Be Aware of Soda Diet /Drinks
Believe it or not, more than 20 percent of our daily calories come from the things that we drink,” says Susan Aaronson, M.S., R.D., wellness coordinator for the MFit Health Promotion Division at the University of Michigan Health System. “In fact, the World Health Organization recommends that people consume only about 10 percent of their calories from liquids. So those extra calories from liquid beverages are adding to American’s obesity epidemic, making it more difficult for people to lose weight.”
“Soda is full of sugar and empty calories, making it a major contributor to the obesity problem in the United States,” says Aaronson. ”If you chose to eliminate one can of soda each day, which contains about nine teaspoons of sugar, you can lose about a pound in one month; and over the course of a year, you can lose up to 15 lbs.”
Diet sodas (also diet pop, diet, sugar-free, or light soft drinks, refreshments, or carbonated beverages) are sugar-free, artificially sweetened, non-alcoholic carbonated beverages generally marketed towards health-conscious people, diabetics, athletes, and other people who want to lose weight or stay fit.
Sugar is a significant problem. (The role of high-fat diets on obesity in children is less clear.) Soda, other sweetened beverages, and fruit juice in fact may be singled out as major contributors to childhood obesity. One study reported that drinking soda regularly increases a child's risk for obesity by 60%. And the average American adolescent consumes 15 to 20 extra teaspoons a day just from soda and sugary drinks. (Juice, while better than soda, is still filled with sugar.)
And since it has no nutritional value, filling up on soda also prevents you from getting calories from sources that do contain essential vitamin and minerals. But if you absolutely can’t live without a soda, Aaronson instead recommends drinking diet soda, or reserving it only for special occasions.
One study reported that drinking soda regularly increases a child's risk for obesity by 60%. And the average American adolescent consumes 15 to 20 extra teaspoons a day just from soda and sugary drinks.A study shown that consumption of carbonated drinks over three days decreased by 0.6 glasses (average glass size 250 ml) in the intervention group but increased by 0.2 glasses in the control group (mean difference 0.7, 95% confidence interval 0.1 to 1.3). At 12 months the percentage of overweight and obese children increased in the control group by 7.5%, compared with a decrease in the intervention group of 0.2% (mean difference 7.7%, 2.2% to 13.1%).
So,the result is a targeted, school based education programme produced a modest reduction in the number of carbonated drinks consumed, which was associated with a reduction in the number of overweight and obese children.
Parents should limit take out, high-sugar snacks, commercial packaged snacks, soda and sugar sweetened beverages (including too much juice), and fast foods in general.So if you drink more than one regular soda per day, replace one of them with a diet soda, water or skim milk.Drink fewer sugar-sweetened beverages (such as regular soda and fruit juice).
While these drinks are often marketed to those who are weight conscious, no published study has shown that drinking diet soda will cause a person to lose weight. Changing the food energy intake from one food will not necessarily change a person's overall food energy intake, or cause a person to lose weight. One study, at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, reported by Sharon Fowler at the ADA annual meeting, actually suggested the opposite, where consumption of diet soda was correlated with weight gain.
Soda is a multi-billion dollar industry in this country, but despite huge sales, its image has suffered in recent years. Diet offerings have been plagued by artificial sweetener woes—from myths of brain tumors to some legitimate health concerns. And the versions sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup have fared no better. In a report issued in 1998, the nutrition advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest famously dubbed soda “liquid candy.” Subsequently, protests by parents and nutrition advocates have lobbied to get soda machines banned from high-school cafeterias, and fast-food chains like McDonald’s have expanded their drink options to include healthier choices like bottled water or milk.
So what’s a soda manufacturer to do in order to stay in the game? Coke and Pepsi seem to think the answer lies in adding vitamins to soft drinks—turning your fizzy afternoon indulgence into a “health” food. This month, Coke is set to launch Diet Coke Plus, a zero-calorie cola with a sprinkling of nutrients mixed in. According to the company, one 8-ounce serving of the soda will provide 15 percent of the daily value (DV) of niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, and 10 percent of the DV for zinc and magnesium. And in the fall, Pepsi will roll out Tava, a line of zero-calorie sparkling beverages in flavors like Tropical Berry Blend and Passion Fruit Lime. Each 8-ounce serving of Tava will deliver 10 percent of the DV of vitamins B3, B6 and E.
“The biggest thing in every industry right now is health and wellness,” says Lynn Dornblaser, director of Mintel Custom Solutions, a market research firm. “Even companies that never had that as a primary focus are now trying to adapt their product lines to fit what’s important today.”
But can a soda ever really make the leap from junk food to health food? “Probably it’s just marketing,” says Kristine Clark, director of sports nutrition at Penn State University and a registered dietitian. The small amounts of nutrients in such sodas probably aren’t enough to make much difference in the average American diet. “Let’s hope no one is using these products to meet their nutritional needs,” says Clark.
The ever-growing category of natural sodas has been promoting health claims for several years, and has lured drinkers away from more conventional carbonated beverages or turned the health conscious into first-time soda drinkers. Brands like Izze, Santa Cruz Organics and Blue Sky contain real fruit juice, organic sugar as well as, in some case, vitamins. “The success of natural sodas—and especially of fortified bottled waters—may have spurred the more traditional companies to move in a similar direction,” says Dornblaser.
While trend-watchers speculate on whether or not consumers will swallow the health claims of Coke’s and Pepsi’s new sodas, nutritionists remain sanguine.If you’re drinking these because of their nutrients, that’s not a valid reason, but if you’re going to be drinking soda anyway, you’re at least getting something extra. “Just don’t kid yourself that soda is a health drink.”
In a landmark agreement between major beverage distributors and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation — a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation — nearly all sales of soda to schools will stop.
In the United States, many schools and municipalities have entered into exclusive marketing agreements with Coca-Cola or PepsiCo to market soda pop. These cities include San Diego, CA; Huntington Beach, CA; Amherst, NY; Lynn, MA; East Lansing, MI.At least 180 school districts have entered into exclusive marketing agreements for soda pop.9 It is not the proper role of government to promote the sale of products that erode the health of their citizens. The WHO should promote policies to stop schools and municipalities from acting as agents of corporate marketing, and especially not for products such as soda pop that contribute to obesity and other chronic illnesses.
Under the new guidelines, only lower calorie and nutritious beverages will be sold to schools. Cadbury Schweppes, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have agreed to sell only water, unsweetened juice, and flavored and unflavored low-fat and fat-free milk to elementary and middle schools. In addition to these beverages, diet sodas, diet and unsweetened teas, flavored water and low-calorie sports drinks will be sold to high schools. Whole milk and regular soda will not be offered to any schools.
Although the changes will take effect in some schools sooner than others, the companies who've agreed to follow the new guidelines will work to implement the changes at all schools in the United States by the 2009 to 2010 school year. Officials hope that other beverage companies will follow suit.