Food Myths: The Truth Behind Diet Soda

Let’s begin with this quote. “I don’t believe in ‘diet’ sodas. Diet Pepsi and Diet Coke are still sodas. If you’re on a diet, why are you drinking soda?” I am going to go out on a limb and say that most Americans are not nutrition experts. So, when we hear of a new fad, trend, or see a label proclaiming ‘DIET’ on the front, we tend to automatically assume that product is the better choice. It is no surprise that when someone decides to tackle a diet, they switch from normal soda to diet soda, thinking it will be the healthier option. However, like the above quote states, soda is soda. Not only is diet soda not the “healthier” option of the two, but the effects can also be worse.

The main reason people switch over to diet soda is because of the calorie count. The less calories the better, right? Why waste 140 calories on a can of soda when you could still have a soda with 0 calories and put that 140 towards something more nutritious? The problem is, to have zero calories, real sugars are replaced with artificial sweeteners like aspartame.

Studies show that these artificial sweeteners tend to have the same effect on our bodies as real sugar. In a study done by RD Brooke Alpert, she found that “Artificial sweeteners trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode and leads to weight gain.” There was also a study done by the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. They compared diet soda users to non-users and discovered a 70% increases in waist circumference in those who drank the soda. Even more shocking, there was a 500% increase in those who had 2 or more a day. The average waistline increase was 3 inches in 4 years. While you may not be taking in any calories, you’re not drinking something that benefits your body in a good way either. If you want a non-caloric beverage, try sticking with water.

Not only does diet soda cause weight gain, but it is also extremely acidic. It is even more acidic than just a regular soda. We know that too much acid in our system can disrupt the balance of our intestines and destroy important gut flora. This leads to some not so fun side effects such as acid reflux.

Finally, is metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association did a study over diet soda consumption and the results should leave everyone hesitant when making the final decision on whether to drink one. Results of the study showed daily consumption of diet soda was associated with a 36% greater relative risk of incident metabolic syndrome and a 67% greater relative risk of incident type 2 diabetes compared with non-consumption (HR 1.36 [95% CI 1.11–1.66] for metabolic syndrome and 1.67 [1.27–2.20] for type 2 diabetes). This shows that caution needs to be taken when consuming these beverages. Metabolic syndrome can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. It can also lead to increased belly fat, which we already know is an effect of diet soda, and high cholesterol.

If you are trying to make the decision between diet or non-diet, you can now clearly see that just a regular soda is the way to go. Diet soda causes weight gain, high acid levels, and increases your risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.  However, if you are serious about trying to have a healthier lifestyle or lose weight, no soda is a good option too. Remember, there is nothing “diet” about diet soda.

Delicious Dishes- Christmas

It’s that time of year again. Tis’ the season to go home to family members asking what your major is, how long you have until graduation, and the ultimate favorite… are you dating anyone yet? The good news is, these family recipes I’ve gathered will taste so great that your family will be asking for your cooking secrets instead.

Sparkling Holiday Punch – Rebekah Drennon 

  • 32-ounce bottle cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
  • 1 quart orange juice, chilled
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, chilled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 bottle dry white wine, chilled (optional)
  • 2 bottles champagne, chilled (optional)
  • Orange slices

Combine juices and sugar until dissolved.

Add wine and pour over ice.

Stir in champagne before serving.

Add orange slices for garnish.

Festive Cranberry Salad – Linda Gordon

  • 2 packages lemon-flavored gelatin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries, ground
  • 1 orange
  • 2 large apples
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Mayo or salad dressing

Dissolve gelatin and sugar in boiling water.

Add next 4 ingredients – stir well.

Pour into bundt pan – chill until set.

Un-mold on lettuce leaves.

Fill center with mayo or dressing.

Garnish with orange slices.

Christmas Roast – Bill Gordon

  • 1 shoulder roast
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 sliced onions
  • 5 small red potatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup baby carrots

Brown roast on all sides.

Combine next 6 ingredients.

Add onions and carrots – simmer 2 hours.

Add potatoes – cook 45 min.

Homemade Sugar Cookies – Misty Jones

  • 2 & 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 & 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, stir together flour and baking soda, set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in dry ingredients.

Roll rounded spoonfulls into balls.

Place on un-greased cookie sheet. Cook 8-10 minutes.

Chocolate Mousse – Rachel Drennon

  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Combine morsels and 1 tbsp. sugar in top of double boiler until chocolate melts. Let cool.

Combine egg yolks and vanilla. Stir into chocolate mixture.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy; gradually add 1/4 cup sugar beating until stiff peaks form.

Fold egg white mixture into chocolate mixture. Stir well.

Cover mousse. Chill for one hour.

Christmas Fruit Squares – Linda Gordon

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 & 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup self rising flour, divided
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1/2 pound chopped red candied cherries
  • 1/2 pound chopped candied pineapple
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut

Cream butter and gradually add sugar while beating with electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time. Add 3/4 cup flour. Stir well.

