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Soda Drinkers Beware!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Basically, the gist of the article is that a study was done that showed that when women went from drinking 1 can of regular pop a week to 1 a day, they gained an average of 10 lbs over a 4 year period. So the conclusion is that soft drinks make you fat and debating about whether or not a warning labels should be added to that effect.


I expected, when I saw the warning, some kind of warning like carbonation was linked to reflux or that yellow 5 might cause liver disease or something. I don't understand why soft drinks have come to be viewed as such an evil. Especially since the study shows a similar weight gain with fruity drinks.

I keep reading about how soft drinks have "caused" the current obesity epidemic and various strategies, from warning labels to an extra tax, should be implemented to stop it. While I've heard all sorts of interesting, and sometimes conflicting, stories about the effects of sugar and high fructose corn syrup on appetite and how the body stores fat, near as I can tell it's not POP that causes weight. It's calories.

Admittedly, maybe I'm not the best example because according to the calories in/out model, I should have reached my goal weight ages ago. But I actually CUT my pop consumption in half or more.... and gained an average of 10 pounds a year for 5 years (whereas when I was drinking 2-3 cans of pop every day, I stayed the same weight--on the low end of the healthy BMI--for over a decade). I have, except for the occasional treat, mostly cut juice entirely. I eat mostly healthy most of the time (I aim for the 20/80 rule and if 30/70 is maybe more accurate, it's a work in progress). In theory, I cut about 1200 calories a day from diet right there, not to mention the other dietary changes... but the pounds aren't coming off.

My weight gain seems to be mostly caused by

1) a hip injury resulting in an abrupt and long term sedentary lifestyle
2) stress
3) possibly medications (I'm not sure what role medications have played, if any, but I have read some health news stories which suggests that it could have played a part)
4) getting older/metabolism changes (I suspect too that I really screwed my metabolism up in gradschool when I had no money).

Obviously, if my diet had adequately kept up with the other changes in my life, maybe I wouldn't have ballooned 50 pounds. Maybe I wouldn't have stretch marks not from pregnancy but from rapid weight gain. But seriously, putting a warning label on pop saying that it causes weight gain is so overly simplistic it's ridiculous. Are you going to put the same label on the meat counter? On the bread aisle?

I'm not saying pop is healthy, because it's not. It's empty calories--worse, empty calories that don't help you feel full, so you eat more. But there are more calories in a Starbucks fancy coffee or Chai (seriously--I had a chai awhile ago at a local coffee shop and was shocked that it was over 400 calories!) And if people can lose weight on a diet of purely twinkies, or purely taco bell, then clearly junk food, in and of itself, does not CAUSE weight gain.

There are many many reasons why Americans are overweight and that growing numbers of people are obese. Sure, soft drinks have a role in that, along with fast food, tv dinners, sedentary jobs, donut urban planning, neighborhoods that are not pedestrian friendly, people not feeling it safe for their children to play outside, shorter recesses, school lunches of low nutritional value, snack foods, coffee shop coffee, portion sizes, restaurants not serving healthy options, (or very limited healthy or low calorie options), cable tv, the fact that many of us live in areas without effective public transport.... the list goes on.

Slapping a label on a soft drink? It's like slapping a band aid over a spurting artery. It doesn't begin to address the true underlying causes--consumption, lack of active lifestyle, etc.--and accomplishes nothing.

If you want the government to do something about obesity, than have it do something really useful, like create programs that help kids be active, incentives to encourage businesses to provide fitness centers and give incentives for employees to use them, create streets and sidewalks where people can safely walk, run, or bike, create parks, encourage small businesses in neighborhoods over box stores on the edge of town, encourage restaurants to post accurate nutrition information and to have healthy options--and make it easier for patrons to chose those healthy options. Make healthy options at the grocery store more affordable or encourage urban gardens so that even the most poor can afford things like vegetables and lean meats.

Do they think people aren't aware that there are calories in a regular soft drink? That soft drinks are actually good for you? Have they done studies to show that people will change their consumption patterns because of the labels.... and that this will be enough to curb the obesity problem?

I'm not saying that nothing should be done to address the problem. It's a real concern. But I don't think that labeling soft drinks is an effective answer. It's a simplistic answer for a complicated problem--as if by slapping the label on, the problem will just go away when the label doesn't begin to address the real underlying issues.

