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By Brandi Koskie for DietsInReview.com
You finally caught the bug and you're making some healthier choices for yourself. Maybe you're tired of your pants being too tight, or maybe tired of being winded playing with your kids. Whatever the reason, you've started making some changes. To be healthier, your go-to beverage is a little healthier, or so you think. So many women grab a bottle of Diet Coke or Snapple because of the health halo attached to them. The what? The health halo, as Kati Mora, RD describes at DietsInReview.com, "is actually a clever way to identify foods that claim to be more than what they really are." Food manufacturers slap the words "diet" or "low-fat", or even a picture of fresh fruit, on the front of a package and no one thinks twice about eating it because it appears healthy. It has a health halo. That's the case with Diet Coke and Snapple Tea. They appear to be a healthy choice. Heck, the marketing says so, the packaging is believable. While the right answer is that neither of them is great for you, in this food fight, something has to win. Which product will “win” this fight? (We promise not to just tell you "Water wins!" Keep reading to find out.)
"I am fine with bottled teas as long as they're unsweetened. Green and black tea deliver plenty of health benefits in the form of antioxidants," Cheryl Forberg, RD, the Biggest Loser nutritionist, told us. "If you're tempted to grab an artificially sweetened ice tea however, that's no better than a diet soft drink, in my opinion." Nutrition facts labels only tell half the story, you have to read ingredient labels to fully understand what's in something. Sure, Diet Coke has zero calories, but it's also made with aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, and caramel color -- basically a host of things the average consumer would need a science degree to understand. A whole host of things that aren't good for your body no matter how low in calories the product may be. Snapple's new "Tea Will Be Loved," inspired by Maroon 5, has 80 calories in an eight-ounce serving. Those 80 calories come from all natural ingredients, which include nothing more than filtered water, sugar, citric acid, tea, and natural flavors from pomegranate, orange, raspberry, blackberry, and hibiscus. While Diet Coke's label might show zero grams of sugar, and the Snapple label shows 45 grams of sugar, neither of them is any better for you. While that's 45 grams of straight sugar in Snapple, it's almost double what's in a classic Coke. Like Forberg said, it's no better than a soda. You won't find "sugar" on the Diet Coke label, but instead, "aspartame," which is an artificial chemical sweetener linked to cancer. If you're on Weight Watchers, the PointsPlus come out the same, at 3. Both of these drinks, if they're your choice, should be consumed in moderation. It goes without saying that water should be the go-to drink of choice for all of us, shooting for 64 ounces per day for the average jane. If you're very active, you should drink in ounces half of what your body weight is (i.e. a 150-pound person would drink 75 ounces of water). If tea is your thing, then brew it yourself. Not only will you save quite a bit of cash, but you can flavor it anyway you like using whole, fresh berries, citrus, or even apple slices, and calories and sugar won't even have to be questioned. There's got to be a winner, and for this food fight, it's Snapple.
More from Diets in Review: Eating Healthy on a Dime: How to Make Your Own Soda