Combine remaining ingredients. Dredge into 1/4 cup flour.

Stir fruit mixture into batter. Spoon into greased and floured square pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour 10 min.

Cool on wire rack and chill before cutting.

Real Heroes Wear Dog Tags

“I fold it up and put it in my shirt, pick up my gun and get back to work. And it keeps me drivin’ on, waitin’ on, letters from home.” These song lyrics from John Michael Montogomery are the reality of those who dedicate their lives to serving our country. Including Texas A&M-Texarkana’s very own, Jon Robert Beck.

Jon Robert is a Junior Business Administration student at A&M-Texarkana. He is in the Honor’s Program, serves as a Student Ambassador for our campus, and wants to one day own his own business.

However, he is not just a regular student. He also serves as an infantryman in the Army National Guard Reserves. In February 2017, he was deployed to Africa for nine months and stationed in 5 countries; Djibouti (1 month 2 weeks), Kenya (2 months), Uganda (2 weeks), South Sudan (3 months), Somalia (2 months).

Throughout his deployment there were many different living situations. He said “Depending on what county I was in altered how good or bad the living conditions were. They ranged from Djibouti being the best, with a spacious two-man room, to Somalia with twelve guys crammed into a tent.” However, this wasn’t his primary concern. Location may have played a big part in how “comfortable” he was, but it also determined how often he was able to contact home. “In Djibouti, I had internet and could call at any time, whereas is South Sudan everyone there shared one phone, so calling home was very limited.” The limited contact was hard on both Jon Robert and his family, but they tried to stay in touch as much as possible. They sent him many care packages, but one of his favorites included some Girl Scout Samoa Cookies. He jokingly admitted that food was one of the things he missed most about America. When hard times struck, and he really missed home, he did his best to make the most of it. “There was group of me and five other guys that grew a brotherhood bond that could overcome any obstacle that was thrown at us, as long as we had each other.”

He may have been deployed to several different countries, but his job in base security remained consistent. “This job had many different tasks, but mainly consisted of searching and escorting locals on the base, as well as making sure nobody breached the outer perimeter fences. In order to do this, we had shifts operating 24 hours a day 7 days a week.” His job required long days and hard hours, but he also gained a positive experience. He was able to see and interact with different cultures all over Africa, and learn the ways of local life. He said, “I was with a great group of guys that always had a positive attitude. We would keep each other’s morals high no matter what circumstance or situation we encountered.”

What he learned from being overseas is something we should all gain from. It “taught me many valuable lessons, but the one that will stick with me forever is to never take anything for granted. Sometimes you don’t realize what all you have until you are separated from it for 11 months.” Jon Robert takes great pride and responsibility in serving our country, and it means more to him than he could ever explain.

He returned to the U.S. in November and the very first thing he did was visit with family and eat a big bacon cheeseburger. The first time his mom saw him face-to-face she was overjoyed. “I was so excited and I was told I said, “Oh my God there he is!” I couldn’t get to him quick enough for a hug and then couldn’t let go of him.” This is an important reminder that mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, and children also serve. They may not be fighting a battle overseas, but they are fighting the distance from home waiting on their loved ones return.

He said the first few days back were overwhelming with seeing friends and family, but after he put those days behind him he fell back into his normal routine and it was like he never left.

When asked if he was ready to start back to school he said he was looking forward to it, and that he is already signed up for classes in the upcoming Spring semester.

It is so important that we are aware of what the military is doing for us. We can become so accustomed to having a warm bed to sleep in at night, the convenience of contacting family and friends at the touch of a button, that we forget what our armed forces are missing out on. They are the reason we have these freedoms. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you Jon Robert, and thank you to all the brave men and women that protect and serve our country.

Here are a few more thank you’s from students around our campus:

“As I sit here studying for finals, surrounded by friends, eager to complete the fall 2017 semester, it occurred to me how fortunate I am. My blessings are innumerable. I have a place to live, a loving family, I get to play baseball in a collegiate atmosphere, but my greatest blessing is my freedom. It is because of the men and women of our armed forces that I am able to do all of these things. While they are out defending the front lines, we are able to be surrounded by our family and friends during the holidays. To our men and women in uniform, past, present, and future, God bless you, and thank you for your service!” ~Bryce Hudson

“Freedom definitely does not come without a price. We take for granted all of the opportunities we have, but these opportunities have been earned for us because of the sacrifice paid by the members of our armed forces. Thank you to all of our branches in the military!”~Brooke Rayburn

“Thank you is not enough for the sacrifices those men and women make at and away from home.”~Matty B

I really appreciate the men and women that serve our country. It is such a brave thing to do.”~Katie McCorkle

De-Stress Day 2017

As final exams approach, a college students anxiety level reaches its peak of the semester. It is important to take a step back, and give yourself a mental break. The Office of Student Life held its annual de-stress day on December 6th, where students had multiple options to relax and rejuvenate before exams hit.

