Author - Nir Keinan

Earth Nature & Tech Science

Giant Telescope the Focus of Hawaii Protest

Hawaiian activists led by native elders are protesting against the construction of a giant telescope atop the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain, which they say is sacred ground.

Colette has more:

Hawaiian activists led by native elders are protesting against the construction of a giant telescope atop the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain, which they say is sacred ground.
Colette has more:

City Life Cool Stories

Urban Hacking: 5 Inexpensive and Cool City Hacks

Urban planners learn a lot from the modifications citizens make on public spaces, whether that’s creating “goat trails” where there aren’t proper sidewalks or hacking infrastructure. These modifications tell urban planners how cities need to be adapted in order to grow.

Urban hacking is one of the most direct ways we have of shaping our city into what we want it to be, and these hacks often lead to permanent solutions. Urban hacks range from taking over disused public squares and installing seating for seniors to bringing humor and fun to everyday scenes.

What urban hacking does is turn public space and urban landscape into a huge playground where people can express their creativity and better their city. Here are 15 inexpensive and cool city hacks to be aware of!

  1. Shopping Cart Sports by Florian Riviére

Florian Riviére is a French artist and activist that has come up with many different city hacks. His project “Don’t Play, Play” encourages people to stay in the parking lot of shopping centers instead of going inside.

For this purpose, parking spots are modified with white tape to turn them into courts for sports such as tennis, hockey, basketball, etc., using shopping carts as nets or structural supports.

  1. Wanderest Chair for Seniors Attached to Light Poles

Light poles can easily become the backrest for seats with “Wanderest”, from designer Nichola Trudgen. This leaning stool can be easily attached to any octagonal or circular light pole and they’re installed in retirement areas where there’s no public seating available.

  1. Info Pillars

Info pillars can be found in Toronto and they often show advertisements instead of actually useful information for people who are exploring the city on foot.

They also block important sections of the sidewalk, making it difficult for pedestrians. That’s why the creative team known as cARTographyTO hacked 35 of these info pillars and replaced the ads with maps, sculptures, art, and chalkboards.

This got the public’s attention, of course, and it encouraged them to reconsider the use of these info pillars.

  1. Tram Track Skateboarding

In Bratislava, Slovakia, the width of the tram tracks match perfectly with the width of a standard European pallet.

When this pallet is modified with parts to keep it in place, it becomes a sort of skateboard that zooms across the city with minimum effort, guided by a map of the city.

This project from Slovakian artist Tomas Moravec is meant to serve as a new transport vehicle that changes spatial perspective of users and the life of the city as well.

  1. Urban Terrasse: Adaptive Furniture by Damien Gires

In France, designer Damien Gires takes octagonal cardboard boxes and places them in anti-parking posts on sidewalks, turning them into mini tables for adjacent cafes.

This project is known as Urban Terrasse, and it’s meant to make sidewalks more functional and to encourage cafe patrons to get more involved with their city environments because it shows them it’s in their best interest.

Urban planners learn a lot from the modifications citizens make on public spaces, whether that’s creating “goat trails” where there aren’t proper sidewalks or hacking infrastructure. These modifications tell urban planners how cities need to be...

Animals

‘Wall of Sharks’ is a Real Phenomenon, and it Only Happens Once a Year

If you’ve ever wondered where the annual grey reef shark conference is, well, here’s your answer. Every year on the full moon of July, hundreds of sharks gather off of the island of Fakarava in French Polynesia, specifically in the south passage, a phenomenon that has been named the “Wall of Sharks.”

This area is one of the largest shark sanctuaries in the world, so it’s typical that you’d find a larger amount of this particular sea predator than you normally would in other places. However, on this single day of July, the usual number of about 250 sharks could shoot to a radical 900 all at one time.

So, what causes this astronomical change?

Well, this narrow passage where the open sea meets a lagoon is particularly full of sea life, enticing sharks to partake of plankton, fish, and more. However, it’s on the full moon of July that thousands of marbled groupers arrive to mate; in fact, it was while researching the aggregation of these groupers that biologists first discovered the gathering of grey reef sharks.

