Soft Drinks Up Calorie Counts
Analysis of 88 Soda Studies Links Soft Drinks to Obesity, Disease
WebMD News Archive
Soft Drinks Just Another Food Choice? continued...
"This was a very well done, careful study," Popkin tells WebMD.
"It highlights ... the effects of sugared beverage intake on
Richard Adamson, PhD, a former NIH researcher, now serves as scientific
consultant to The American Beverage Association, the trade group representing
the U.S. soft-drink industry. His take on the Yale study is far different from
that of Popkin.
Adamson says the Yale researchers did not include important studies that do
not implicate soft drinks in obesity. He therefore wonders whether the authors
cherry-picked studies and study data that support a preconceived
And he says the study certainly does not prove that calories from soft
drinks are more dangerous than calories from other foods.
"The idea that drinking liquid calories is different than eating solid
calories is debatable," Adamson tells WebMD. "There are studies that
show it is calorie intake that is important. It has nothing to do with whether
foods are in a liquid or solid form."
If she seems to be picking on the soft-drink industry, Schwartz says, it's
"because we really feel the science is there."
She notes that U.S. soft drink consumption has grown along with the U.S.
obesity epidemic. In 1970, Americans drank 22 gallons of nondiet soft drinks
per person. By 1997, that nearly doubled to 41 gallons per person -- and
obesity went up 112%.
Tracey Halliday, a spokesperson for the American Beverage Association, says
there's nothing wrong with choosing a soft drink for refreshment -- if it's
part of an otherwise healthy lifestyle.
"It comes down to balancing calories consumed vs. calories burned,"
Halliday tells WebMD. "The beverage industry provides a range of choices,
from bottled waters to sugared beverages, and all of them can be part of a
healthy lifestyle. Adults can make healthy choices, and sugared beverages can
be part of that."
Schwartz insists that sugared soft drinks aren't just another beverage.
"The message that soft drinks are not healthy beverages has been
obscured by the industry rhetoric that any food can fit into a healthy
diet," she says. "Our paper shows that all beverages are not