Opinion: Are Diet Drinks Actually Healthier?


Ashlyn Roehm

Sugar-free and diet drinks are often viewed as being more beneficial to your health and promoting healthier lifestyles. As many students see a shift in what their cafeterias and vending machines look like, one might ask —  why did Lakota West adopt all zero sugar and/or calorie drinks? 

Diet drinks are made by substituting sugar with artificial sweeteners such as saccharin or aspartame. This allows the drink to obtain a similar taste as its sugar-0filled alternative. Many people have begun to associate ‘zero calories’ on the nutrition label with a healthy lifestyle. 

Unfortunately, while the calorie intake from that drink is reduced, your craving for a sugary implement increases. In a recent USC study, the controversial topic is proven to directly relate diet sodas and obesity. The study was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and was led by Kathleen Page. The study also showed an across-the-board decrease in levels of hormones that tell the body “I feel full” after participants drank the sucralose-containing drink compared to the sucrose-containing drink, suggesting artificially sweetened beverages may not be effective in suppressing hunger. 

All in all, Lakota West changing their vending machines and cafeteria selection to all zero sugar and calorie drinks is not necessarily beneficial. It can actually be more harmful in the long run to the health of the student clientele.