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Wellness

Why I Stay Away From Diet Soda

I’m on a mission to see if we all need to find a new way to enjoy healthy, delicious tasting foods.

Diet soda, sugar-free soda, flavored sodas, bottled iced teas and diet bottled water are not the solution to the obesity epidemic in our country, nor would I choose to purchase them for myself. I also believe the “fountain of youth” hype is a myth, and that the science behind these products (as well as other products) simply aren’t proven to have any benefit for health.

These products, like all of their packaged cousins, are loaded with sugar, but to me, as well as everyone I’ve spoken with, they’re just as sweet as Pepsi, if not more. These are empty calories — they taste like “empty” calories — and what they have going for them is marketing. In the United States, advertising for these soft drink products is huge because companies are paying for our food and beverage purchases.

I recently began seeing my local grocery store advertisements for Diet Coke, which are much less prominent. This is because I live in the city of Philadelphia, which in the last couple of years became the first American city whose government banned junk food advertising. Philadelphia’s mayor, Michael Nutter , introduced legislation that bans junk food advertising to children . According to a report from The New York Times : 

Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia called it “an important step” toward improving the way kids view and consume healthy food as they enter adolescence … The ban will not apply to the soft drinks that are served in restaurants and other food services, which still can advertise aggressively. Rather, it covers all advertisements in the city’s largest radio and television markets, including those on Comcast and the Philadelphia Flyers radio and television broadcasts. The ban also covers most billboards.

I’m not a big fan of soda (at least of the sugary kind). I haven’t had one in a while, but it’s hard to imagine replacing soda with something else I’d prefer! I actually love tea with some sugar and I’m also a big fan of coconut sugar tea…in moderation and it can be a little too sweet at times (I’ve never enjoyed an entire pot of it, just the small amount at the bottom).

One of the reasons I’ve been spending my time writing this blog was to make me think about why I choose to go with these products instead of soda, tea or tea tea powder. I decided to set my self a challenge…I’m going to see if I can eat two or three servings of food instead of one serving of an unhealthy snack or two or three servings of something that tastes good and is naturally sweetened with natural sugars in a week. If anyone agrees with me or wants to make this challenge for me, feel free to email me!

So, without further ado, here are my challenge foods:

Diet Coke 1/2 cup (I usually eat that whole serving in one of my cupcake muffins) 1/2 cup plain peanut butter or nut butter 1/2 cup almond butter 1 tbs. sugar free chocolate pudding Vanilla frozen yogurt (I like vanilla Greek or sweetened) 1-2 tbsp. fresh blueberries, frozen or fresh 1 tsp. honey

I didn’t eat that many other healthy treats this week (it’s not my usual routine), but if I needed energy and I had access to some of my favorite natural sugars, I would have gone with those. Not because I thought they were unhealthy (I think they look delicious and maybe people are confusing them with soda, tea, etc., which I don’t), but because it was the closest thing to soda I could get without spending money or going to a soda fountain.