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FoxNews: Soda: Public health enemy No. 1?

August 9, 2013

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Credit: FOXNEWS.COM
Author: Loren Grush
Link: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/08/07/soda-public-health-enemy-no-1/

It’s a well-known adage: Drinking too much soda is bad for you. But just how bad is excessive soda consumption for your body?
The unanimous answer from experts: “Very.” And regular soda isn’t the only culprit. Even diet drinks, which utilize artificial sweeteners in place of sugar, could still negatively impact an individual’s health.

High rates of soda consumption have been linked with numerous health problems, including weight gain, poor dental health, diabetes and cardiovascular disease – which can ultimately lead to heart attacks, stroke and premature death.

To help better understand the risks of drinking too much soda, doctors from Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and UH Case Medical Centers in Cleveland, Ohio detailed exactly how the body responds to sugary, sweetened beverages, as well as how you can cut soda from your diet without eliminating it completely.

Calories and weight

The average American consumes 45 gallons of sugary, sweetened beverages per year, according to a 2011 study by Yale University. Meanwhile, the obesity epidemic is in full swing in the United States, with more than 69 percent of adults considered overweight or obese – a problem which many health experts are quick to blame on Americans’ soda habit.

“The main thing is excess calories,” Dr. Christopher Ochner, assistant professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, told FoxNews.com. “If everything else in their diet is equal, a person who has a can of Coke a day adds an extra 14.5 pounds per year, just from the calories alone.”

Many nutritionists espouse the idea that “a calorie is a calorie,” meaning it doesn’t matter where your calories are coming from as long as you consume around 2,000 a day. And with a 12-ounce can of Coke containing only 140 calories, some consumers believe drinking a can or two of soda per day isn’t making much of a difference in their diet.

But according to Ochner, new studies have emerged in the past decade that suggest all calories may not be created equal.
“We’re finding some research that seems to indicate that calories from sugar are more easily turned into fat in your body than calories from fat in food are turned into fat in your body,” Ochner said. Translation: Eating and drinking sugar makes you gain more weight than eating fat.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/08/07/soda-public-health-enemy-no-1/#ixzz2bUFCDKuI

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