Such is life.

In addition, there are many adverse side effects to the artificial sweeteners. In my opinion, if you MUST use a low-calorie sweetener, your first choice should be stevia, followed by saccharine.

Here are some links to sites discussing the side effects of various artificial sweeteners. Even without my tin-foil hat it looks like a good idea to stay away from them as much as possible.

Aspartame Toxicity information center (good research documents)

Aspartame Truth – including a long list of side effects

Sweet Poison – info about lots of artificial sweeteners

Aspartame Toxic Effects – british site

Splenda – side effects

12 answers about Splenda


1 Comment

  1. Angela said,

    Although hard to get, my fav is xylitol. I chew a lot of gum, and Trident is the only one who’s picked up on this wonderful stuff. Also, Tom’s toothpaste, as I can’t use flouride . BTW, Stevia is not artificial. But it is a good sugar substitute.

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