The groupers spawn over 20,000, providing the sharks a celebratory feast!

The pass is relatively quite small in comparison to this amount of sea life in it at once. In fact, “when diving inside, you can see both sides of the channel,” says shark researcher Dr. Johann Mourier. And, so, we have the nickname “Wall of Sharks.”

Brave Diving Challenge

Since it’s discovery, this site has become a favorite spot for courageous divers from all over the world. Top Dive hosts guided dives around French Polynesia year-round as well as during the short “Wall of Sharks” timeframe. The southern pass is a site to see all throughout the year – a “veritable undersea Garden of Eden,” according to Top Dive.

“Diving with 900 sharks?!” you might be thinking. And considering what sharks are rumored to be, it’s right to be alarmed. However, underwater photographer Lauren Ballesta assures divers that they are generally safe as sharks see humans as “obstacles not prey.”

Don’t base all your beliefs about sharks off of movies like Jaws. Sharks are vital to our ecosystem and are in need of our protection.

Whether or not your ready to dive in and enjoy a swim with these sharks, this phenomenon is simply incredible, one of the thrilling moments nature gives us to enjoy.

If you’ve ever wondered where the annual grey reef shark conference is, well, here’s your answer. Every year on the full moon of July, hundreds of sharks gather off of the island of Fakarava in French Polynesia, specifically in the south passage, a...

Earth Funny Stories

Blue Java Bananas Are A ‘Sweet Treat’ You Can Grow Yourself

Out with the old, in with the new – the new being Blue Java bananas; they have the color of turquoise and the flavor of vanilla ice cream.

With Cavendish bananas heading toward extinction, people are thrilled to discover the creamy texture and unique, sweet flavour of the Blue Java banana – and who wants boring, old yellow bananas anyway?

These bananas were first discovered and grown in Southeast Asia, but they thrive in all tropical climates, such as Hawaii or even Northern Australia.

A Banana, By Any Other Name

The Blue Java banana goes by multiple names; the ‘Ice Cream’ banana, the ‘Hawaiian’ banana, and Cenizo bananas are just a few of them. These trees are great because in addition to the delicious, unique fruit they produce, they also produce it quickly with lots of shade, as well.

The fruit is a silvery or bright blue color when it isn’t ripe, but turns to a yellow similar to Cavendish bananas when it’s ripe and ready to be devoured. Fun to eat both raw or cooked, they’re exceptionally delicious served with ice cream or frozen custard.

The Blue Java variety of bananas is tough, unlike the Cavendish which is facing the risk of extinction due to problems with cloning and rampant disease.

The Blue Java thrives most in places like Fiji, the Philippines, Hawaii, and even some of the southern states in America – all places with warmer climates.

Attempting to grow them in the midwestern United States probably wouldn’t work though the plant has a strong root system and is hardy, wind-resistant, and cold tolerant up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

On average, you’ll find Blue Java bananas at a length between seven and nine inches, and the trees themselves typically reach 15 to 20 feet and bloom anywhere from 15 to 24 months following planting.

Where Can They Grow?

The bananas have a pleasant aroma and flavor. Check your geographical zone, and see if you can grow them in your own climate; they do best in zones eight through ten, but they also grow in greenhouses.

A potted plant may produce bananas as soon as nine months, and if you can’t find a local specialty grocer near you that carries blue bananas, you can find them on Amazon!

The thought of Blue Java banana’s creamy, fluffy texture combined with a vanilla ice cream flavour is tempting foodies everywhere with the possibilities they offer. Those on a diet can indulge in one without even cheating!

Commenters on Reddit had a lot to say about this phenomenal fruit. User 4ftFury commented, “Totally! Bananas are actually super tough, resilient plants – I believe in you!” Nate1899 responded, “I live in Florida, just north enough that our banana trees get burnt by the freezes.

