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.

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.

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


Do Not Resuscitate?

You are in the middle of cooking dinner and unwinding from a long day when you suddenly get a sharp pain in your chest. You are unable to call out as you collapse and blackout. The next morning you wake up in a hospital bed attached to wires and a little delirious. A family member informs you that you had died and the doctors managed to bring you back to life. Great, right?  In most cases, many would be happy, however in the case of a Miami man the story is a little different.

A 70-year-old Miami man had “Do Not Resuscitate” tattooed on his chest when he appeared at the hospital. So, when the doctors saw the tattoo, they began to question what they should do. They did not know who this man was, let alone how to reach his relatives. While they searched for more information to help them decide what to do, they bought themselves time by giving him antibiotics, blood pressure medicine, and fluids.  At this point, they also met with their ethics counselors as they struggled to decide. The doctors were starting to choose not to attend to the tattoo because life decisions can always change while tattoos are permanent. The ethics counselors said they should honor the tattoo. The question remained, should they honor the words on his chest or ignore them?

An interesting dilemma, yet in this case they were able to resolve the issue. They took the unknown man’s fingerprints and ran them through the Florida drivers license database and came up with his identity. From there, they looked up his file at the hospital and found that he had filled out a Do Not Resuscitate form. They also discovered that this man had a history of serious health problems including COPD, diabetes, and irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation). When he reached the hospital, he had high blood alcohol levels and an infection that led to septic shock.  Once doctors established that his tattoo corroborated with the DNR form they honored it. Throughout the night the man’s condition deteriorated, and he died without undergoing CPR. But a simple tattoo like his was not legally binding.

In this case, the doctors neither supported nor disagreed with the tattoo’s message. They resolved this issue in this case, yet one can’t help but to question what would they decide if they hadn’t found the paperwork. 

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.


Anytime Fitness

  • One Week Free Trial

Legends – State Line Texarkana

  • One Week Free Trial

Sportsplex By Health Care Express 

  • $42 Student Rate



  • Free Drink with Student I.D.


  • Free Drink with Student I.D.

Gusano’s – Texarkana

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


  • 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


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


Spotify Premium For Students

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



  • 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.


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 – 

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

Be Still…

“The body benefits from movement and the mind benefits from stillness.” (Sakyong Mipham)
One may stress the importance of staying physically active and the benefits it has on the body but I think society forgets that taking care of the mind is just as important. In a world, full of things that are out of one’s control, natural disasters, and mass shootings it is difficult to find peace within the mind. When the body become overworked, the mind becomes stressed and that can lead to a person feeling overwhelmed, unhappy, and frustrated. Personally, I find comfort in meditation, something I recently started doing this year in August. Meditation is so much more than “turning off” your thoughts but more so of allowing yourself to feel okay with whatever emotions that are trying to come through at that present moment. Some may find themselves “busy” from the time the sun rise and way after the sun sets thinking there is zero time to carve out to meditate. However, meditation doesn’t have to require taking up most of your time a quick ten to fifteen minutes every day could make a big difference in your life.

Being honest and vulnerable with yourself is the key to being happy. To an extent this is why most people are unhappy or confused about themselves and about life, because instead of dealing with their emotions it’s “easier” to let things fall by the wayside. People tend to keep doing this until it finally begins to affect their daily living. I recently came across a website ( it says, “Meditation can also help us to understand our own mind. We can learn how to transform our mind from negative to positive, from disturbed to peaceful, from unhappy to happy. Overcoming negative minds and cultivating constructive thoughts is the purpose of the transforming meditations found in the Buddhist tradition.”

“The purpose of meditation is to make our mind calm and peaceful. If our mind is peaceful, we will be free from worries and mental discomfort, and so we will experience true happiness; but if our mind is not peaceful, we will find it very difficult to be happy, even if we are living in the very best conditions.”

Meditation is learning how not to let everything that doesn’t go your way affect your emotions. Sure, life is sometimes unfair and the bad things that will happen to you are sometimes inevitable, but you also have to remember that one’s attitude play a significant role in that as well. I’ve always heard that, “life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how you react to it,” do you agree with that? Referring back to the website I mention earlier it states that, “By training in meditation, we create an inner space and clarity that enables us to control our mind regardless of the external circumstances. Gradually we develop mental equilibrium, a balanced mind that is happy all the time, rather than an unbalanced mind that oscillates between the extremes of excitement and despondency.”