Activities included a massage treatment line where students received machine heated back massages, a machine leg massage, and a full body water massage.

Senior Communications student Leira Moore said, “The massage stations worked wonders on getting my mind off of final exams!  With several stations set up to massage different parts of the body, it made for a very relaxing session. The water massage was my favorite part, as cool water jets gave a full body massage. I’m really thankful that the University offers this for their students.”

The puppy petting center and adult coloring books were also a big hit.

Sophomore Kinesiology student Brooke Rayburn said, “I absolutely love dogs! The puppies brought to campus were so happy, energetic, and sweet. It was nice to be able to take a break from my studies and play with the adorable pups.”

For tips about how to make it through finals week successfully, check out the article below written by Communications student Sharda James.

http://eagleeyemedia.org/?p=3197

Best of Luck! Remember, keep calm and make it to Christmas break.

 

Fuel For Finals 2017

There is no better way to gear up for the end of the semester than good food and great prizes!

A&M-Texarkana’s annual “Fuel for Finals” is Wednesday, December 6th from 8:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. in the University Center Cafe. Campus Activities Board, Student Government Association, and the Office of Student Life are hosting the event.

Campus Activities Board Officer Shannon Lovelady said, “Fuel for finals is a fun way to get students away from studying while having breakfast for dinner served by their favorite faculty, and also the chance to win a prize through the raffle.”

Admission is free for all students with a campus I.D., and everyone in attendance will be entered to win cool prizes and gift cards.

College Student Discounts

Between paying for tuition, books, the dining hall, and a dorm room your budget probably seems a little slim. What if I told you there are tons of discounts you can get just for being in college? From everyday essentials to specialty items, these companies want to treat you to savings created specifically for college students.

Also, don’t forget to pick up a personal discount card designed for Texas A&M University-Texarkana at the front desk of the University Center. It has great deals for businesses in the area.

FITNESS

Anytime Fitness

  • One Week Free Trial

Legends – State Line Texarkana

  • One Week Free Trial

Sportsplex By Health Care Express 

  • $42 Student Rate

FOOD

Chick-Fil-A

  • Free Drink with Student I.D.

Chipotle

  • Free Drink with Student I.D.

Gusano’s – Texarkana

  • Show Student I.D. and Discount Card for 10%.

Subway

  • Show Student I.D. For 10% Off

Taste & See

  • Show Student I.D. For 10% Off

Twisted Fork – Texarkana

  • 25% off All Pizzas with school discount card.

Waffle House

  • Show Student I.D. For 10% Off

General 

Amazon Prime for Students

  • 6 Months Free
  • 50% off Prime Membership After Trial
  • ALL Prime Benefits including FREE 2-Day Shipping
  • Added College Deals

FedEx Student Discount Club – With Student ID

  • 20% Off Envelope Shipments
  • 30% Off Package Shipments
  • Available at FedEx Stations

Sam’s Club

  • Offers Student Membership and Benefits
  • See Local Club

UPS – Richmond Texarkana

  • 10% Off Printing Services

MUSIC

Spotify Premium For Students

  • $4.99 a Month
  • Includes FREE access to Hulu.

Services

Geico

  • Students can save up to 15% on select coverages with a minimum of a B average.

Nationwide Insurance

  • Drivers up to 24 years in age can get discounts with a minimum of a B average.

State Farm

  • Offers up to 25% off insurance for students in good standing.

TECHNOLOGY

Adobe Creative Cloud

  • 60% Off Creative Cloud Application Bundle
    • Includes PhotoShop, Lightroom, AdobeXD, Illustrator, InDesign, Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Dreamweaver, Acrobat Pro, 20+ Desktop and Mobile Apps, Free Tutorials, Regular Upgrades

Apple Electronics – https://www.apple.com/us-hed/shop 

  • Student Pricing available for current and newly registered college students.

Mistletoe Fair 2017

This weekend, the Junior League of Texarkana kicks off the holiday season with the 32nd Annual Mistletoe Fair at the Four States Fairgrounds.

Junior League member Courtney Boeckmann says “Mistletoe Fair is a great way to kick off the holiday season.  From holiday shopping for friends and family, to seeing the magic of the season with the arrival of Santa Claus, to watching a showcase of local animal shelter pets in need of a home called Strut the Mutt, there is something fun for everyone at Mistletoe Fair!”

Day passes can be purchased for $7.00 at the door. For events like “Breakfast with Santa,” “Story Time with Santa,” and “Santa’s Workshop” it is a good idea to purchase in advance because they sell out fast. Tickets can be purchased at the website listed below.

https://www.jltexarkana.org/?nd=ticket_list&fundraiser_id=20

General Admission Hours:

Friday, November 17th Noon-8:00 PM

Saturday, November 18th 9:00 AM-7:00 PM

Sunday, November 19th Noon-5:00 PM

Strut the Mutt:

Sunday, November 19th from 2:30-3:30pm