Two different nutrition articles this week caught my attention. The first was a Reuters’ article that reported that Americans are eating more and more often. In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, researchers looked at American’s eating habits over the last 30 years and found that we have gone from 3.8 meals and snacks a day to 4.8. More importantly, we are eating 570 more calories each day compared to the late 1970s. That translates into an extra 59 pounds of weight per year. How often you eat isn’t what really matters. It’s what you eat and how many calories/nutrients you consume that is most important. What about your activity level? Are you more or less active than you were several year back? Unfortunately, most of us are not as active as we should be and aren’t getting the 30 minutes per day or 150 minutes per week that is recommended.
The second article by MyHealthNewsDaily staff reported that diet sodas don’t help with dieting and that those who drank two or more diet sodas a day had bigger waist sizes, as much as six times greater than those who don’t drink diet sodas. This finding was based on a study of 474 people in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging by researchers at the University of Texas. In the same article they reported on a second study that showed that diabetes-prone mice that were fed aspartame (the sugar substitute found in some soft drinks) showed elevated blood sugar levels. These studies may suggest that consuming an large amount of aspartame may not be beneficial to one’s health, although human studies are needed.Personally, I’m not a big drinker of diet sodas. I may drink a glass once every 3 or 4 months, if I’m eating out or at someone’s house. I don’t buy it at the store and keep it in my house. Occasional use of diet soda is fine. I don’t care for regular sodas that are loaded with sugar and provide nothing but calories. When thirsty, it’s better to drink a beverage with nutrients, such as skim milk or 100% fruit or vegetable juice. If you want calorie-free, water is your best bet.