The underlying issues are complicated and the solutions aren't cheap. But I'd rather see that the government invest the money effectively elsewhere than to throw good money on a bad program.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 5/25/2011 7:05PM

    I agree that warning labels are not the answer. I would like to see more done to help everyone eat a healthier diet and get more activity. It is a sop to law makers conscience because they know what needs to be done but don't want to bear the consequences of going against the popular vote.

I do however note that diet sodas, at least for me had/have consequences beyond calories and a proclivity to want more sweet stuff. It also aggravated my condition. I lost focus more easily, had more days where I was spacey and just not all there. There is something in the diet sodas that also increase my inflammation. So giving up soda was a choice, just like eating better and exercising more is a choice. It's about finding the balance.

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SPARKGIRL32 5/24/2011 6:51PM

    LOVED this blog! You should look up the documentary "Fat Head" on Hulu-I think you'd really enjoy it!

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PEGASI51 5/24/2011 12:14PM

    This is a topic I've been really interested in for a while. I have a friend who swears that there is a real link between artificial sweeteners (like in diet soda - what I drink) and how your metabolism processes sugar, what you crave, etc. I'm not really sure what to believe, but for now I'm going on the premise that diet soda isn't caloric/bad, but neither is it a substitute for water - which means it doesn't count towards my 8 glasses a day.

Thanks for posting!!

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  Labeling a soda will do doesn't do anything for cigarettes or alcohol.

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MILLER*TIME 5/24/2011 10:11AM

    awesome post!!! I drink diet soda pretty regularly, especially if I'm craving something sweet or staving off hunger for a little while and I've never gained weight from it. Regular soda is definitely empty calories (not that diet is healthy by any means) and I can see how that might lead to weight gain but you're 100% correct when you said it's calories in versus calories out. SO I agree with you that labeling soft drinks isn't the effective answer. Lots of valuable info in there!!

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EUPHRATES 5/24/2011 12:48AM

    Very good points lady!

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    I totally agree with you that POP is not the number one enemy! Sure it isn't a vitamin and something you should take everyday,but it is not the worst thing out there. I think portion control is one of our society's biggest problems. If you look even at McDonalds and the size of burgers they sold compared to now it is hundreds of calories different.Anyways I really like your internal thought process here and thank you for sharing it!!

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MONETRUBY 5/23/2011 8:21PM

    I really like your analogy of a band aid over a spurting artery. So very true-you can put warning labels on all sorts of things, but that won't solve the problem. It's about the amount of calories, not what kind of calories. It's been shown over and over again that there are many pieces in the weight loss puzzle-no one thing is going to solve the problem, just as no one thing caused the problem. You make some excellent points, and I can't add anything to them. Great post!

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JULIENMM 5/23/2011 5:33PM

    I have not jumped on to the "soda is evil" bandwagon for a few reasons. One is because I only ever drink diet soda. No sugar and no calories. So how could that make me gain weight? Studies rarely differentiate between diet sodas and regular sodas, making me conclude that both sides are evil. Well, I don't believe it (about diet sodas).

About a year ago, my mother told me that the reason I was fat was because I drink 2 Diet Cokes a day. (I don't drink coffee or tea, so I have one in the morning instead of coffee and one at lunch.) I told her the reason I was fat was because I didn't exercise and I ate cheeseburgers, fries, and cookies, and that because I was fat, I drank Diet Coke instead of regular Coke. In other words, I drank diet soda because I was fat, not I was fat because I drink diet soda.

She proceeded to tell me that Dr. Oz says that all soda is evil. I told her that my 2 Diet Cokes a day habit was at least better for me than her 2 packs of cigarettes a day habit and she told me that smoking is better for you than diet soda!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!R>
Now, I love my mother dearly, but sometimes I just have to wonder what people are being told out there....

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    I bought the soft drink hype many years ago. I quit drinking soda all together. Mr. Pibb was my brand. Yummy. Over the next 5 years I continued to gain weight.

This article is what is known as a weak relationship. Sure, soda is empty calories, but as you mention, the true problem is excessive calories regardless of source and being lazy.

