THE BLOG

Giving Your Kid Diet Coke For Breakfast

06/21/2012 05:36 EDT | Updated 08/21/2012 05:12 EDT
Coca-Cola

We all have our methods for keeping up with the demands of the day. Some of us have a green smoothie, maybe some coconut water, maybe even plain old-fashioned water. Some of us take the time at the start of the week to get prepped and ready with all our meals.

Then there are those of us who down a half dozen bottles of artificial chemical beverages a day.

To each their own right?

Right... sort of. I am all for people making the decisions that best suit their needs, but what happens when they start imposing their decisions, ones that may not be in the name of health and optimal brain functioning, on their children?

Did you see the recent interview in USA Today with Coca-Cola's president of sparkling beverages Katie Byrne? The one where she makes sweeping and inherently wrong nutritional statements like "a calorie is a calorie" and "sugary drinks can be a part of any diet as long as your calories in balance with the calories out"?

A little outraging, right?

Here is an excerpt:

Q: Is anyone at Coca-Cola trying to figure out a way to get sugar out of all drinks?

A: There is a large portion of the population that relies on the carbohydrates and energy in our regular beverages. When my son gets home from school, he needs a pick-up with calories and great taste.

Q: How much Coke should a kid drink a day?

A: We don't make recommendations on what kids should drink. But a 12-ounce can of Coke has 140 calories, the same as a lunch-box-size bag of pretzels.

The metabolic effects of sugar are widely known -- or at least I thought so. And a 12-ounce can of coke is comprised of 39 grams of sugar which is seven and a half teaspoons, seven and a half sugar cubes or an addition of over 10,000 calories per year just by sipping.

This much sugar in anything that also happens to be completely void of any protein, fat or fibre -- which could potentially help to offset the flood of the addictive white stuff through the blood -- throws your adrenaline into overdrive, essentially abuses every organ system of your body, disrupts brain chemistry, and can actually have a serious effect on your perception of the world.

How about this one:

Q: What do you say to those who believe that sugar -- particularly in soft drinks -- works on the brain like an addictive substance?

A: There is no scientific evidence.

Ms. Byrne, I encourage you to have a read of this study and this one. Pretty sure that's what we call scientific evidence. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine. The irony. Is Coke more addictive than coke? (Share today's tweetable!)

When asked what she drinks in a day, Ms. Byrne offered the following:

Mini Diet Coke while cooking breakfast for my family.


After the kids leave for school, I go for a run and then have a Powerade Zero.


At work I may have a Diet Coke in the morning.


Gold Peak Tea in the afternoon.


In the middle of the afternoon, I may have an 8-ounce Coke.


She caveats that list by saying she'd "rather have that than a candy bar or cookie for a pick-me-up."

Here's my question, what comes first? The consumption of artificially sweetened, mineral leaching, dehydrating, brain buzzing followed by energy crash-inducing beverages? Or the need for a pick-me-up?

Some may even argue that to give a child a can of Coke after a day at school is a bit of child abuse. Children need "pick-me-ups" after school because they've been burning up glucose all day long with all the learning they're supposed to be doing. Same, actually for adults. Kids don't need a sugar caffeine cocktail. Neither do adults.

Our brains will only work as well, and our energy will only be as steady as what we are using for fuel. Getting a "pick-me-up" from sugar or worse, artificially sweetened, caffeine-laden beverages is only feeding a cycle of lower brain function, nutrient malabsorption, and nutrient leaching. Need I even mention the chemical leaching that goes on by putting the highly acidic drink that is Coke into a plastic bottle?

Now Coke will likely come after me again, like they did when I talked about how Coke Makes You Fat and I may even get more hate mail like I did that time when I stated that the only thing Coke was good for was cleaning my frying pans -- but typically those responses just feed the notion that we are what we eat. Is it any coincidence that the Coke junkies typically have the most aggressive, adrenaline fuelled acidic responses to anyone who suggest it may not be the best choice?

Were I given the opportunity to interview Katie Byrne I would have four questions for her.

How is your sleep?

How is your pooping?

While sipping your Diet Coke pre-run, early in the morning, what are you cooking for your family?

Would you be open to a challenge where, for two weeks, you replaced every naturally or artificially sweetened Coke brand beverage with a green juice?