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Diet Coke and Doritos: a healthy snack?

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Diet sodas(also diet pop, diet, sugar-free, or light soft drinks, refreshments, or carbonated beverages) are typically sugar-free, artificially sweetened, non-alcoholic carbonated beverages generally marketed towards health-conscious people, diabetics, athletes, and other people who want to lose weight, improve physical fitness, or reduce their

Perhaps it is the lesser between two evils? Consumers need to understand that simply seeing a heart on a product label doesn’t mean its heart healthy? Diet sodas (also diet pop, diet, sugar-free, or light soft drinks, refreshments, or carbonated beverages) are typically sugar-free, artificially sweetened, non-alcoholic carbonated beverages generally marketed towards health-conscious people, diabetics, athletes, and other people who want to lose weight, improve physical fitness, or reduce their sugar intake.

When Diet Coke came out with the HEART on its soda cans there were a lot of skeptics. “Reading ‘Heart Health Goes Better with Diet Coke?’ felt like a slap in the face.” says heart health activist Lois Trader.

About 51% of Diet Coke consumers are women, the company says.

Heart Disease is the No. 1 Killer of Women. Is there a correlation?

Coke says the sponsorship is perfectly in keeping, since Diet Coke is consumed by women who want to watch their calories – and therefore minimize risk factors for heart disease. “Our reach with consumers has told us that women today are increasingly mindful of making choices that positively impact their lives. For them, drinking Diet Coke is an essential part of their modern pursuit of well-being,” Katie Bayne, chief marketing officer for Coke’s North American business, says in the company’s announcement.

Perhaps it is the lesser between two evils? Consumers need to understand that simply seeing a heart on a product label doesn’t mean its heart healthy?

According to these brands it is good for your health. Go ahead and have a diet coke with some chips?

Frito-Lay says their chips are healthy. Frito-Lay: snacks start with real farm-grown ingredients. You might be surprised at how much good stuff goes into your favorite snack. Good stuff like potatoes, which naturally contain vitamin C and essential minerals. Or corn, one of the world's most popular grains, packed with Thiamin, vitamin B6, and Phosphorous – all necessary for healthy bones, teeth, nerves and muscles.

And it's not just the obvious ingredients. Our all-natural sunflower, corn and soybean oils contain good polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which help lower total and LDL “bad” cholesterol and maintain HDL “good” cholesterol levels, which can support a healthy heart.Even salt, when eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet, is essential for the body.

A new study came out which followed more than 2,500 New Yorkers for nine or more years, found that people who drank diet soda every day had a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events, including stroke and heart attack, than those who completely eschewed the diet drinks, according to researchers who presented theirresults today at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles.

Still, the researchers aren’t ready to tell consumers to skip diet sodas. More studies need to be done before that happens, said the report’s lead author Hannah Gardener, an epidemiologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “I think diet soda drinkers need to stay tuned,” Gardener said. “I don’t think that anyone should be changing their behaviors based on one study. Hopefully this will motivate other researchers to do more studies.”That advice may not stop some from skipping their diet drinks. “This is pretty scary,” said Denise Gainey, a 49-year-old administrative assistant from Amelia, Va. Worried that she might have inherited a higher risk of heart disease, Gainey wants to be careful. “I guess I’ll just be drinking a lot more water,” she said.

For the new study, researchers surveyed 2,564 north Manhattan residents about their eating behaviors, exercise habits, as well as cigarette and alcohol consumption. The study volunteers were also given physical check-ups that included blood pressure measurements and blood tests for cholesterol and other factors that might affect the risk for heart attack and stroke.

The increased likelihood of vascular events remained even after Gardener and her colleagues accounted for risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Pointing the finger more squarely at diet drinks, the researchers found no increased risk among people who drank regular soda.

Does this mean there’s something in diet sodas that hurts our blood vessels? Nobody knows the answer to that question, yet, Gardener said. There could be something else that people who drink diet sodas have in common, she explained.

For example, it’s possible that people who drink diet sodas are replacing those saved sugar calories with other unhealthy choices, Gardener said.

Lois Trader is the LA Heart Health Examiner and an advocate for Women's Heart Health. Also Lois plays a key role in educating the public about the challenges of aging and some of the ways we all can prepare ourselves. http://loistrader.com

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