Ditch The Fizz - Sugar-free Creates Obesity In Children
By Dr. Janet Starr Hull, PhD., CN
From Dr. Janet Starr Hull's website Splenda Exposed:
The percentage of overweight children has tripled in the past two
decades, and the percentage of obese adults has doubled. Even when we factor
in bad health habits and poor lifestyle choices, we must acknowledge this
weight gain coincides with the introduction of NutraSweet twenty years ago.
Coincidence? I don't believe in coincidence, and I strongly believe
aspartame and ALL diet sweetener use are directly related to weight gain.
Over twenty years ago, independent researchers warned us that aspartame
would cause weight gain-and look at us now.
Obesity is increasing worldwide and is set to become the world's biggest
health problem. Recent reports suggest that it may soon overtake cigarette
smoking as a serious health risk. Nearly two-thirds of adults in the United
States are overweight, and 30.5 percent are obese, according to data from
the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). In
the UK, nearly two-thirds of men and over half of all women are now
overweight-and one in five are obese. At this rate, by 2010 at least one in
four adults will be obese. According to data compiled by the International
Obesity Task Force (IOTF), England and Scotland have some of the highest
levels of obesity in Europe.
The worldwide increase in weight gain is also spreading to the developing
countries that have recent access to the Westernized over-processed diet and
chemical food technology.
Obesity in children poses serious health risks such as diabetes, heart
disease, cancer and high blood pressure, to name just a few. All of these
chronic diseases can be positively altered through proper dietary changes of
whole foods without fake sugars or fake fats, so take heart!
A single twenty-ounce bottle of soda is actually 2 1/2 servings. In
America, muffins are the size of small cakes. "Care for a large order of
French fries? It's just a few cents more to super-size that order." That's
a third of the total calories you should eat in one day! But do people
resist the fries? Not usually. They order a large diet cola to justify the
According to a new study by the American Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, women are eating 300 more calories a day and men 168 more
calories than twenty years ago. As any nutritionist will tell you, all it
takes is one hundred extra calories a day to gain ten pounds a year. To work
off those one hundred calories, you must walk twenty-five minutes every day.
Many experts feel Americans overeat because much of the food that makes
up their modern diet is inexpensive, dense with the taste of "fat" calories,
and highly processed, so again, the food isn't satisfying, so we eat more to
try to feel full.
What Are We Teaching Our Younger Generation?
Some of the most disturbing weight statistics concern children. Results
from the 1999-2000 NHANES Survey, using measured heights and weights,
indicate that an estimated fifteen percent of children and adolescents aged
six to nineteen years are overweight. This represents a four percent
increase from the overweight estimates of eleven percent obtained from
NHANES III from 1988 to 1994.
No one can say with certainty whether one cause of childhood obesity
outweighs another, but considerable blame can be placed on the fact that
kids don't get enough proper nutrition, they sit more, and consume more and
more diet products daily.
School Vending Machines: Ditch The Fizz!
Children are encouraged to consume junk food at schools where the
influences of fast food and soft drinks are prominent. The marketers of
flavor, not nutrition, influence the food and drinks sold in schools.
There is a growing movement against soft drinks in public and private
schools. School programs discouraging the sale of carbonated drinks appear
to reduce obesity among children. A British study in London showed that
reducing young students' intake of sweetened carbonated beverages reduced
obesity among the students. A one-year ''ditch the fizz'' campaign
discouraged both sweetened and diet soft drinks among elementary school
children. The results showed a decrease in the percentage of children who
were overweight or obese. The improvement occurred after the reduction of
less than a can of soda a day. According to the study, a high intake of
carbonated drinks contributed to childhood obesity. Apparently, such
programs are working.
Of course, representatives of the soft drink industry contest these
results, claiming carbonated drinks provide only a fraction of children's
daily calories, and that they should not be blamed for the childhood obesity
In Florida, USA, the Governor's Task Force on Obesity stopped short of
admitting soda machines can make kids fat. They suggested a variety of
remedies to the state's obesity epidemic-less TV, more exercise in
schools-but unfortunately they did not recommend the removal of soda or
snack machines from pubic campuses, rationalizing, "The machines often offer
milk and other alternatives to carbonated drinks." (Can we trust children to
make good choices-after all, they are children!)
School vending machines raise considerable cash, funds that many high
schools use to support athletic and other extra-curricular activities. Most
school principals support the idea of choice and don't want to eliminate the
"cash cow" of colas. Most US state laws protect the sale of carbonated
beverages on campuses if fruit juice is also sold. But many districts around
the country are trying to get control of the situation in an effort to
improve their students' nutrition. In Broward County, Florida, the school
board's policy permits vending machine sales for only one hour after the
close of the last lunch period.
Don't be discouraged. In my new book Splenda": Is It Safe Or Not? I
offer ways to change your lifestyle, not with trendy chemical diets, but
with the tried and true methods our bodies recognize and celebrate: whole,
natural foods and moderate exercise. Teach your kids to ditch the fizz, drop
the fake foods, and their bodies will respond with vibrant health!
For more information visit my websites below.
About The Author
Dr. Hull is a Licensed Certified Nutritionist, certified fitness
professional, and author of the best selling book, Sweet Poison. She
currently holds a Doctorate in Nutrition, a Master's Degree in Environmental
Science, is an international geographer and geologist, a former university
professor, firefighter and Hazardous Waste Specialist and Emergency
Dr. Hull writes a monthly newsletter covering a wide range of important
health topics including Government Safety Alerts, Q and A's, and more! To
sign up for her newsletter or to view past articles visit