For some reason there is this need to identify a single, simple source of the obesity "epidemic" while everyone ignores the true source. Everyone wants the single, simple thing they can eliminate in their lives for the weight to magically come off. It isn't there and those who are chasing it are wasting time. I have a lot of respect for Becky, and this article, to her credit, is old. She may have shifted her position slightly, I don't know. But a warning label is way too far. Besides, this has had limited to no success with any other substance (i.e. tobacco and alcohol) because everyone already knows that soda is not a good decision.

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GODDESSELLIE07 5/23/2011 4:53PM

    Interesting that its only a 10 pound gain in 4 years. If I did the math right, 7 sodas each week instead of 1 soda equals an extra 900 calories each week... times 52 weeks each year times 4 years equals 187,200 calories which is equal to 53.5 pounds! But sodas are no different than any other calorie... all cause weight gain if you over indulge!

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KEL_CE 5/23/2011 4:17PM

    I agree. Consumption and lack of activity is the main problem. Soda is one of the many puzzle pieces. I think we like to focus on one bad guy after another instead of looking at what we are doing as a whole.

Do sodas cause weight gain? I believe so. When I stopped drinking 1-2 sodas a day I magically lost on average 2lbs a week for a month with physical activity no harder than walking. So yes I think soda can lead to weight gain, just like bon bons and ho hos and donuts and french fries and hamburgers.

The problem is complicated. There's food addiction, laziness, denial, hopelessness, poor self esteem, etc etc. You can't fix that with a magic label.

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Last day: 2 things I Did Right

Thursday, May 19, 2011

1) I treated myself to fresh raspberries, because I could. I'm still feeling a bit icky, but I'm glad I was able to enjoy them anyway.

2) I drank my 8 cups of water. I've drunk 8 cups (or more) of water every day for the past *757 days* I wish I could say that I liked water. I don't. I have to make a point of drinking it, every day. Sometimes I drink water with a bit of lemon or orange in it, and lately I've been drinking a lot of carbonated water (no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, but there is a bit of natural flavoring like lemon or lime) as a substitute to for soft drinks because when my allergies are bad or I'm sick I crave the fizz. But still, I've done it. For 757 days.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAE4181 5/20/2011 6:10PM

    Wow! 757 days of drinking water when you don't even like it??? I am so impressed. If I didn't like water, I can guarantee you I wouldn't drink 8 glasses for 1 day, let alone 757 days. You go girl, keep up the good work. (Hope you feel better soon!)

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RONDAM85 5/19/2011 6:34PM

    WOW Thats great! 64 oz. a day x 757 days =48,448 oz. which= 378.5 gallons NOW thats a lot of water!!!

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MONETRUBY 5/19/2011 2:41PM

    You should be very proud of yourself-757 days?!!!!! That's an amazing streak!

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KJDOESLIFE 5/19/2011 9:22AM

    Geez, I can't even count that high. *grin*

I hope your ickies go away soon. GO AWAY ICKIES! emoticon

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EACHDAYAGIFT 5/19/2011 8:18AM

    Other than natural body functions like breathing and sleeping, I don't think I've EVER done ANYTHING for 757 days!!!! What wonderful discipline! Gotta get me some of that!

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SAASHA17 5/19/2011 1:58AM

    awesome on the water streak...wooohoooo....way to go and feel better


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SANDYMISA 5/19/2011 1:40AM

    Great job on both counts! I'm presuming from your background photo that you're a fencer. I just tried fencing for the first time at an event last weekend. It was fun! Hoping to keep at it.

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  Wow, that's amazing. I'm really good about drinking water since I don't drink soda. On occasion, I do but only an ounce or two. Keep on drinking the water. It's so good for you!

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Day 9; two things I Did Right

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Okay, since I'm almost done I figured I would keep posting the things I did right....

1) I got up this morning, did some stuff, was utterly exhausted (and still feeling crummy) so I went back to bed and slept like the dead for about 4 hours. I guess my body really needed the sleep--especially since I didn't sleep so well last night. Thankfully, I'm finally starting to feel better, though; hopefully tomorrow I can get back on track. I've lost too much time as it is.

2) I ate really well today. Still foods that were pretty easy on my stomach, but still it was a pretty healthy day as far as food goes.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRZYKAT3 5/20/2011 12:18PM

    oh YEAH! Glad keeping food in is getting easier!

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 5/18/2011 5:15PM

    Glad you are feeling better and eating healthier. Keep up the focus and feel even better tomorrow.

