If every time you reached for a bottle of soda or fruit juice you drank a glass of water instead, the health benefits and the reduction in your caloric intake would be astounding, according to a recent CNN report. This is because a single soft drink contains 227 calories, which is more than 10 percent of the total calories an adult woman needs to maintain a healthy weight. Doctors like David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Children’s Hospital in Boston, asserts that this is why “soda should be treated as public health enemy No. 1.”
What exactly is in those beverages that make them such a hazard for the population? One word: sugar. According to Dr. Robert Lustig, Childhood Obesity Specialist at the University of California San Francisco, sugar is in fact a toxin and, when taken in excess, can be a deadly poison. In an ongoing study conducted by Kimber Stanhope, a nutritional biologist at the University of California, when participants were given daily sugar concoctions, it didn’t take long for their bodies to start malfunctioning. “Within just two weeks, their blood chemistry was out of whack…[and] the volunteers had…a risk factor for heart disease,” Stanhope said.
But Karen Hanretty, Vice President of Public Affairs for the American Beverage Association, is not convinced of soda’s link to obesity. “’Soda consumption has declined, even as obesity has increased,’” says Hanretty.
Still, in response to America’s growing fight with obesity, Coke introduced Diet Coke and Coke Zero, whose sales have increased by nearly 10 percent in the past decade.
Clearly, the solution to America’s obesity epidemic won’t be as simple as replacing soda with water, but that would be a step in the right direction.