Very disappointing. This would be perfect!” User GoHomeWithBonnieJean wrote, “It’s only a matter of time before the Cavendish banana is wiped out.

The reason why bananas are the cheapest fruit in the market is that the current banana sold is based on a monoculture.” It looks like blue bananas couldn’t have arrived on the market soon enough!

Out with the old, in with the new – the new being Blue Java bananas; they have the color of turquoise and the flavor of vanilla ice cream.

With Cavendish bananas heading toward extinction, people are thrilled to discover the creamy texture and unique...

Inspiring Stories Science

Happy Uplifting Music Will Increase Creativity

A study was performed in 2017 and published in PLOS ONE by Simone Ritter from Radboud University in the Netherlands and Sam Ferguson from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. The study showed that listening to happy uplifting music will generate creative innovative solutions in comparison to silence.

Creativity plays a very important role in our world today.  Creativity generates innovative ideas for a wide range of issues that are addressed with new ideas. One question that constantly arises, what promotes creative understanding?

This has been widely debated and studied and even though music has previously shown to benefit cognition, very little is known how listening to music really affects creativity.

Emotional Music

A further study showed that researchers had 155 participants who completed a questionnaire and were then split into different groups.  Each group listened to 4 different styles of music covering calm, sad, anxious, and happy, depending on their positive or negative emotions.  High or low arousal was also taken into consideration and there was one group that just listened to silence.

Once the music started, the participants performed different tasks that would test their different and connecting creative thinking.  Those who scored the highest had come up with the most creative, original solutions. Those who came in with a single possible solution to a given task scored higher in convergent creativity.

Researchers found that those who listened to classical music, or happy music, showed positive demeanor, high arousal, and promoted creativity thinking vs those in silence. The researchers believe that happy music may actually enhance flexibility in thinking.

In turn, additional solutions might not have been taken into consideration if the participants were in silence when trying to create.

The study clearly showed that creativity may be enhanced through music.  Further research could reveal the different ambient sounds that may affect creativity and those participants of diverse cultures, different ages, and levels of musical knowledge.

The authors also believe that further studies may show that music could promote creative thinking for solutions that are inexpensive and efficient for different areas including scientific, educational, and organizational settings.

A study was performed in 2017 and published in PLOS ONE by Simone Ritter from Radboud University in the Netherlands and Sam Ferguson from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. The study showed that listening to happy uplifting music will generate...

Nature & Tech Science

Cassini Finds New Complex Details On Saturn’s Ring

NASA’s spacecraft, Cassini,  has revealed even more intricate details on the rings around Saturn.  The craft’s mission ended two years ago but NASA is still collating data on the planet.  This latest revelations shows new temperatures, colors and textures within the planet’s complex ring system.

In Science magazine, a new paper shows how the rings interact with the particles around them, leading scientists to conclude that the rings are part of the processes that directly impact upon our solar system.

Cassini was able to identify fine details such as patterns and texture which varied in appearance and structure.  Cassini’s close-up images have shown that there are 3 distinct textures present in the rings – clumpy, streaky and smooth areas – that happen with sharp boundaries and are not necessarily connected to any specific characteristics already identified within the rings.

It has also provided maps showing changes in chemistry, temperature and color that exist across Saturn’s rings.  The data was collected initially between December 2016 and April 2017, names by NASA as the Ring Grazing Orbits (December 2016 to April 2017) and between April to September 2017, the Grand Finale of the mission.

Clues about the ring’s origins

Cassini’s observations have allowed NASA scientists to conclude that the outer edge of the ring systems were likely to have been hit at the same time leading to the similarly generated streaks that can be seen in the F ring.  It is likely, therefore, that the rings was not shaped by comets or other space debris at random, but instead by the materials that circle the planet.

The otter mystery found by Cassini was discovered as a result of the  visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) detecting weak water-ice bands.  Scientists were surprised to see this in the A ring’s vicinity.  The reflective nature of this water could indicate the presence of less contaminated ice and water bands.

