The health effects of soft drinks

Written by Joe Leech, MS on June 9, When consumed in excess, added sugar can have disastrous effects on your health. However, some sources of sugar are worse than others This primarily applies to sugary soda, but also to fruit juices, highly sweetened coffees and other sources of liquid sugar. Here are 13 reasons to avoid soda and other sugary drinks like the plague.

The health effects of soft drinks

Sodas and Your Health: Risks Debated Experts debate the research on potential health risks of soft drinks. The most recent headlines have raised concerns that diet sodas boost stroke risk.

The Bottom Line

Diet and regular sodas have both been linked to obesitykidney damage, and certain cancers. Regular soft drinks have been linked to elevated blood pressure. If you drink sodas -- especially if you drink a lot of them -- what are you to make of all the headlines? Do you dismiss them, as the beverage industry does, as bad science and media hype?

Another Day, Another Soda Study In the past six months alone, dozens of studies examining the health impact of drinking sugary beverages or diet soda have been published in medical journals.

Some suggested a relationship; others did not. Sometimes, the media coverage of these studies took the researchers by surprise. In February, she presented early results from her ongoing research at a health conference, and was completely unprepared for the media attention it received.

The story appeared on all the major networks, in most major newspapers, and on the Internet, including WebMD. Most reports cautioned that the findings were preliminary and did not prove that diet sodas cause stroke. But Gardener says many media reports overstated the findings.

And even when the stories got it right, she says the headlines often got it wrong by leaving the impression that her research proved the diet soda- stroke connection. Purdue University behavioral sciences professor Susan Swithers.

PhD, had a similar experience infollowing the publication of her study in rats suggesting that no-calorie sweeteners like those in diet sodas increase appetite. Swithers says she was shocked by the amount of news coverage her study received. CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson, PhD, says sugary soft drinks deserve to be singled out in the battle against obesity because they are the biggest single source of empty calories in the American diet.

Nestle says pediatricians who treat overweight children tell her that many of their patients take in 1, to 2, calories a day from soft drinks alone. Not everyone agrees with that. Sugary soft drinks, in particular, have been shown in many studies to be associated with overweight and obesity, as in a review of 30 studies published in by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Many of the studies included in that review showed that overweight children and adults drink more sugary beverages than normal-weight kids and adults, and several studies found that the more sugar-sweetened drinks people drank the greater their likelihood of becoming overweight.

Yale University researchers also examined the obesity issue, combing through 88 studies. The researchers hypothesized that the body does not easily recognize calories derived from beverages, so people end up eating more.

Accessibility links

As for diet sodas, nutrition researcher David L. Katz, MD, who directs the Yale Prevention Research Center, told WebMD in November that the research as a whole suggests sugar substitutes and other non-nutritive food substitutes have little impact on weight.

The ABA says the vast majority of studies supporting a soda-obesity link were done by researchers with strong anti-soda biases. Obesity researcher Kelly Brownell, PhD, who led the Yale study and supports taxing sugar-sweetened beverages, sees bias on the other side of the debate.

One such study, funded by the British sugar industry group The Sugar Bureau, examined sugar and soft drink consumption among 1, children in the U. Johnson says she does not believe the science linking sodas to obesity and other health issues has been misrepresented or over-reported.

American Journal of Public Health, April ; vol New England Journal of Medicine, April 30, ; vol News release, The Sugar Bureau: Journal of the American Heart Association, Feb.

Center for Science in the Public Interest:Passionate claims are made that drinking distilled water is harmful and will 'lead to early death'.

Others make equally fervent claims that drinking distilled water is the best way to become and stay healthy. The excess calories and sugar that soft drinks contain are linked to a number of adverse health effects.

Try replacing sodas with healthier options such as flavored water, soy milk and herbal tea.

The health effects of soft drinks

Video of the Day. Just one diet soft drink a day could boost your risk of having a Researchers say more studies need to be conducted before definitive conclusions can be made about diet soda's effects on health.

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