Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mouthwashing our Taste Buds

A great column today on a new study linking diet soda to an increased risk of stroke.

The author makes the larger point that consumers, doctors and diet gurus avoid the core problem: We are addicted to sweetened drinks. Instead of suggesting that overweight people drink water or unsweetened beverages like tea, they tell them to switch to diet soda, an unholy concoction of chemicals and artificial coloring.

The author writes:

"The proliferation of diet soda cuts to the core of what's wrong with the Western diet. The Western approach is to remove the most obvious dangers from an unhealthy habit — in this case, removing the 12 teaspoons of sugar per can of fizzy water laced with acids, colors and flavors of uncertain origin — so that we can continue that habit in denial of other dangers.

"The underlying problem is that we are addicted to sugar; beverages without a sweetener now seem bland. For the first million years or so of pre-human and human existence, water was adequate to quench our thirst. But apparently no longer."

Let me be clear: I am not anti-sugar or even anti-sugary drinks, although I confine my consumption to stuff made with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. I love Foxon Park Soda, which still uses sugar and is ironically much less sweet than big brand sodas. But everything in moderation. All you drink doesn't have to be sweet.

Yet another example of how Big Food has mouthwashed our taste buds. Fight the power. Drink unsweetened beverages!

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