Spectral imaging has also given a great insight into the composition of the rings.  As well as water which was already known, scientists have discovered that there was no ammonia or methane ice.  However, no organic compounds were seen.

The science team have been excited to establish new information about what was going on in the rings but as each question is answered more arise, making the Cassini project one to watch in the months and years to come.

NASA’s spacecraft, Cassini,  has revealed even more intricate details on the rings around Saturn.  The craft’s mission ended two years ago but NASA is still collating data on the planet.  This latest revelations shows new temperatures, colors and...

Earth Science

Floating Islands Could Be Essential for Combating Climate Change

Unless you speak to the most self-assured climate change denier, just about everyone can appreciate the reality of climate change. We just need to look around us and see the ever-changing conditions in which we all live within.

It’s a scary thing, climate change, and it can play a huge role in how we do everything. It’s now an emergency that we must act on as a species: how we react to it, though, will be essential in creating a safer world. Thankfully, people far smarter than myself are working on creating some outside of the box solutions to the problem at hand.

For example, the creation of floating islands that then convert the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere into something else could be the secret. Scientists have been working on coming up with theories on what we can do to stop or at least slow down climate change. If enough of these were built, the research team in Norway and Switzerland believe, we could stop the build-up of so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

By creating them on large oceanic parts of the planet that aren’t going to be so prone to uncompromising weather, too, we could help to limit the extent of global warming in a relatively short space of time. However, it’s obvious an idea that, at the moment, is still a long way from being complete.

When published as part of the PNAS paper, the proposal, titled ‘Solar Methanol Islands’, was put forward as a wacky but realistic solution to put ourselves back on track to, you know, save the planet.

An interesting (but unlikely) idea

In their announcement of the paper, the lead authors wrote: “Humankind must cease CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning if dangerous climate change is to be avoided,

“However, liquid carbon-based energy carriers are often without practical alternatives for vital mobility applications. The recycling of atmospheric CO2 into synthetic fuels, using renewable energy, offers an energy concept with no net CO2 emission.”

Apparently, the idea was able to evolve from a Norwegian government request that they start putting fish farms out at the open sea. It was then seen as a problem as these fish farm grids would need an energy source – how would that be possible? And then the idea of such islands began to appear.

By using photovoltaic cells that turn solar energy into actual power, they would also use hydrogen produced and CO2 extracted from the seawater to ensure this is entirely sustainable. Putting it through a reaction, too, they would create a form of methanol that would then be used as a fuel source.

Seemingly, 70 of these islands could be used to make up a single square-kilometer worth of these islands. They would be placed in areas where waves can reach significant heights, that have high water depth, and which are likely to be safe from issues such as a hurricane.

However, before we start thinking we’ve found ‘the’ solution to climate change, slow down. The science team believes they would need around 3.2m of these islands to be made: with production not even started on one, we might need something a bit faster to stop what is quickly becoming the major battle of our time.

Unless you speak to the most self-assured climate change denier, just about everyone can appreciate the reality of climate change. We just need to look around us and see the ever-changing conditions in which we all live within.

It’s a scary thing, climate...

Earth Science

Did Water on Earth Come From the Moon?

The origination of water on the earth has long been a quandary for scientists, but a new research published in the journal Natural Astronomy poses a new theory.

Scientists from the University of Münster in Germany are suggesting from their study that the debris of a Mars-sized body called Theia which has been thought to form the moon also brought water to our planet. The Theia theory is called the “giant impact hypothesis.”

Since our planet is thought to have formed in a dry inner solar system which lacked substance, scientists have long been unable to figure out where the source of water originated.

“The formation of the moon and the origin of Earth’s water are two of the fundamental open questions in cosmo-chemistry,” Gerrit Budde, the study’s lead author, told Newsweek. “Unraveling these processes is essential to understand the early evolution of the solar system, the formation of planets and the development of life.”

