Is Diet Soda the True Culprit When it Comes to Health Risks?

DietSodaWP

The results are in and it looks like diet soda may not be as bad for you as researchers thought. Recent studies suggests there are more factors to consider when trying to link diet sodas to obesity, increased blood pressure and diabetes. Experts still worry about the chemicals present in diet soda and for some there isn’t even a question on whether or not diet soda is worth the risk. “Just get rid of it,” Keri Glassman, R.D.N advises. “It is filled with unhealthy chemicals, including artificial sweeteners, which actually make you crave more calories later.”

Some experts suggest taking a closer look at other bad habits to see if they play more of a role in decreased health than an occasional indulgence in a can of diet soda. Other bad habits might be to blame, if you are a smoker or live an inactive lifestyle, diet soda may not be the true offender.

“Consumers of diet soda who engage in other lifestyle behaviors associated with poor health outcomes are at a greater risk than those who balance their intake of diet soda with other healthful habits,” says Cara Harbstreet, of Street Smart Nutrition as Women’s Health notes. “The variables make it difficult to pinpoint whether diet soda consumption alone is the cause of negative health outcomes, or whether it’s the culmination of a number of factors…I lean towards the latter, since nothing in nutrition or health exists in a vacuum.”

For those looking to cut down on the amount of sugar or artificial sweeteners added to your drinks, consider switching to a seltzer or removing soda from your home but ordering it at a restaurant or bar.

“Choosing to drink (or eat) any one specific item is always a deeply personal choice,” Harbstreet says, “So I pose the question, which is the lesser of two evils?”

We want to hear from you! Do you think diet soda plays a key role in decreased health status? Or should consumers consider other bad habits before blaming diet soda?

Healthy Vending Trends

Many food trends come and go, but one thing that has stayed consistent is that people like healthy foods. Vending machines are continuing to offer healthier options in order to meet consumer demand. Vending Market Watch said, “More than a quarter of Americans (30%) claim to usually only snack on healthy foods and almost half (45%) of those consumers claim that nutritional value is the most important factor in the foods they eat.” Consumers prefer having healthier choices so those vending machines that offer better snacks are more likely to succeed.

Vending machines have come a long way over the years. In the past vending machines were often thought of for only selling candy, soda, snacks, and other indulgent foods. Today, society is so fast paced that people are always looking for a quick and healthy snack, so vending machines are offering healthier options. Consumers should take a few minutes to look at the vending machine to make the healthiest choices.

Schools are especially trying to offer healthier products in order to offer nutritious options for students. Some vending machines are refrigerated to sell sandwiches, quick meals, fruit, and vegetables. Other healthier vending options include nuts and popcorn. Although there are healthier options available today, there are still many indulgent options that are high in fat, sugar, salt, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners. When looking to make a purchase, find items that are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, or other nutritional benefits.

GranolaBars shutterstock_348120374Fruit shutterstock_372769957Almonds shutterstock_373646635

Companies can help employees make better snack choices at the vending machine by:

  • Putting signs or stickers by the healthier items to make them more noticeable
  • Subsidizing the cost of healthier products to encourage employees to purchase healthy items over unhealthy items
  • Having taste test events with employees to allow everyone to try the healthier options
  • Providing educational nutritional programs for employees about healthy snack choices
  • Working with the vending company to increase the number of healthy choices available

Cornell University researchers proved that junk food is not causing the obesity epidemic, but it is the fact that people are overeating. With this in mind, it is okay to indulge yourself to a treat once in a while as long as you do so in moderation. Vending companies will continue to add healthier options to their vending machines so be sure to choose products that meet your nutritional needs, but be sure to treat yourself once in a while.

Let us know what healthy products you would like to see in vending machines!

 

Making Better Choices at the Vending Machine

Healthy Choices Header

From candy bars to fresh apple slices, the options we get at vending machines today are as diversified as ever before. With the increasing trends in health and wellness among individuals nowadays, vendors are beginning to place healthier snack options in their machines. An article in the Des Moines Register the other day caught our eye. It was an interview with Janette Batts, a registered dietitian and license dietitian nutritionist with UnityPoint Health – Des Moines as she shared her tips on how to make healthier choices at a vending machine. We absolutely loved her notes and what she had to say about a lot of our favorite snacks, so we decided to put together a short list of tips to making these healthier choices.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Look out for snacks that have already been labelled as the “Healthier Choice”
  2. Make use of vending machines that provide you with nutritional information of the snacks they carry
  3. Stay away from foods with high trans-fats, MSG and added sugar
  4. Learn the names for different forms of sugar such as fructose, molasses, malt, sucrose
  5. Ingredients that you can’t pronounce can usually be avoided
  6. Use a Food App to get educated on the foods you consume – like MyFitnessPal
  7. Candy bars are great but everything needs to be done in moderation
  8. If you like snacking frequently, then plan for lighter meals and then have wholesome snacks in between

Here are also Janette’s list of Best & Worse snacks from Vending Machines and some other ideas for snacks to pack from home:

Healthier Picks at a Vending Machine

Best Snacks from the Vending Machine:

  • Original Baked SunChips
  • Special K Cracker Chips
  • BelVita Breakfast Biscuits
  • Nabisco Toasted Wheat Thins
  • Water
  • Aquafina FlavorSplash
  • Lipton Diet Green Tea
  • 100% Fruit Juices

Unhealthier Picks at a vending machine

Worst Snacks from the Vending Machine:

  • Frito-Lay Corn Chips
  • Grandma’s cookies
  • Skittles
  • Orange Crush
  • Starbucks Frappaccino
  • Whole Chocolate Milk

Snacks from Home

Healthy Snack Alternatives to bring from Home

  • Popcorn
  • String Cheese
  • Hard-cooked Egg
  • Peanut Butter on Whole-grain Crackers
  • Raw/Dark Coca powder-dusted Almonds (1 oz or 24nuts)
  • Milk
  • Nonfat Yogurt
  • Vegetables with Hummus or Greek Yogurt
  • Fruit
  • Peanut Butter on Whole-grain Tortilla