Diet soda restricts student health options

Diet soda restricts student health options

Senior Thomas Sullivan chooses from the diet options in the vending machines. The vending machines as well as the soda dispenser in the cafeteria do not give students many options aside from diet drinks.

Hope Kelly, Managing Editor

When I was seven years old, I was able get myself breakfast in the morning.  Around nine, I could do my homework on my own, and at 13, I was able to establish my own bedtime. Now I’m 16 years old and can legally drive, but I am unable to choose the drink I want at lunch time.  Something just doesn’t make sense.

In the cafeteria, vending machines, and school store, the only type of soda is diet. While normally a water, lemonade, or Gatorade would quench my thirst, sometimes I crave a nice cold soda on a Friday afternoon to reward myself from making it through the week. The only sodas I find are diet, and not satisfactory.

Diet sodas actually aren’t that good for you. Kimberly Snyder, a celebrity nutritionist and best-selling author, investigated what she calls the “8 Dangers of Diet soda” on her blog.

According to Snyder, even though there are fewer calories, there are still many artificial sweeteners that act as neurotoxins, or destructive chemicals, in the brain. In addition, she says that diet sodas can cause headaches and increase the risk of obesity and heart disease. These are only a few of the effects she highlights in her article.

Many studies support Snyder’s findings. According to the Huffington Post, a study that occurred at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the Columbia University Medical Center found that those who drank diet soda on a daily basis had a 43 percent higher risk of having a vascular event like a heart attack over those who didn’t.

The fact that diet sodas are the only option for students is baffling. Diet sodas are no better, if not worse, than regular sodas. Students should be given either one of two things.

The first option is giving students the choice of real soda. The administration needs to give students more decisions regarding their health. If they are trusted to make serious decisions in their lives like what college to college to go to and thought to be responsible enough to drive, it only seems right they should also have the chance to look out for their own health.  Students are mature enough to make the decision between regular and diet soda and should be given the choice.

As students in high school, we should be able to manage our own diets, so that we are prepared for when we graduate to continue living as healthy individuals and making good, healthy decisions. Right now though, with our drink options, this just isn’t happening.

Hope Kelly is a Managing Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com