Regular readers of our Fantasy Healthball blog will notice the “Health News” articles along the right side column. Today, there is an article there about one of our favorite subjects – diet soda. To us here at Fantasy Healthball, “diet soda” is every bit the oxymoron as “nutritious donut,” “diet butter,” or “healthy fried food.”
As you may have picked up from our book or website, soft drinks and sodas are not our friends. They have been linked to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Sugar, sodium, calories, carbs, caffeine, high fructose corn syrup, acids. And how about some artificial sweeteners and preservatives, food coloring, caramel, and gum arabic? Yum! We still love the 30 second You Tube video from NYC (in this post) that is a great illustration of what sodas do for your body (don’t watch if you get queasy easily!).
But aren’t diet sodas okay? Can’t I feel good about myself when I chase my Big Mac and super-sized fries with a diet soda? A typical can of soda has around 100-150 calories. A diet soda may have none or only one, but you are still getting the sodium, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners. Take our poll and learn all about artificial sweeteners here. The article says the diet soda may have no calories, but 1) you have to consider what you are eating with that no calorie soda, 2) there is no evidence the diet soda helps you keep the pounds off long-term, 3) being a diet soda junkie (such as 3 servings a day) doubles the risk for being overweight or obese, and 4) the diet soda may actually make you hungrier (and crave high calorie sweet foods) and cause you to eat more!
If we put this one in the Fantasy Healthball Food Formation, it would go in the Fats, Oils, and Sweets group, so use “sparingly.” But what to drink instead? Let’s come up with a list of things that would be healthier to drink than soda: motor oil, pond scum, untreated sewage…..no no no just kidding – do NOT drink those things! But how about seltzer water, regular filtered water (add a lime or lemon?), mineral water, sparkling flavored waters with no additives, low-fat milk, soy milk, fruit juice with no additives, or home-made smoothies with just fruit and ice! It may take a week or so to get used to skipping the sodas, but you will be glad you did! If you love fantasy football, try playing our game to help you reach your health goals. — Jim Ballard