Diet is No Longer Better

By Brandon McCormick-

The bubble is bursting for diet soda drinkers.

Studies show diet drinks may be more harmful than what was formerly believed.

Previously linked to diabetes, diet soda is being questioned by medical researchers about its health values.

But the information comes out as schools are getting pressured to lower calorie counts for students.

“There was an effort to promote diet soda due to calorie content,” said Randy Wolfgang, Director of Support Services for Penn Manor, who had not yet had a chance to study the new research.

Results of a large study, just presented at the American Stroke Association Stroke Conference, showed diet soda drinkers were 61 percent more likely to have cardiovascular complications than non drinkers of soda.

Penn Manor's soda machines come stocked with certain diet drinks.

Researcher Hannah Gardener, from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine reported there was no increased risk of cardiovascular disorders when non-drinkers of soda were compared to regular soda drinkers.

But diet soda drinkers are the ones at risk.

Penn Manor High School offers diet Pepsi in most soda machines around the school. The soda machines are on during lunch, giving students free range throughout the day to get diet soda whenever they want.

Randy Wolfgang was interested in hearing more about the study.

“We’ll have to get more information,” he said, although he said he thought access to vending machines were limited throughout the day or should be.

Even after hearing the news, some Penn Manor students just aren’t ready to give up their diet drinking habits.

Courtney Huyser, a ninth grader at Penn Manor drinks diet soda two to three times a week.

“I prefer diet Pepsi,” she said. “I’m used to diet, I prefer it.”

After hearing the news about the study, Huyser claims she will continue to drink diet soda, anyway.

“I don’t drink it very often.”

“Soda should be an every now and then treat,” said school nurse Anne Butterfield. “There’s nothing nutritious about it.”

Butterfield said she feels there is no benefit to soda. Diet soda lacks the nutritional value young people need for growth such as vitamins and calcium, she explained.

“A lot of empty calories,” Butterfield said.

Penn Manor student athlete Mark Curtin said, “All soda is unhealthy, diet or not.”

Curtin keeps soda out of his diet as best he can, trying to stick to the healthier water, juice and occasional Gatorade.

Longtime athlete, coach and teacher Erick Dutchess claims you should stick to moderation when drinking diet or regular soda.

“Stay with the more natural drinks such as water and juice,” he said.