'Most horrific ingredient'
"It's included because it is a way cheaper form of sweetener than anything else," says Bowden. "It is also one of the single most horrific ingredients in the food supply." Adding high-fructose corn syrup to foods provides little or no nutrition and but lots of calories.
If this is the case, then what about diet soda: Does it help or hinder weight loss? "There's no hard-core scientific evidence that it hinders," says Bowden. "But there is a ton of anecdotal information and intelligent observation that leads one to think that might be so.
"New research shows that noncaloric food and beverages deregulate our innate ability to judge caloric intake. Secondly, there's the psychological part: Many people subconsciously think they're taking in less calories by drinking these crappy drinks and then subconsciously allow themselves more food.
"Third, there is some suspicion among nutritional scientists that sweet tastes, through a Pavlovian conditioning method, might signal insulin to release even though there are no actual calories or sugar. This is a theory I think has a lot of merit," he says.
Taking all of this into consideration, soda just doesn't add up to be a beneficial drink. Even the label on a can states that it is "not a significant source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron."
Now that you have the facts and you're staring at a month's supply of soda you just bought, don't panic. Your purchase need not go to waste. According to numerous household cleaning Web sites, soda can clean your toilet, eliminate rust from a car bumper and remove grease from clothing. We're not kidding!
Reviewed by Susan Janoff, MS RD LD/N