Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Soda Consumption and Obesity in America

Americans consume an excessive amount of sodas, loaded with sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and/or other sweeteners annually. Excessive intake of sodas and other sweetened drinks have been linked to the high incidence of obesity in the US. "The consumption of HFCS increased over 1000 percent between 1979 and 1990, paralleling the increase in obesity, according to the authors of an article in the March 2004 issue of AJCN.

Facing Your Soda Drinking Problem
To put it bluntly, excessive soda consumption is a major part of America’s obesity problem. Anyone who argues with that has his head deep in the sand. To prove the point, I challenge you to give up sodas for 6 weeks. If you succeed, you will be amazed at how easy it is to lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Case in point: In a recent 28-day challenge on the Dr. Oz (TV) Show, Dr. Roizen took the challenge and reported that he had lost 5 pounds by cutting out sodas. 

Can you give it up?
Frankly, I don’t think that many people will be up to the challenge. Call it habit. Call it addiction. Call it whatever you like. But if you are hooked on sodas; if you can't go a few days without having some, it is a habit that many people find hard to break.

The problem with drinking too much soda 
1) You are putting added sugars, which contributes to disease-causing inflammation in your body
2) You are consuming excessive amounts of phosphoric acid
3) You are adding empty calories which easily contribute to unhealthy weight gain, which in turn has been linked to the development of diabetes and a number of other chronic diseases
4) You are most likely eliminating foods that are necessary to give you the health-promoting, disease-preventing nutrients you need for optimum health

The Problem With Diet Sodas
Even if you drink so-called diet sodas, you are not doing your body any good. In case you have not heard, artificial sweeteners, known in the food industry as non-nutritive sweeteners, aren’t any better than the sugar or high fructose corn syrup found in regular sodas. In fact, recent studies suggest that artificial sweeteners fool your taste buds and alter your ability to control food intake. It stimulates insulin secretion, increases the feeling of hunger and leads to increased food intake. This obviously defeats the reason you used the artificial sweetener in the first place.

You only need to look around you to see that artificial sweeteners have done absolutely nothing to ease the obesity crisis. In fact, the increasing incidence of obesity has paralleled the increase in consumption of sodas, both sugar/high fructose corn syrup sweetened and artificially sweetened.

"The consumption of HFCS increased > 1000% between 1970 and 1990, far exceeding the changes in intake of any other food or food group. HFCS now represents > 40% of caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages and is the sole caloric sweetener in soft drinks in the United States. Our most conservative estimate of the consumption of HFCS indicates a daily average of 132 kcal for all Americans aged 2 y, and the top 20% of consumers of caloric sweeteners ingest 316 kcal from HFCS/d." I was so struck by the referenced article - that I felt compelled to share this quote with you.

Sodas are bad for you. Remember that the next time you reach for a soda, ask yourself if you would be better off with a good old-fashioned glass of water. Want a little flavor in it? Squeeze a little juice from a lemon or lime and drink.

Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a r...ray et al. 79 (4):537 - - American Journal of /clinical Nutrition