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News: November 4, 2009

Soft Drinks Take a Toll on Your Health

November 4, 2009

The only positive thing one can say about soft drinks is that they taste good, but the price people pay in terms of their health for that good taste can be high. When we look at the benefits and risks associated with soft drink consumption, the risk side of the equation is clearly the winner-and consumers are the losers.

For example, a meta-analysis of 88 studies conducted by researchers at Yale University found a clear association between intake of soft drinks and an increase in calories and body weight. The analysis also found a relationship between soft drink intake and an increased risk of several medical conditions, including diabetes and obesity.

A new study in the Journal of Hepatology (November 2009) found a strong relationship between consumption of soft drinks and the development of fatty liver disease, a condition that may affect up to 29 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that consumption of carbonated colas was associated with reduced bone mineral density, which leads to osteoporosis. A Loyola University study found a relationship between drinking sugary soft drinks (but not diet ones) and kidney damage.

Why are soft drinks unhealthy?

There are many answers to this question. One of the most important is sugar: a single serving of most soft drinks contains more than ten teaspoons of added sugar, which means drinking just one soda brings you to the daily limit for added sugar in the diet set by the US Department of Agriculture for a 2,000 calorie diet. Sugar has no nutritional value, and it also takes a toll on the body, raising insulin levels to a point where the immune system is suppressed, reducing the ability to fight infection.


Soft drinks are often consumed in place of beverages that have nutritional or health value, including nonfat and low-fat milk, natural fruit juices, green and herbal teas, and pure water. Soda also adds "mindless" calories to the diet, as people often do not think about the calories they drink. Excess sugar is stored as fat in the body, contributing to overweight and obesity and increasing the risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Soft drinks have also been linked with an increased risk of gout in men.

Soft drinks with carbonation contain phosphoric acid, which can deplete the body's supply of calcium, contributing to bone loss over time. And if you think that drinking diet soft drinks is a healthier choice, think again. Consumption of artificial sweeteners found in soft drinks may actually contribute to weight gain. Aspartame, for example, stimulates the brain, increasing a craving for sweets and carbohydrates.

California study and soft drinks

The results of a recent (September 2009) study in California may be considered representative of an association observed between soft drink consumption and overweight and obesity across the United States. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) study noted that 24 percent of adults consume at least one soft drink or other sweetened beverage daily. Adults who consume soft drinks occasionally (not daily) are 15 percent more likely to be overweight or obese, while those who have one or more soft drinks daily are 27 percent more likely to be overweight or obese than adult who do not drink soda.


Alternatives to soft drinks



For people who are dedicated soft drink users, it can take a while to get away from the sugary habit. Cold pure water flavored with fresh lemon or lime juice and a touch of honey is one alternative, as are 100 percent natural fruit juices. The latter should be diluted to reduce intake of sugar and calories, approximately three parts pure water to one part juice. Other alternatives for soft drinks are green tea, which has the added bonus of antioxidants; and herbal teas, which are a refreshing choice as well.




Archive issues: (50)

Archive list: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 [11] 12 13 14 15 16 17

November 14, 2009 | Helping Children Cope With Stress

As adults we think of childhood as being happy and carefree, however today our world is different. What kinds of stress do children experience? Children in today's world have many concerns. Typical stresses would include school work and socialization however, the stress doesn't ...

November 13, 2009 | California H1N1 study shows high rates of death over age 50

An examination of H1N1 fatalities in California shows that after hospitalization, most deaths from swine flu occurred in those over age 50. The findings differ from reports that H1N1 flu primarily affects younger people and causes mild illness.  The study, appearing in the November 4 issue of JAMA, revealed that thirty percent of H1N1 flu cases have required admission to intensive care units.  Janice ...

November 12, 2009 | Increase in hot tub injuries raises concern for children

New findings show that over the past two decades, injuries from hot tubs have been increasing. A national study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital found that hot tub injuries increased from 2,500 to more than 6,600 injuries per year between 1990 and 2007. Most injuries occur in those over age sixteen, but children are ...

Archive list: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 [11] 12 13 14 15 16 17

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