Full sugar soda or diet? That is the question

Every now and then something happens and I feel the need to write about it. Last week someone said something to me in conversation that at first just passed over my head, I thought it odd but didn’t think much of it after the fact. Then it became relevant again.

The story and the event leading up to this blog post is about something we come into contact with everyday – the sugar tax. If you’re not from the UK, is a two tiered tax levy introduced in April 2018 to encouraged manufacturers to reduce sugar in soft drinks and consumers to think twice about buying them. Ultimately this tactic worked as the consumption of soft drinks fell within the year, with experts saying it benefitted public health without destroying the industry.

Good. We can agree that less sugar in our soft drinks is a good thing. If we want a full sugar drink (even though it has less sugar in it now) we have to pay tax on it but that is within our prerogative as the consumer – or diet alternatives are available.

Last week I was with a few people and we got talking about the sugar tax and one of the girls told a story about a recent experience she had at a restaurant. Due to the fact she doesn’t drink alcohol, she tried to order a coke, but was told they only sold diet, so she tried to order a lemonade and again was told they only sold diet. Then she explained to the waitress that she was unable to consume artificial sweeteners and couldn’t drink diet drinks due to health reasons.

This is something I understood, because I suffer from migraines and shouldn’t consume artificial sweeteners. The story ended with them leaving the restaurant before the drinks were even ordered. This got discussed at length within the group, the very idea a restaurant would naturally deny a customer something like coke and lemonade and only offer diet alternatives seemed odd.

I didn’t think much of this once I left, but then my parents went to KFC and my dad who hates artificial sweeteners, ordered a Pepsi with his FRIED CHICKEN (I’ll get to the irony of ordering diet drinks alongside fatty food in a moment) but when they served him his food they gave him Pepsi Max. What annoyed my dad more than anything was the customer service; one being served the wrong drink and two not being pre-told when he first ordered a Pepsi and being offered something else because it was no longer on the menu – which I think is understandable.

What bothers me about the whole experience is that at the end of the day it is a persons choice what they put into their bodies AND taking a full sugar drink off the menu at a fast food restaurant WILL NOT help the nation lose weight.

This may like an abstract post for me, but my point here is not to preach about weight loss or weight gain but merely point out that you have a choice as the consumer, and a restaurant shouldn’t be able to take that away from you.

I understand that the government is trying to tackle the obesity crisis, because it’s draining on the NHS. However, I don’t think the government is going about it the right way. Let’s be honest, we are a society who rely on fast and convenient food and drink. A 140Kcal can of coke is nothing when you can buy a McDonald’s burger for 99p and get Starbucks delivered… Who is so lazy they can’t even make their own coffee?

I guess, I’m just hoping that more restaurants don’t start only offering diet alternatives and axing the whole full sugar soft drink. To me it is just illogical to remove a full sugar drink thinking it will change the weight of the nation but continue to offer cocktails, wine, assorted alcohols, and saturated fats like they’re not just as damaging to a persons waistline (and overall health).

Logic = None. That’s it.

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