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For decades, companies have been marketing their products as cheaper and better for the consumer. With beverage companies, every company was trying to make the best drinks and, when it came the time for their drinks to be “healthier,” competition rose. For decades now, these companies competed with each other to have the drink with the least calories. Taking a look at the competition between Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola, each has come out with multiple products that say they have zero calories, but this doesn’t mean that these drinks are necessarily better for the consumer.
In the past year and for years beforehand, a scandal arose about the use of Aspartame in many diet colas. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is used in most diet soft drinks. It was recently discovered that Aspartame has many bad health side effects. In an article on “Collective Evolution,” it read about how Aspartame has been linked to metabolic disease and digestive tract abnormalities. Non-caloric artificial sweeteners, like Aspartame, have been found to “change the population of intestinal bacteria that direct metabolism, the conversion of food to energy or stored fuel.” Since this discovery, Aspartame has been eliminated from Diet Pepsi, but still exists in many diet soft drinks.
This is an example of how the media affects the way the consumer treats their eating and drinking habits. Unfortunately, what the media tells the consumer is not always true (go figure.) That’s one awful aspect of society, but that’s another discussion. The media has been portraying many things as healthy for a long time. For example, cigarettes were said to have great health benefits when they were first being commercially introduced into the market, but now, cigarettes are one of the leading causes of cancer. In an effort to make the consumer healthier, or making it seem that way, and beat the competition, these cola companies have actually hurt their customers in the long run.
This falls into the big category of “Nonsense Du Jour.” It is absolute nonsense that more studies aren’t done on ingredients that appear in the beverages which are consumed by millions of people daily. It is understandable that is hard to see the long term of effects, but when something like artificial sweeteners have been found to cause some bad health effects, it would only be logical to either find a better, actually healthier way, to fix the problem of having aspartame in soft drinks. Adding to the nonsense, the media will always be a culprit. There’s such a push to be healthier in the media, but when things like this happen, it would only make sense to advertise against it from this point on.
The use of Aspartame wasn’t even publicized until recent years. The average consumer doesn’t realize what they are ingested most of the time. This is a lack of understanding of science. This is because the process of eliminating the calories in a drink to make it “healthier” is, indeed, scientific. Companies need chemists to find compounds that can be added to their product to make it taste like it’s real sugar counterpart, without the calories. This is likely how Aspartame came to be. The public’s lack of understanding of what they are putting into their bodies and trusting these chemists enough to put something like Aspartame in their drinks is a problem and good that it was addressed. The public needs to be informed of what they are putting in their bodies.
The biggest problem with the “bad science” of food chemistry and the development of alternatives to make something seem better for the consumer is the fact that there is not enough information to protect the consumer. It doesn’t protect the companies, either, for that matter. Trying to find alternatives to more natural methods gets to the unnatural point of no return. What society needs to understand is that there is no “quick fix.” There is no easy way to be healthy while indulging in the sweets and the junk that is just generally bad for people. There is no way a diet soda is ever going to be healthy or good for the consumer because of what is in it.
Aspartame is just one sweetener. To cause problems such as what it has is a big red flag for the rest of the diet soda industry for other artificial sweeteners. It should also be a big red flag for the consumer. Today, it’s all about eating healthy. There is a long list of quick fixes, but eating your fruits and vegetables and exercising three days a week doesn’t come up because it doesn’t make a profit. Let’s just hope that, in the future, companies will consider the health of the consumer and not the amount of money they could be making by destroying their health.
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