The dining hall juice machine has undergone a recent update. The door of the machine was replaced with a new door that has electronics that can switch the type of juice dispensed. With this update, the juice machine not only dispenses juice, but also transitions to “enhanced water” after breakfast.
This change is controversial within the student body, with 63.4% of students surveyed saying they prefer juice over the new enhanced water.
Mr. Richard Maxwell, manager of the Thacher Dining Hall, explained the reason for the change.
“We saw an easy opportunity to provide something a little different for the community. We have very limited space for beverages and because it works with the juice machines that we already have, we could make a change without needing more space.”
Thacher students were divided in their responses on their beliefs about the health of the new enhanced water. One third thought that enhanced water was more healthy, another third said it was less healthy, and the remaining third of students said they were unsure.
The Sunkist website reports that the enhanced water contains some vitamins: an 8 oz. glass contains 20% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C, 25% of Vitamin B6, and 4% of Vitamin B12.
The new enhanced water does not contain sugar; rather, it is sweetened with sucralose, a synthetic sweetener.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, sucralose can only be partially metabolized and thus does not contain many calories. This sweetener is approved by the FDA and is thought by researchers to be generally safe. In a 2008 study by Duke University, however, researchers found that sucralose contributes to obesity, prevents prescription drugs from being absorbed, and destroys good intestinal bacteria.
In the anonymous poll, one student responded with the belief that enhanced water is even more unhealthy than regular juice.
“People believe the allusion of “zero calories” or “zero sugar” is better for you than normal beverages but they are completely naive to the destructive qualities of artificial enhancements. It is better for you to drink processed sugar than it is to drink artificial sweeteners, something not a lot of people know.”
In the poll for favorite enhanced water flavors, Strawberry Kiwi and Tropical Mango almost tied, at 34% and 33%, respectively, while only 7 students rated Blueberry Pomegranate Acai as their favorite flavor.
Another student commented that the flavors seemed unsatisfactory.
“Tropical Mango is tolerable, though a little sweet. The other flavors are too sweet or taste terrible. I’m looking at you Blueberry Pomegranate Acai.”
When asked whether the juice machine on the other side of the dining hall would be converted to a combined juice/enhanced water machine, Mr. Maxwell said he had no current plans to do so.
“For now, I do not anticipate changing that machine. If we have the demand for more enhanced water, we can always have the other machine converted.”
Some students suggested other ideas for new beverages that could be offered such as infused water with fresh sliced fruits or virgin mojitos.