As far as I’m concerned, the only soda in the world (diet or otherwise) is Diet Coke. I don’t drink it because it tastes like caloric Coke, I just purely love the way it tastes. The flavor has got that je ne sais quoi, unnamable quality . I mean, I certainly wouldn’t describe it as caramel, though I’ve sometimes heard that was the original prototype for the elixir’s flavor. And the ingredients do include vanilla and cinnamon, but again, that’s definitely not what I would call it.
In any case, I don’t really care that I can’t name the flavor. I feel like I’ve been catching so much flack for drinking Diet Coke lately, though! I’ve been making appointments with a trainer/nutritionally minded person as of late, and part of what that entails is keeping records of everything I eat and drink. Every time that diet soda plays part of the day’s log, the red pen comes out.
And I understand that from a nutrition standpoint, Diet Coke is an empty food. It’d be better to drink water. Duh. But what I think is being discounted here is that – okay, let’s say it’s a given that at some mealtimes you want a beverage that isn’t water. Now, on the spectrum of Non-Water Drink Choices, hasn’t Diet Coke got to be a lot smarter than many many other options? Like Coke. Or a smoothie. Or beer.
So what I suppose I’m trying to say is, let me drink my diet soda in peace! Stop telling me that it will make me fat! I took Data Methodology classes in undergrad, and I know that there’s a difference between correlation & causation!
The afore-linked article references a study where people who drank diet sodas were shown to have bigger waistlines than those who didn’t. To that I say – so what! Just because you can prove that the kind of person who is drinking diet soda is more likely to be fat, you can’t prove that diet soda is the reason they’re fat.
Here’s a related example that draws on the same logic: My sociology professor told us in class once that people who read the newspaper report feeling safer & trusting the government more than people who watch the news on television. He asked us why that might be.
Lots of people sat there pontificating on how perhaps the newspaper doesn’t report as much violent crime, or television makes us jaded. That’s looking for Causation, the same as saying that drinking Diet Coke causes you to be overweight.
The reason turned out to be that, on average the kind of person who reads the newspaper is older than people who get their news from television, and older generations report trusting the government more. That’s Correlation.
The point is that Diet Coke can, but doesn’t have to, accompany bad eating choices. If you eat an entire large movie popcorn and wash it down with diet soda, I can see how that would cause your waist to expand. And plenty of people do exactly that. But what if I want to eat broccoli with my Diet Coke, can you look me in the eye and tell me that’s wrong?