I'm guilty... I go through 'phases' of soft drink consumption and I am trying to lose 5 or so pesky pounds. I'm thinking, after reading this article, that I might find it easier to stay away from the sodas for a while:
Here is the “food police” indictment of soda and its sugar-sweetened co-conspirators. You be the judge:
Soft drink consumption rose more than 60 percent among adults and more than doubled in kids from 1977-97. The prevalence of obesity roughly doubled in that time. Scientists say these parallel trends are one criterion for proving cause-and-effect.
Numerous studies link sugary drink consumption with weight gain or obesity. One by Ludwig of 548 Massachusetts schoolchildren found that for each additional sweet drink consumed per day, the odds of obesity increased 60 percent.
Another at Harvard of 51,603 nurses compared two periods, 1991-95 and 1995-99, and found that women whose soda drinking increased had bigger rises in body-mass index than those who drank less or the same.
- Count Two: Physical evidence.
Biologically, the calories from sugar-sweetened beverages are fundamentally different in the body than those from food.
The main sweetener in soda — high-fructose corn syrup — can increase fats in the blood called triglycerides, which raises the risk of heart problems, diabetes and other health woes.
This sweetener also doesn’t spur production of insulin to make the body “process” calories, nor does it spur leptin, a substance that tamps down appetite, as other carbohydrates do, explained Dr. George Bray of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.
“There’s a lack of fullness or satiety. The brain just seems to add it on,” said Dr. Louis Aronne, a Weill-Cornell Medical College doctor who is president of the Obesity Society.
Two studies by Penn State nutritionist Barbara Rolls illustrate this. One gave 14 men lemonade, diet lemonade, water or no drink and then allowed them to eat as much as they wanted at lunch. Food intake didn’t vary, no matter what they drank.
The second study gave 44 women water, diet soda, regular soda, orange juice, milk or no drink before lunch. Total intake was 104 calories greater for those given caloric beverages than those given diet soda, water or no beverage. Caloric drinks didn’t help women feel any fuller either.
Then there is the “jelly bean study.” Purdue University researchers gave 15 men and women 450 calories a day of either soda or jelly beans for a month, then switched them for the next month and kept track of total consumption. Candy eaters ate less food to compensate for the extra calories. Soda drinkers did not.
- Count Three: Bad influence on others.
Sugar-sweetened beverages affect the intake of other foods, such as lowering milk consumption. Popkin contends they also may be psychological triggers of poor eating habits and cravings for fast food.
He examined dietary patterns of 9,500 American adults in a federal study from 1999-2002. Those who drank healthier beverages — water, low-fat milk, unsweetened coffee or tea — were more likely to eat vegetables and less likely to eat fast food.
Conversely, “fast-food consumption was doubled if they were high soda consumers and vegetable consumption was halved,” he said.
Harvard epidemiologist Eric Rimm saw a similar effect in a different federally funded study of more than 5,000 young adults. With high soda consumption, “you see this pattern of less healthy intake across the board,” he said at the obesity meeting.
- Count Four: Consistency of evidence.
Many studies of different types link sugary drinks and weight gain or obesity. Some even show a “dose-response” relationship — as consumption rises, so does weight.
Collectively, they meet many criteria for proving cause and effect, Dr. William Dietz, director of nutrition at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote in an editorial accompanying a study in February’s Journal of Pediatrics.
Link to the full article
Link to DC Poll thread