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MONETRUBY 5/18/2011 4:24PM

    Great job! So glad to hear that you're feeling better.

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KOMAL53 5/18/2011 3:28AM

    Great News---glad to hear that you're beginning to feel better!!!Easy does it---gradually you'll be able to speed up the Pace!!!Take Care and God Bless!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SAASHA17 5/18/2011 1:09AM

    take care and good going on the goals...take care and hope u feel better Hon...


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OVERWEIGHT 5/18/2011 12:56AM

    Glad you are feeling better.

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ALICIAT32 5/18/2011 12:44AM

    take it one step at a time. you're off to a good start

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Still More Positive Things

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

First, I appologize that I haven't responded yet to comments.... I promise I will. But I was really sick last night (very upset stomach) and still feeling really crummy today so I just haven't been around much. I sometimes joke that getting sick is my body's way of saying slow down.... guess I didn't slow down soon enough... oy.

So ... two positive things...

1) I drank water and kept food down--chicken noodle soup, for both lunch and dinner (side note, I am very grateful for a husband who, one, when woken up at 2 am to clean the bathroom, just did it--no complaints, questions, etc. And then he came home today and made me homemade chicken noodle soup--new recipe he made up, and it was yummy) There were even lots of vegetables in the chicken noodle soup so I'm pretty sure I got my 5 servings in, even with a weak stomach.

2) I rested. Sometimes that's what the body needs (okay, I did put away laundry and a few small things like that, but mostly, I just rested. And talked to a friend I haven't talked to in ages for awhile)

Going to bed now.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MONETRUBY 5/17/2011 6:15PM

    Feel better soon, sweetie. That rest will do you a world of good.

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PEGASI51 5/17/2011 12:29PM

    I often need a day of rest after a particularly brutal/intense day, just from working/playing or exercising. Sometimes it's the best thing.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 5/17/2011 9:53AM

    Feel better! And speaking for myself, there is never any need to respond to my comments unless I ask a question. (Oh wait...I'm always asking questions! so, not even then). If we had to keep responding back and forth, we wouldn't have time to live life!!

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TIGGERJEAN 5/17/2011 8:23AM

    Rest and get to feeling better!

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SAASHA17 5/17/2011 1:31AM

    aww iam sorry u were feeling crappy...take care and good going on the positives...and awesome job by ur hubby:P...

Take care

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    Tell your husband "good man" for not only taking care of you,but for cooking from scratch!I love cooking too!!
I am glad that you are feeling better and even more importantly that you listened to your body to take care of it and give it what it needs. Remember that health is a life long journey, not a short term goal! ( I have to remind myself of that everyday as I am HORRIBLE about it) So a couple of sick days and the injuries you have dealt with in the grand scheme of things will be a very small percentage of the overall plan! Hang in there and get well soon!!

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Another Two positive things

Monday, May 16, 2011

Today went better than yesterday. I'm just really tired now. I guess I just ran myself down a bit too much or something--not just in terms of exercise, but in general. I took it easy, played some video games, did some housework, but basically had a very quiet day. It was nice.

Two things I did right:

1) I haven't tracked today--wasn't on line for most of it--but I made pretty healthy food choices all day. I'm guessing it was not a particularly low calorie day, but not exceptionally high, either, and most of the choices were healthy. I think I can live with that.

2) I took some time out for me. I don't do that as often as I probably should.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MONETRUBY 5/16/2011 10:25PM

    Take it easy, sweetie. You have been hitting it pretty hard recently, and you need and deserve the rest.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 5/16/2011 9:57AM

    I think we are alike in the respect that we get more tired from not taking enough quiet time than we do from hard work. The key is not so much creating a really balanced life (impossible... life never cooperates!) but in listening to our own signals and heeding them, being willing to give down time top priority when the alarms start going off inside! (One of mine is when I start feeling really angry when the phone rings, and I can't take mistakes and minor frustrations in stride). Glad you took car of yourself.

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*MADHU* 5/16/2011 9:19AM


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JENNSWIMS 5/16/2011 4:46AM

    Taking the time to talk about what you did right is awesome. I'm usually busy talking about all the things I did wrong. Thanks for the reminder to be more positive.

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SAASHA17 5/16/2011 1:04AM

    emoticon time for urself is always good..good going for u..


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