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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

difference, nonetheless!

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


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