Drink Up Kids

Everyday, students pass the infernal machine outside the cafeteria. There, the sterile interior harbors sugar-free versions of popular soft drinks, namely Dr. Pepper, A&W, and Sunkist.

Few buy them; few drink them; and nobody wants them–except for necessity.

Sophomore Adam Baker shares a sentiment held dearly by many.

“They’re awful,” he said. “They’re just awful.”

The conclusion on why public schools institute diet sodas onto the student body unfortunately involves the previous presidential cycle. Eight years ago, former First Lady Michelle Obama proposed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (and subsequently passed by her husband, President Obama) to combat the obesity epidemic.

An excerpt from the official fact sheet reads:

“This legislation includes significant improvements that will help provide children with healthier and more nutritious food options [in school], educate children about making healthy food choices, and teach children healthy habits that can last a lifetime.”

The causation becomes known, but seldom satisfying, because diet variants are not healthier than regular sodas. In fact, they may accelerate the very conditions that they were made to stop–weight gain and diabetes.

These sodas replace sugar with artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, aspartame, and Acesulfame potassium. Any one of them, to varying degrees, can result in high result blood pressure and a high BMI (Body Mass Index).

Students do not need knowledge in scientific nomenclature or processes to understand the horrendous health risks that these alternatives pose on the masses.

“They’re worse than regular soda,” soccer player Harvey Braden said. “I can see the reason for the [Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act], but we should adjust it from our experience over the past few years.” 

Since scientists focus on more important matters than soft drinks, no concrete study confidently validates any of the observations presented above.

“It’s really all about personal preference,” junior Ashlynn McBrayer said.  “Just because it’s labeled ‘diet’ doesn’t necessarily make it healthy and usually makes it taste worse.