“Peace; it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” –unknown

How To Get More Sleep?

Sleep, what is that? Might sound like a foreign word to a vast majority of people worldwide, especially college students. It is said that people should get at least eight or more hours of sleep, but when you’re in college that is something most can only wish for. So, what is stopping students from getting an adequate amount of sleep? I’m here to talk all things sleep, how to start getting more of it and tips on sleeping better at night.

As you can probably imagine pulling all-nighters is nothing new for students and in doing so it throws off sleep patterns. So, of course, for some college students getting less than eight hours of sleep before having to report to class is the new norm. However, the real issue is that it’s not healthy for the brain or body. According to my own personal sleep diary AKA my fitbit, it tracks my sleep pattern. Some nights I’ve gotten as little as 2 hours and 43 minutes of sleep while other nights I’ve gotten closer to six hours. Either way it’s still isn’t enough to really be productive throughout the day. So, what is the secret to college students getting more sleep, here are a few tips.

1. POWER DOWN: An hour before going to bed turn off all electronics. In fact, if you have an iphone there’s a ‘do not disturb’ feature that allows your phone to not make a sound or even vibrate when that feature is on.

2. LIMIT YOUR NAPS: On average a person should keep their naps at a minimum, less than 20-30 minutes.

3. ROOM TEMPERATURE: It is said that people sleep best when the room temperature is between 68 and 72 degrees.

4. SET YOUR BODY CLOCK: Going to bed and waking up at the same times every day even on weekends are keys to a healthy sleep.

5. EXERCISE: I know that this is something that many people despise but it can be very beneficial to getting a good night’s rest. Try working out three to four hours before bedtime.

6. LISTEN TO WHITE NOISE: There are many apps and machines that offer oceans waves crashing, rain, thunderstorm, or soft classical music.

7. FREE YOUR MIND: Try meditating or writing in a journal two hours before bed. By doing this it can help relieve stress or anything that is on your mind. Also, try seeing a counselor to talk about your problems.

8. STAY HYDRATED: Sometimes if your body is dehydrated that can lead to not being able to sleep or fatigue.

9. DECLUTTER YOUR SLEEPING SPACE: Clean and declutter your room. Sleeping in a clean and organized room can actually help put the mind at ease. Also, lowering the lights and use darkening curtains.

10. EAT BETTER: Avoid eating heavy foods, if you’re going to eat something let it be a light snack two hours before bed. Try something like fruit or crackers.

Don’t Let the Flu Catch You

You are coughing, you can’t breathe, every part of your body hurts.  You roll over and look at the clock, it’s 3 a.m.  You have to get up in a couple of hours to go to class and you realize you have the flu.  What do you do?  What could you have done to avoid this conundrum?

Unfortunately, not everyone knows what to do when they are sick.  They feel they must go to school or work, despite running fever and feeling ill.  This is how the flu spreads.  Here are a few tips to avoid spreading or catching the flu.

  1. If you feel ill, and especially if you are running fever, stay home.
  2. Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
  4. Wash your hands often.  If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  5. Don’t touch your eyes, mouth, or nose.  Germs are often spread by touching something contaminated and then touching your face.
  6. Keep your home and workspace clean and disinfected.
  7. Get plenty of sleep.  Your immune system has to work overtime when you are tired.
  8. Exercise.  A healthy exercise routine keeps your body healthy.
  9. Avoid stress as much as possible.  Oftentimes, stress can weaken your immune system and cause physical symptoms.
  10. Drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious foods.  Keeping yourself hydrated and eating a healthy diet is a good way to support immune system function.
  11. Take a quality multivitamin.  Keeping your macro nutrient levels up can help support a healthy immune system.
  12. Above all, get your flu shot.  Pharmacies give the flu shot and it is covered by most insurances.  This preventative measure can save you tons of money on cold and flu medications and loss of work.

If you begin to feel ill, there are other things you can do to shorten the virus.  The over the counter, non-drowsy remedy Oscillococcinum is a great way to feel better fast.  You could also try taking Zinc, Vitamin D3, and Vitamin C to boost your immune response.

With the cold and flu season in full swing, it’s important to be vigilant.  Stay healthy!