The solar system split in half

Scientists have previously surmised from the little they know about the world’s origin that the solar system was split in half for the first million years – that is, if their timeline is correct. When Jupiter formed, it was like a barrier against the exchange of materials between the inner and outer regions. Most of what they know about these matters is speculation, however.

The outer solar system was populated by meteorites containing water-rich “carbonaceous” material. Meanwhile, the inner solar system was filled mostly with non-carbonaceous meteorites that lacked water.

One of the more popular explanations for where the Earth first got water is that the “carbonaceous” bodies from the outer solar system brought large amounts of carbonaceous material to the earth. This explanation is still yet to be proven, however, and scientists haven’t been able to figure out when it could have happened or what the quantities involved may have been.

Scientists have attempted to get to the bottom of this issue by analyzing data on variants of a silvery-white metal called molybdenum which they obtained from a meteorite as well as terrestrial rock samples.

Fortunately, isotopes, which are variants of a chemical element that differ in the number of neutrons, allowing the scientists to clearly distinguish between carbonaceous and non-carbonaceous materials, which has given them slight leeway in discovering the truth.

“By comparing the molybdenum isotope composition of Earth and meteorites, for the first time we were able to constrain the timing and amount of the addition [of] outer solar system material to the Earth, as well as the origin of the moon-forming impactor and Earth’s water,” Budde said.

“In short, Earth’s water was delivered by water-rich carbonaceous material that derived from the cold outer solar system, probably beyond the orbit of Jupiter,” he said. “This happened relatively late at the end of Earth’s main growth history, and this material was delivered most likely by the giant impactor—Theia—that also caused the formation of the moon.

In turn, this means that the impactor itself originated from the outer solar system—it is generally assumed that Theia originated in the inner solar system near the Earth.”

All in all, it’s clear that there is much more to this issue than meets the eye. With so many things unclear about how our planet came to be, it makes one speculate about the theory of one Designer who planned it all.

The origination of water on the earth has long been a quandary for scientists, but a new research published in the journal Natural Astronomy poses a new theory.

Scientists from the University of Münster in Germany are suggesting from their study that the...

Nature & Tech Tech News

‘Squishy’ Robots Can Jump From Huge Heights – and Survive

Every year, we seem to find more and more stories that show us both the horrifying power of AI, and the incredible potential that it holds. However, for years, these stories are becoming more and more impressive; further examples of just how much society as a whole is changing.

One of the most recent findings was that a host of new robots that are capable of jumping from a helicopter – and landing safely – are here.

These ‘squishy robots’ have quickly become a very impressive example of where robotic science could go. Indeed, these ball-shaped robots were made by staff at UC Berkeley and Squishy Robotics. They managed to create robots that can fall as high as 600ft and not take any kind of fall damage whatsoever.

Seemingly, they are also able to move and shift into different shapes so that they can get out of unique and tough spots. It’s quite the story and could make them perfect for use in high-risk areas, such as disaster zones.

Their ability to analyze ground conditions, and to be dropped into tough areas from high heights without damage, is incredible. As is their ability to help shift and move into different forms to help fit into even the tightest of spots.

Help in Disaster Zones

UC Berkeley mechanical engineering professor, Alice Agogino, was very impressed. She stated: “Our rapidly deployable mobile sensor robots are designed to save lives, reduce costs and risks and increase the effectiveness of the emergency response,

“They can survive a high drop into a disaster zone and provide life-saving information to first responders. They can also work as co-robots with their human partners on the ground when they arrive on the scene.”

These robots could be used for all manner of solutions, and could eventually be used to help make disaster zones a little safer. However, they also have some very interesting uses that could be put to practice in day-to-day life, as Agogino noted:

“We are still working with NASA on a space probe, but as excited as I am about space robots, I was motivated to apply this technology to Earthly applications when I saw a report by the Red Cross and Red Crescent that 400 first responders lost their lives to save others in the last 20 years. Many of these lives could have been saved with better situational awareness before entering disaster zones,

“Our robots get information that first responders need in order to stay safe and respond faster and more effectively.”

