Soft drinks, indeed

After reviewing 40 years’ worth of scientific literature and analyzing data from 30 key nutrition studies, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have concluded that sugar-sweetened sodas are the primary culprit in driving up rates of obesity and overweight in America during this time frame. The full text of the article, which appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is here.
That slugging back a sixer of regular Pepsi, Mountain Dew or Coke every day can lead to weight gain isn’t a shocker. What is surprising is the number of people who do it. Given that diet varieties of every popular soda are available and that the advent of aspartame and Splenda has made their taste virtually indistinguishable from that of sugary versions, you would think that more people — especially those aware of gaining weight — would switch to the no-calorie renditions. This option isn’t available when it comes to Big Macs and pepperoni pizza, so I find it odd that so many Americans continue to obtain so many additional calories from soda when they have viable alternatives. Maybe more people than I realize are truly hooked on sugar itself and not just the taste of their preferred soda.

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  1. #1 by Koray on August 12, 2006 - 10:20 am

    I also notice that drinking carbonated drinks makes me feel hungry sooner. Then I tend to eat more.

  2. #2 by bj on August 12, 2006 - 10:22 am

    many people I know stay away from diet drinks because they think artificial sweeteners will give you cancer, or that diet drinks are “girly.”
    Personally, I just stick to what I loved as a kid – water, OJ, and milk.

  3. #3 by kevin on August 12, 2006 - 10:25 am

    ok anyone who really believes that diet drinks taste just like the normal ones doesn’t know what theyre talking about, or are just lying to themselves. All the diet sodas taste super-metallic to me. I know honest people who say that they realize the diet sodas taste different, but that they enjoy it anyway and have developed a taste for it. Regular sodas taste weird to them now.
    And to echo bj, I know people who are afraid of the cancer-causing artificial sweeteners too. However, milk? Ew. Are we the only creatures that actually think its OK to drink a liquid, that comes from another species, that is meant for that species young? And that its OK to drink it into adulthood? that doesn’t strike you as weird? It freaks me out!

  4. #4 by Jim on August 12, 2006 - 10:28 am

    “Ew. Are we the only creatures that actually think its OK to drink a liquid, that comes from another species, that is meant for that species young? And that its OK to drink it into adulthood? that doesn’t strike you as weird? It freaks me out!”
    We may be the only creatures who drink the milk of another creature but I don’t think that that’s any more weird than wearing the fur or skin of another creature for warmth or adornment, stuffing the intestines of a creature with other parts of that (and perhaps other) creature(s) and frying or boiling it, or any of the other bazillion things humans do with animals that other animals don’t because they don’t have our brain capacity.

  5. #5 by Dlanod on August 12, 2006 - 10:30 am

    I am guilty of choosing “sugar” based versions of soft drinks over the diet versions. For the most part I feel that the artificial sweeteners negatively change the taste of the drinks I like. The only one that comes close, for me, is Diet Dr Pepper and its flavor doesn’t hold a candle to the original Imperial Pure Cane Sugar based version (only available from the Dublin, TX bottling plant.)
    I don’t generally have very many soft drinks anymore, though. The high fructose corn syrup just doesn’t have the same flavor for me. My caffeine of choice is coffee, black.
    Also, as we all know the obesity problem in the US is the result of our lack of calorie burning. I drank a lot of soda as a kid, but I was always on the move and didn’t gain weight. Once I reached my thirties I didn’t move around as much and I put on weight. Just get everyone moving around and we’ll take care of a lot of the health problems we have.

  6. #6 by Dlanod on August 12, 2006 - 10:31 am

    My cats also like cow’s milk. If they had opposable thumbs and ready access to cows I’m sure they would have a lot more cow’s milk in their diet than they currently do.
    Opportunity is the main reason more species don’t consume the milk of other species. Humans have just developed the tools (both biological and mechanical) to make this consumption easier.

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