The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

An attack on our God-given free will

During my four years at Malvern, there have been quite a number of monumental changes. The Dean of Students position has changed three times. A theatre giant has passed the reins to a new age. The “Oracle of Carney” (Miss Walsh, for those who don’t know) has retired and comic books have entered the classroom. But, there seems to be something even bigger at stake this year, something so huge, so colossal, it has the entire student body up in frenzy. What could be such an important issue? What could unite upper and lower school students alike? Malvern has welcomed a new Head of School this year, Mr. Christian Talbot, who has brought a new sense of leadership and style to campus. This new leader, however, isn’t what has the students in a state of frenetic uproar. It’s the fact that there are no longer ANY drinks in the cafeteria whose labels don’t read “diet” or “no sugar added.” These are horrible, terrifying words to many. What are we going to do?

Now, I for one don’t entirely mind the change. I welcome the new options such as Fuze and Crystal Light beverages. Others, however, don’t share these sentiments. Many students, perhaps faculty as well, feel as if they are being robbed of their basic drink freedoms. Granted, it’s only soda, but to many, being told they can no longer consume their coveted carbonated sugary goodness, well, that could be worse than death itself.

A recent study conducted by researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio has proven in a controlled setting that waist sizes of diet soda drinkers were, on average, five times as large as those who consumed regular, non-diet soda. The artificial sweeteners trick the brain, causing the person to consume more high-calorie foods to quell one’s cravings. Other harmful effects caused by diet soda are largely biological, due to the fact that diet soda contains absolutely no nutrients. Lab rats were given a diet with high levels of aspartame, an artificial sweetener used in diet soda. The rats, contrasted with another group of rats who consumed only a high-fat diet, showed extreme increased levels of blood glucose, a diabetes risk factor.

Is limiting Malvern’s soda options really the best health benefit for its students? I think not. I’m not saying that regular soda is all that nutritious either, but it’s certainly better than diet, both in regard to health and taste. The other beverages can stay, but for the benefit of the school, the diet soda restriction needs to be lifted. Imagine a society where the only available carbonated beverage available is diet soda. It’s a scary thought. I’ve heard some rumors of regular Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper being smuggled across Warren Avenue. Hopefully the Beverage Police won’t make an appearance.

Jim Klinges, class of 2013, feels as if his choices have been threatened. “I think that taking away regular soda is unnecessary and that the choice to live a healthier lifestyle should be in the hands of the students and not forced upon them. The Administration could try to educate the student body on the problem with sugared drinks instead of simply taking them away without warning.”

Joe Barrett, class of 2013, also had some words to say on the matter. “I believe that it is an attack on our god-given free will.”

Matt Hoban, a recent graduate, had an opposing opinion, for the most part. “Well, from a health perspective I guess that [banning sugared drinks] was probably a good move. But, I did enjoy very many sugared drinks in my days at Malvern, and they surely would have been missed if I still went there. Especially the chocolate milk; I feel for you guys for the chocolate milk (assuming that included chocolate milk).”

Thankfully for Matt and for the students at Malvern Prep, chocolate milk has remained—for now.

In a recent letter to parents, Mr. Talbot said in order to replace the energy from sugar consumption we should simply get more sleep. As we all know, that feat is completely impossible and a ludicrous suggestion for a current high school student who has to deal with SAT prep, AP classes, college applications, homework, sports, activities—the list is infinite. More sleep isn’t a solution. I know  I speak for the entire student body when I say we want our normal drinks back.  To the person who asks, “Can’t we have both?” you obviously didn’t take Mr. Ostick’s Economics class.

This change is unwelcome and I’m sure it will be a hotly debated issue at the next town hall meeting, if those are still a thing. Change isn’t always for the better.

Matt Lanetti and Kevin Cloetingh offer input on the new drink options

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