This past Saturday, my friend and I journeyed over to our favorite breakfast spot. As I sweat my way though the painful decision of corned beef versus bacon, I caught the conversation from a nearby table. To my dismay, the young girl, no older than 9 - 10 years old, ordered a Diet Coke with her meal.
The girl seemed proud to place her order, evident in her grown-up glance towards her mother... her overweight mother... who probably didn't want to pass along the same habits that began her own weight problems. Sadly, her mom probably taught her that Diet Coke would help her grow up to not be overweight, because, well, that's all she knows to do.
Just like we select the right octane for our cars, it's time to start understanding what we pump into our bodies. For years, artificial sweeteners emerged on the radar as unhealthy substances that contribute to medical ailments from multiple sclerosis to cancer.
Calorie Counters waged war against the Cancer Counters. One group sought to discredit and silence the other. Medical specialists warred about the truth and consumers were downright confused. So why was I still deeply annoyed with this girl's mother?
Consider this: A news report blasts across the radio. "GassyAssy gasoline may contain a dangerous additive known to slowly destroy a car's engine. The car will begin to perform poorly and then stop running altogether." Gasoline specialists emerged with new data showing why the chemical destroys engines. Drivers started complaining of car problems after hitting the pumps.
As a driver, would you care if a new set of specialists tried to discredit the scientific data and driver testimonies? Wouldn't you avoid GA altogether to protect your precious car?
This is why mom gets the gas face. There's too much controversy surrounding the use of chemicals in diet sodas, and a child's health is worth avoiding the potentially offensive chemical. If not that, consider the other less scientific reasons:
Checmicals aren't synonymous with health and well being. Aside from the need for pharmceuticals in emergency situations, why risk it on a good day?
No such controversy swirls around natural juices and old fashioned water. Aren't both available where soda is available?
One study featured at WebMD concludes that drinking diet cola actually contributes to an increase in weight gain. You mean I'm gonna drink this nasty ish and get fatter faster? I'm running this race backwards...
What young child do you know who needs CAFFEINE? Forget the artifical sweetner. You couldn't pay me to amp my son's current energy level with caffeine. (Unless payment included two free nights of babysitting, about how long it would take to pry him from the ceiling).
Wilfull ignorance is not a good look. Even without the science degree, the backdoor studies, or the experience, you can see enough smoke around this issue to suspect there's a fire. Lawd we gotta do better.