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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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