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Soda Drinkers Beware!

Nutrition News Flash

-- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian
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Studies now correlate an increase in certain health risks with soda consumption. For four years researchers tracked the soda drinking habits of 50,000 women. When women went from drinking one regular soda drink a week to at least one a day, they gained an average of 10 pounds over the 4-year period. An increase in body weight was also seen when using fruit drinks, but not when diet soft drinks where consumed. In another study of 90,000 women, those who drank soda or fruit drinks daily had about twice the risk of developing diabetes compared to those who drank soda less than once a month.

Currently, the federal government is considering its first-ever warning that soft drinks can cause unhealthy weight gain. While soda sales have nearly doubled during the past 20 years, so has the percentage of obesity. Battle lines are being drawn and the debate is heating up.
  • Should a warning be issued concerning weight gain and soda consumption?
  • Should there be a ban on soda commercials during children’s television programs?
  • Should soda be eliminated at school? Currently the sale of soda helps fund many school activities.
Action Sparked
There is strong evidence linking the consumption of soda and fruit drinks to obesity. An occasional soft drink presents no problem, but one or more a day could be disastrous to your diet plan.
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • This article would have been more helpful if it clearly distinguished between findings regarding sugary sodas and diet sodas. - 6/20/2014 8:12:22 AM
    I stopped drinking soda pop, in April 1998 and replaced it with drinking water, out of a 64oz mug, that may seem like much, but it' better then all those sugary drinks. - 3/15/2014 8:39:55 PM
  • I generally drink 2 12oz Pepsi cans a day and haven't gained any weight in all the years I've drank it. If I could get out on my own and live and eat the way I want I probably would cut it back but I work with what I have for now. I agree it's not a very healthy drink, but the government shouldn't get to have a say in what a person chooses to put into their own bodies as long as it does nobody else any harm.

    Regarding the person's comment about schools not having the vending machines and "lunch being enough", that's not the case for everybody. Before I was homeschooled I couldn't eat school lunches due to deadly food allergies and there wasn't exactly much I could easily bring from home. Not to mention not everybody just lives right there around the school. I had almost a 90 minute trip one way from school to home. When you don't hardly get to each lunch that's a long wait for dinner. I always would grab a drink for on the way home because it was the one safe thing I could have to hold me over, even if it's not meant to be very filling or healthy. I get what your saying, but schools and the government can't tell people what they should and shouldn't eat/drink. - 12/2/2013 1:57:27 AM
  • I don't drink soda. The only thing I drink is water. - 11/27/2013 7:40:07 PM
    Neither obesity or diabetes are uniquely caused by the consumption of one specific food, drink, or ingredient. Both are very complex issues that are influenced by many risk factors (including age, genetics, and physical inactivity). Trying to pin the blame on one specific product ignores science and is counterproductive
    . We donít need government oversight, control, or influence over what we eat and drink. If we really want to get serious about these issues, we need to focus on education, not regulation.

    -Maureen Beach, American Beverage Association - 6/3/2013 2:28:16 PM
  • Really? Soft drinks are The problem? Not over-consumption. When I was a kid, soft drinks destroyed your teeth, now they're making you fat. Guess what? I don't drink soft drinks; my teeth are very healthy; and I'm obese. Soft drinks, my eye!

    My husband doesn't have diabetes, and he, too, groans in his sleep. I think it's just a different way of snoring. To be safe, make sure he mentions it at his next checkup. - 3/13/2013 12:20:48 AM
    HI I feel so much Better , Now that i am soda free .. - 2/12/2013 9:37:27 AM
  • my husband has been diabetic sense he was 30 he is now 41 and starting to control his diabetic issues. He didn't care before, but now he does and he's having pain in his hips Some times I hear him moan during the night. I'm not sure if it's related to him being diabetic, I was wondering if anyone had any ideas if it was. Please help I'm scared. - 1/21/2013 9:04:06 AM
  • 3 years ago my 9 year old son made a New Years resolution to not dring soda for 1 year. I told him I would do it with him and we are now soda free for 3 years. I feel great. It was hard to break the addiction, but I did not want to disappoint my son. I'm so glad we did it together. - 1/8/2013 12:38:07 PM
  • Everything in moderation. While I am not sure what the exact culprit is, I think that the portion size is the biggest key, followed closely by the inactivity of the person. Get up, get moving, but don't eat a TON of food, especially unhealthy foods. - 10/11/2012 10:36:14 AM
  • Really?! Soda is the problem? I think the dozens of food ads shown every hour are more of a problem than soda ads. Avid soda drinkers aren't going to stop drinking soda because a new label says it causes weight gain. They put cancer warnings on cigarette packs & people still smoke those! I think if people are really concerned about what they're putting in their bodies, they'll read the label. The ingredients list & nutrition label are enough to tell you what you're consuming; a weight-gain warning isn't much more effective. - 7/15/2012 11:12:08 PM
  • I think its about how we value are life and our kids God gave us this body to honer him with it.Our life is a gift do not wast it.Look after it like God wants. - 7/15/2012 9:21:22 PM
    Where I live (Ontario - in Canada) they have already taken out all soda from the schools. They were offering juice from vending machines at 1st but they removed those as well. Learning about proper nutrition has been pushed from middle school right down into Kindergarten and it is a focus throughout every grade as well as the importance of physical fitness. Exercise and nutrition are talked about in more than just gym class. Teaching kids from the beginning gets them on board from the beginning for healthier food. My oldest used to be very resistant but watching other kids eating healthy and it being pushed in the school has gotten him to be more open to taking fresh fruit and healthier lunches to class. He's just finished grade 5 - the teacher encourages them to eat fresh fruit by allowing them to snack on it during class. I was amazed when my son came home and begged to take fruit in his lunch!!!

    Warning labels will help people be more aware but I think it all lies in the schools. Teaching from day 1 gets the thought process down and you don't need labels cuz you're already educated about how to read a nutrition label and you know what's healthy and what's not. I was very resistant to the idea at 1st but now I'm seeing the results over the years(JK-grade5=6
    years) and now I'm so glad they do it =] - 7/15/2012 6:12:49 AM
    I don't think the government should get involved in what people eat and drink. People know what is and is not healthy. I don't believe that warning labels on pop and junk food like candy, chips etc. is the way to go. Most people don't pay attention to the warnings anyhow. New York City (actually Mayor Bloomberg) is currently considering banning the sale of sugared beverages over 16 ounces. I understand the idea (he is trying to reduce the obesity rate in NYC) but I don't believe he is going about it the right way. People will just buy 2 smaller drinks if they want a larger one. - 6/18/2012 1:47:18 PM
  • I don't think the government should be allowed or encouraged to regulate every aspect of our lives. Ugh! Honestly, the general population knows what's good for them and what's bad for them when it comes to the "obvious" junk foods like pop, candy, desserts, etc. They may not know which nut or vegetable has the most nutrients over another nut or vegetable, but they know smoking is bad, pop and excess sugar is bad, putting your hand over an open flame is bad, standing in the middle of traffic is bad...

    People are going to make their own choices and should be able to do so, with the exception of something that's clearly against the law. If we allow the government to regulate more and more, it only makes it easier to blame someone else when things don't go well for us.

    I will say this: I don't know why schools need to have pop machines and candy machines anyway. When did it become a hardship to get through a six-hour school day without having extra snacks? Lunchtime should be enough. - 5/15/2012 3:35:49 PM