How to Beat Your Craving for Soda
Are you drinking too many soft drinks?
Does the guy who restocks the soda vending machine at the office know you by
Do you drink diet soda with your morning bagel?
Could your child say "soda" before he said "milk" or
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could be drinking too
much soda. Soda's not as popular as it used to be. Beverage Digest
reported in March 2006 that U.S. sales of drinks like Coke and Pepsi were down
the previous year by 0.7%, the first such drop in 20 years. But we still bought
more than 10 billion cases of soft drinks last year.
Soda: Nothing but Liquid Calories
Where's the problem? Every can or bottle of sugared soda adds hundreds of
calories to your diet -- but absolutely no nutritional value. In fact,
according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, soda is the single
greatest source of calories in the American diet, representing about 7% of our
Soda is also a big source of health problems, say many researchers. Multiple
studies link excessive soda consumption with obesity. For example, a study of
Massachusetts schoolchildren found that for each additional sugary drink a
child drank per day, his odds of becoming obese increased 60%.
"Studies funded by the beverage industry have suggested no link between
soda and childhood obesity; studies funded by everyone else have begged to
differ," says David Katz, MD, an associate professor of public health
practice at the Yale School of Medicine.
Soda has been linked to many other health problems. Various studies have
found that soda may raise the risk of diabetes. Everyone knows soda can damage
tooth enamel. And some research indicates that soda could increase the risk of
osteoporosis, either by pushing milk out of the diet, or because caffeine can
interfere with calcium absorption.
The osteoporosis issue is particularly a problem for adolescent and teenage
girls, who tend to drink a lot of soda.
"There's a relatively short time frame in our lives to achieve peak bone
mass, and during that time, when girls should be consuming more milk and less
soda, that's exactly the opposite of what happens," says Alison Field, DSc,
associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a researcher on
obesity in children, adolescents, and women.