Soda and Obesity- Is There A Link?

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Soda and Obesity – Is There A Link?


Is there a link between soda and obesity? Soda and sugar-sweetened beverages are everywhere! What can be made of them and how are they related to the rising rates of obesity? As I’ve discussed in past articles, obesity is on the rise and has become an epidemic. We are still seeing “supersize” being pushed in a variety of restaurant settings at an all time high. Saving money is even offered as an option if you choose to go with a bigger size drink, etc. According to the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 36.5 percent of all adults and around 17% of all children and adolescents in the US have obesity.

A healthful diet and regular exercise are both at the heart of obesity prevention and treatment. However, all too often, advertisements may tempt us with foods and beverages that are made to taste good, many which are packed with ingredients that can easily contribute to weight gain. Soda is a product with a harmful potential when it comes to preserving our health.

Consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, particularly carbonated soft drinks, may be a key contributor to the epidemic of overweight and obesity, by virtue of these beverages high added sugar content, low satiety, and incomplete compensation for total energy. Sugary sodas and fruit drinks may be a major factor behind the current obesity epidemic in America.

Researchers reviewed more than 40 years of studies have found the recent increase in consumption of sugary drinks and other sweetened drinks, like fruit drinks, lemonade, and iced tea, is associated with weight gain and obesity. Although, it has long been suspected that soft drinks contribute at least in the past to the obesity epidemic. Only in recent years have large epidemiological studies have begun to really investigate the relation between soft drink consumption and long-term weight gain.

The results show that non-diet soft drinks are the largest source of added sugars and consumption of these drinks increased 135% between 1977 and 2001. During the same time period, obesity ballooned to epidemic proportions in the US with nearly two-thirds of adults aged 20-74 years were considered overweight or obese.

A single 12 ounce can of soda contains 150 calories and around 4-50 grams of sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, or the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of table sugar. Researchers say adding the calories from a single soda a day could mean a weight gain of 15 pounds over a year.

Long term studies showed an association between increasing consumption of sugar sweetened drinks and weight gain as well as obesity among children and adults. Researchers reviewed a study in school children that showed an educational program advocating fewer sugary sodas reduced weight gain and obesity among the kids after 12 months.

Another study looked at adolescents who reported drinking sugary soft drinks every day. Half the teens were provided with zero-calorie diet beverages delivered to their homes for 25 weeks. There was a drop in consumption of sugary drinks by 82% in those teens, along with improvement in body weight compared to teens who continued their usual soft-drink use.

Given the rise of music, the global incidence rates of overweight and obesity are on the rise particularly among children and adolescents, it’s imperative that current public health strategies include education about beverage intake, writes the researchers.

Several Ways that Soda is Bad For Your Health

  • Sugary drinks, such as soda, are strongly linked to weight gain. The most common form of added sugar, sucrose or table sugar, supplies large amounts of the simple sugar fructose. So, when you consume liquid sugar, you usually add it on top of your total calorie intake- because sugary drinks don’t make you feel full. Not surprisingly, studies show that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages consistently gain more weight than people who do not.


  • Large Amounts of Sugar are Turned Into Fat In Your Liver – Glucose can be metabolized by every cell in your body whereas fructose can only be metabolized by one organ, your liver.


When you consume too much, your liver becomes overloaded and turns the fructose into fat.



  • Sugar-Sweetened Beverages May Be the Leading Dietary Cause of Type 2 Diabetes – Since excessive fructose may lead to insulin resistance, it is unsurprising that numerous studies link soda to type 2 diabetes.


In fact, drinking as little as one can of sugary soda per day has been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. A large body of evidence links added sugar consumption, particularly from sugar-sweetened beverages- to type 2 diabetes.


  • Sugary Soda contains no essential nutrients- just sugar. Sugar soda contains no essential nutrients – no vitamins, minerals, and no fiber.

Sugary sodas contain little to no essential nutrients, only providing sugar and calories.

Overall, drinking high amounts of sugar sweetened beverages- such as soda- can have adverse impacts on your health. These range from increased chances of tooth decay to a higher risk of heart disease and metabolic disorders with type 2 diabetes. If you want to lose weight, avoid chronic disease- limit your intake!


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