This is all very impressive and shows the rapid and impressive growth of robotics equipment. With uses in both emergencies and disasters, these tools could be used to help make sure that more lives are saved, and fewer lives are lost. It’s set to be a major hit when it eventually becomes something that could be genuinely used on the field.

Every year, we seem to find more and more stories that show us both the horrifying power of AI, and the incredible potential that it holds. However, for years, these stories are becoming more and more impressive; further examples of just how much society as a...

Inspiring Stories Science

NASA Finds Beresheet Impact Location on Moon

When NASA carried out a large chunk of its unmanned missions away from our planet, we are often waiting a long time to find out the results of the study.

One particular conclusion that we often hear is that there has been some form of crash, or that the particular probe or unit has been left to its own devices. A fine example of this was on the 11th April mission when SpaceIL sent up the Israeli Beresheet spacecraft.

This first-ever private spacecraft made it to the moon but had problems in the final phase of landing and crashed. Therefore, it was left on the moon with no real way of being able to save it.

NASA used its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to look out for the Beresheet and has now found it on the Moon. They took a snap of the point of impact, with the LROC taking a shot around 56 miles from the surface. They found a 10-meter wide smudge on the ground which, according to the experts, is the point of crash for the Beresheet.

It’s uncertain if it left a crater, or if it just dented the surface. More investigation and close-up imagery would be needed to help confirm that particular information. According to NASA, though, it’s possible that the crater the little spacecraft left behind could be ‘too small’ to have left a full crater, saying: “It’s possible the crater is just too small to show up in photos,

“Another possibility is that Beresheet formed a small indent instead of a crater, given its low angle of approach, light mass (compared to a dense meteoroid of the same size), and low velocity (again, relative to a meteoroid of the same size; Beresheet’s speed was still faster than most speeding bullets).”

Good Shot

The LRO camera which managed to get the shot has been circling the moon for around a decade. It passes a part of the Earth satellite on a twice-per-month basis, once during the lunar day and once during the lunar evening. By using a series of wide-angle and narrow-angle cameras, this manages to capture some pretty spectacular shots.

This latest find, though, could be a quite important one for making sure that in the future we know exactly where important tools sent up to the Moon have vanished.

According to NASA, though, it’s important to note that the landing site is not yet conclusive. As they mentioned, the fine soil particles which came up during descent could have created a highly reflective surface.

Others suggest that it would be gas that has come from the crash. Either way, NASA noted: “There are many clues that we’re actually looking at a man-made crater instead of a meteoroid-caused one,

“This is an important consideration, since the Moon, having no atmosphere, is constantly bombarded by space rocks that leave craters.”

So, while we might not get a definitive answer until it passes again in late May, at the moment it looks like we know where the Beresheet has landed.

When NASA carried out a large chunk of its unmanned missions away from our planet, we are often waiting a long time to find out the results of the study.

One particular conclusion that we often hear is that there has been some form of crash, or that the...

Science

New Crystalline Material Sparks Interest in Scientific Community

Whenever we find something new in this world, we have a tendency to want to know everything about it. In a world so full opportunity and discovery, it makes sense. With our immense ability to research and evaluate just about anything we find, why not find out everything that we can about, well, everything?

Sometimes though, we can find objects that totally shatter the conventional rules of what we thought we knew.

For example, a new crystalline material has been found that appears to have electronic properties never seen in the past. This unique new material was found recently and is made up of a mixture of aluminum and platinum.

It’s got a set of electronic properties that are unique, in that we have never seen their likes in the past. This was picked up in the Nature Physics science journal. Apparently, the structure is capable of producing Rarita-Schwinger fermions through its interior and also its Fermi arcs. That’s very interesting and shows a material state that behaves like an actual particle.

The finding is noted to be of significant importance moving forward. The research team working on it at the Paul Scherrer Institute, using the Swiss Synchrotron Light Source SLS, used this to observe the particles for the first time. It’s a very interesting finding and one that breaks away from a lot of conventional findings.

