If you’re the mother of a young girl, if she’s anything like my Amelia, googling “cute kittens” or “Taylor Swift” are two of her favorite past times. If Amelia fell upon this ad, she’d think she hit the jackpot! So what’s wrong here? After reading this article in the New York Times, Taylor Swift’s pitch for Diet Coke is falling flat with me.
Taylor, I swear I’m not a hater. In fact, I think you’re an amazing role model. But I’m now adamantly against anyone drinking diet soda, especially my children. We all have somewhat of an inkling that artificial sweeteners aren’t great for us, but come on, they’ve been keeping us thin, and so we’ve turned a blind eye. But what if their slimming benefits are really bogus? In fact, what if this stuff is bad for us AND is actually making us fat? Hell no, that just won’t do—especially when it comes to the health of our kids. I don’t really let my children drink soda in the first place, but one look at this Taylor Swift Diet Coke ad and I can already hear it: “Mommy, when will you ever let me drink Diet Coke? Do I have to be 10? 12? 16? Just tell me wheeeennnn!”
The NYT article reveled a new study that showed “artificial sweeteners alter the microbiome, the population of bacteria that is in the digestive system,” and “many conditions, including obesity and diabetes, had been linked to changes in the microbiome.” Say what? As if trying to wean our kids off of endless snacks on the likes of Goldfish and CheezeIts isn’t hard enough.
“In the initial set of experiments, the scientists added saccharin (the sweetener in the pink packets of Sweet’N Low), sucralose (the yellow packets of Splenda) or aspartame (the blue packets of Equal) to the drinking water of 10-week-old mice. Other mice drank plain water or water supplemented with glucose or with ordinary table sugar. After a week, there was little change in the mice that drank water or sugar water, but the group getting artificial sweeteners developed marked intolerance to glucose.”
What’s scary about this is that, “Glucose intolerance, in which the body is less able to cope with large amounts of sugar, can lead to more serious illnesses like metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes.”
Nothing is as sweet as a healthy child…so let’s all lay off the stuff.