Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Features

June 14, 2012

Regular soda, diet soda, zero-calorie soda: What's really safe?

With New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposing a ban on the sales of large sodas and other sugar-based drinks, the national debate on healthy verse non-healthy beverages is at an all-time high.

Between the vast array of diet sodas available, not to mention the bevy of health drinks, juices and organic beverages, consumers can feel quite confused about what's actually healthy and what's merely branded as such.

For starters, lets look at some of the more popular non-diet beverages and gauge what their actual calorie and sugar count is:

  • Eight ounces of Coca-Cola contains 100 calories and 27 grams of sugar.
  • Eight ounces of Pepsi has 100 calories and 28 grams of sugar
  • Nestea Iced Tea with Lemon has 80 calories with 22 grams of sugar, in an eight ounce serving.
  • Eight ounces of Rockstar Energy Drink contains 140 calories with 31 grams of sugar.
  • Sprite contains 96 calories and 26 grams of sugar in an eight ounce serving.

Those who still consume heavy amounts of non-diet sodas run the risk of getting diabetes, tooth and even bone decay, according to health experts.

And what about diet sodas? The word diet alone engenders a feeling of safety for consumers who want a healthier beverage option, but many health experts say diet sodas can be more fattening than non-diet versions.

More fattening

In a recent study from the University of Texas, diet soda drinkers experienced a 70 percent increase in waist size compared with non-diet-soda-drinkers.

The main culprit of weight gain among diet soda drinkers is an ingredient called aspartame, which is an artificial sweetener used in most diet sodas. Experts say perpetual consumption of aspartame could possibly lead to increased blood glucose levels, which could eventually cause diabetes.

Many consumers who have been already hip to the health risks of drinking too much diet soda have decided to drink zero calorie drinks instead. Many believe sodas like Coke Zero and Pepsi Max are a healthier product to buy, but experts say they're really not.

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