Friday, March 26, 2010

Sodas in School Vending Machines Traded for Chemically Laden Diet Drinks – Pick Your Poison, Kids!

A major soft drink manufacturer announced it will help kids to lead healthier lives by offering “low-calorie nutritious beverage choices” in school vending machines. Sugar soft-drinks will be removed and replaced with a variety of beverages, including juice, plus artificially sweetened sodas, sports drinks and iced teas. While I applaud the notion of getting rid of sugary soft drinks filled with high fructose corn syrup, the idea of replacing them with artificially sweetened drinks – especially for children – should not be called a “healthy” alternative, but rather a dangerous exposure to chemicals.

Is over-consumption of sugar a problem in our country? You bet. Sugar consumption has reached astonishingly unhealthy levels, with the average American eating 160 pounds of sugar yearly. Not all sugar is as obvious as the amount we get in a soft drink - it is often disguised in ingredient lists or hidden in seemingly innocent food items such as crackers, condiments, and salad dressings. Our insatiable appetite for sugar has far-reaching toxic implications for our health. There is an especially alarming link between sugar consumption and the cancer epidemic.

According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, an oncologist, brain surgeon, and neuroscientist, sugar directly fuels cancer cell growth, Dr. Michael Galitzer expands on this point by explaining that while healthy cells utilize oxygen to create energy, cancer cells create energy and thrive by fermenting sugar. Cristiana Paul, M.S., a certified nutritionist, explains that high blood sugar is taken in by precancerous cells causing them to multiply faster than they would if less sugar was available. Sugar also causes a damaging spike in the hormone insulin. The excess insulin stimulates cell growth, cell division, and the proliferation of cancerous cells. While these experts agree it is imperative for cancer patients to completely remove sugar from their diet, it is also imperative for healthy individuals to do the same in order to reduce the risk of cancer.

Reduce the sugar and provide healthier alternatives... yes, I agree. But diet sodas, teas and sports drinks? Really? Chemically produced artificial sweeteners are not a healthy alternative for sugar! Dr. Blaylock cites a recent study from one of the biggest cancer research institutes in the world, The Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences in Italy. They tested aspartame on the largest number of rats ever and found it increases cancer incidence from doses equivalent to drinking diet sodas. It also showed an increase specifically in lymphoma, leukemia, breast cancer, and brain cancer. And from previous studies, Dr. Blaylock cites neurological brain damage from aspartame. Research by Dr. Richard Wurtman, a physician-researcher at MIT, demonstrated that aspartame is not only a neurological toxin, but it also increases appetite. So artificial sweeteners derived from chemicals can actually contribute to weight gain.

Why should we choose between two types of poison; sugar or artificial sweeteners? And why would anyone even consider placing either of these poisons into a vending machine for our children to consume? Choose water! Milk! Unsweetened juice! Or if you want something sweet, choose stevia, agave, or an All Natural Sweetener.

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