Soft Drinks, Soda and Weight Loss

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sodaweightlossSoda and other sugary soft drinks have been getting a bad rap for awhile, and in the opinion of this Hound Dog, rightfully so. Drinking soda is unhealthy on so many levels. If you are a soda drinker, one of the surest ways to lose weight is to cut out the sugary, sticky, “liquid candy.” Even if you are not overweight, consuming soda amounts to nothing more than non-nutritious empty calories.

And if you think drinking diet soda is any better for you, think again. Studies have shown that individuals who drink two diet sodas or more a day, had waistlines that were as much as 500% bigger than non-diet soda drinkers. Furthermore, ingredients in many diet soft drinks have been linked to cancer, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes and other health risks.

In a controversial public policy move, in September 2012 New York City banned the sale of sugared beverages larger than 16 ounces at restaurants, mobile food carts, sports arenas, and movie theaters  The Hound and many other diet and fitness advocates applaud the legislation, the makers of colas and other sodas, not so much.

 Soft Drinks, Hard Facts

It has been estimated that since the 1990s we have added on average of between 600 and 1300 calories to our daily diets – and half of that comes from soda and other sugary soft drinks. On average between 20 –25% of our total caloric intake now comes from beverages. An average 12 oz soft drink contains around 600 calories!

Not only is that a big chunk of your daily caloric requirement, but these are what nutritionists refer to as “empty calories.” 600 calories from a soda will not make you feel satisfied the way 600 calories in food will, so it becomes very easy to drink a second, or third, or more, going way over your daily calorie requirement. But additional calories are only part of the problem.

Not only are all of those additional calories and extra sugar contributing to the obesity epidemic in this country, but most soft drinks sold in America are sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Southern California combined to create what is called a meta-study. The two institutions looked at the use of HFCS in 42 countries, and found that in the countries where use of HFCS is high, there is a 20 per cent greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes compared to countries who do not use it at all.

To top it all off, many of the dyes and colorings used in soft drinks have been linked to cancer.

 Soda Manufacturers Push Back

Not surprisingly, soda manufacturers are not happy with the “bad press” about soda, and they – most notably Coca Cola – have opened 2013 with a propaganda campaign of their own. The ads which began running in January show lots of happy, not-obese people enjoying soda, and points out the many low and no-calorie beverages available from the makers of coke. The “surgery” voiced narrator of the spots seems to blame people for being overweight and not soda, saying that “no matter where you get your calories from, even soda, if you take in more than you burn off, you will gain weight.”  But for an ad that is supposed to tell the “truth” about soda and obesity, there is a noticeable lack of overweight people in the commercial.

The Hound and many others are reminded of the ways tobacco industry advertising denied the health risks of cigarette smoking for years.

There are many good reasons to stop the pop, and if it’s those bubbles that you crave go for a sparkling water instead!

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