Obesity in America has become a rising problem in recent years. As a result, many schools across the country are switching to diet sodas and drinks – something that health activists applaud as a positive change. However, there are also some who say that in an effort to become more healthy, schools are replacing their supposedly unhealthy counterparts with drinks that are even more unhealthy.
Diet colas contain many chemical sweeteners to make up for the lack of sugar and other substances that can be major contributors to obesity and other related illnesses. Others believe that the chemical sweeteners may cause problems in digestion. Dr. Joseph Mercola, who studies artificial sweeteners, said in an interview with the Huffington Post that chemical sweeteners may also cause brain cancer in lab animals. Students also worry about the chemicals, stating that because they are unnatural, the body cannot handle them and they may lead to other diseases.
“It uses aspartame, which turns to other chemicals in your body,” said junior Alise Wenner. “It’s just really bad for you. Your body doesn’t know what to do with them.”
Last year, health and physical education teacher Katie Callan wanted the cafeteria to offer healthier options such as the non-diet soda non-diet soda. She rallied for change in the cafeteria, and non-diet sodas were introduced in the fountain, while diet sodas in bottles were still sold.
But some, such as health and physical education teacher Ann Jamieson, believe that both options are just as unhealthy, and that they should both only be drunk in small quantities. “It’s okay in moderation,” said Ms. Jamieson. “If I want a soda, I’ll have one, but I won’t drink the whole two liter.”