I’ve long been teased about my affection for diet cola.
When I was still punching a time clock, I passed through the employee breakroom on the way to my office. I’d often deride my coffee-drinking colleagues about their love for java in the morning, and they’d counter that I wasn’t much different with my diet drink. We’d have our daily laugh about our respective habits as we launched our workday.
For the record, I’m fairly certain my consumption of diet cola was typically far less than my fellow staffers’ and their coffee – largely because of basic economics. With a coffee pot always percolating somewhere in the building, it was easy to keep that mug filled to the brim. Because soda is more expensive than coffee, however, I had to pay for my drinks; this kept a lid on my pop intake.
Other pals, concerned for my health asked, “Why don’t you just drink water?” My standard reply? “It’s not brown, and it doesn’t fizz.”
Earlier this month, a news story appeared once again decrying the health dangers of drinking diet drinks. The Journal of the American Medical Association-Internal Medicine published the report about a 16-year European study that followed some 450,000 soda consumers who drank both regular and diet brands. In a Sept. 9, 2019, article, Andrew Jacobs, writing for the New York Times, discussed the report.
“There was a collective gasp among Coke Zero and Diet Pepsi drinkers this week,” Jacobs wrote, “after media reports highlighted a new study that found prodigious consumers of artificially sweetened drinks were 26 percent more likely to die prematurely than those who rarely drank sugar-free beverages.”
Various articles about the study point to heart disease, stroke, dementia, and diabetes.
This study is making its rounds across the Internet and provides reason enough for many folks to give up the bubbly beverage. But other experts remind the reader that association doesn’t mean causation. Jacobs writes, “Or could it be that people who drink lots of Diet Snapple or Sprite Zero lead a more unhealthy lifestyle to begin with?”
Many of my friends opt for plain water with lemon as their preferred drink-de-jour. Now, it appears that option is also not as healthy as one would think.
Articles too numerous to mention warn that bacteria may be taking a cruise on that lemon slice floating in the pretty glass of water. With repeated handling by employees (whose hygiene practices may be suspect), lemons can easily become contaminated. Experts suggest we’d be better off to ask for lemon wedges on the side, squeeze the juice ourselves, and forego dropping the rind in the glass.
I’m not a fan of lemon water myself. I never understood the attraction of “weak lemonade.”
And of course, some friends enjoy a glass of wine – which apparently has some anti-inflammatory properties – or a cocktail rather than either the diet cola or lemon water. I wondered how that factored into the mix; again, several articles on the subject throughout the web. It’s difficult to make a fair comparison, though. The obvious effect of drinking as much alcohol at a sitting as one would a diet soda can lead to intoxication with a whole new set of implications.
This is beverage befuddlement for sure…