Unusual formation

Indeed, there is a repeated pattern of atoms taking place in a cube-shaped style, forming a cell unit of up to two elements. Inside this particular crystalline formation, there is a different layout. Normally, there would be a symmetry of sorts taking place within. This is different, with a slightly offset design in the middle. This forms what is known as a helical line.

This is known as a chiral crystal – a pair of mirror images, in essence. It’s very exciting and is the kind of finding which is often exceptionally rare in these particular fields. By using the SLS X-ray in conjunction with photoelectron spectroscopy tools at PSI, they were able to look at these unique electrical properties.

They found that it was not only chiral; it was also topological, meaning that it shows resistance to defects.

The hope is that, in time, this kind of finding could be used to assist in the creation of high-end computing equipment, such as quantum computing, in the near future.

Whenever we find something new in this world, we have a tendency to want to know everything about it. In a world so full opportunity and discovery, it makes sense. With our immense ability to research and evaluate just about anything we find, why not find out...

Health Lifestyle

Study Suggests Diet Soda Can Cause Weight Gain

A recent study published in the journal Pediatric Obesity, presents new evidence which suggests that children who drink diet soda are consuming 200 extra calories each day.  The study suggests that opting for the low-calorie option in an attempt to lose weight can actually cause weight gain.

The scientists compared teens who consumed diet soda to those that drank water.    A surprising finding was that those drinking diet soda were still receiving the same total dietary intake of calories as those drinking the regular sugary version.

Water is the best choice

The study, which took place at the George Washington University, was headed by Dr. Allison Sylvetsky.  The findings recommend water as the best option and confirms that the results of the study challenge the commonly accepted opinion that low-calorie or diet drinks were useful in weight management.

Dr. Syletsky’s team have conducted may studies on drinks over the years, and have found that as well as low-calorie sweeteners in drinks, children and young adults also eat these sweeteners in other food and drinks.  In fact, during the period between 1999 and 2012 their consumption in this age group leapt by a massive 200%.

Despite the growing popularity of low-calorie sweeteners, there is still no concrete knowledge as to how this affects a child’s calorie intake, and there is no guarantee that the sweeteners contribute to weight loss.

Diet drinks don’t reduce calorie intake

Between 2011 and 2016 Dr. Sylvetsky and her team examined the dietary records of 7,026 children and teens who had been enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  In the survey, the participants self-reported everything they ate and dank within a 24-hour period.

The research was focused on those who were drinking sodas – either with low-calorie sweeteners or regular sugar.  The team compared those drinking the soda with water drinkers and discovered that those having diet drinks were consuming extra calories and they were taking in more sugar from other types of food and drink.

Accounting for body weight, the researchers compared the results for soda drinkers and water drinkers and found that:

  • Those children who consumed diet sodas increased their daily intake by 196 additional calories.
  • Drinking regular soda (sugar-based) led to an intake of an extra 312 calories each day.
  • Drinking both the diet and regular versions of drinks resulted in an additional 450 calories being consumed each day.

Weight gain can kill

The findings of Dr. Sylvetsky and her team are important because of the health effects of weight gain.

At present, the figures for American children state that 1 in 3 is overweight or diagnosed as obese.  Weight gain is a key factor for increased risk of type II diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and other health issues.

The data suggests that there is a link between drinking low-calorie drinks and consuming more calories and sugar throughout the day.  They are skeptical about claims that diet drinks help in weight loss.

Experts continue to give advice to parents with organizations like The American Heart Association advising against long term consumption of these low-calorie drinks.  Dr. Sylvestky confirms that this is good advice.  Children, teens, and adults drink should drink more water and add whole grains, fruit and vegetables to their diet.

A good alternative to diet sodas, she suggests, is to add some 100% fruit juice to some sparkling water.

A recent study published in the journal Pediatric Obesity, presents new evidence which suggests that children who drink diet soda are consuming 200 extra calories each day.  The study suggests that opting for the low-calorie option in an attempt to lose...