What’s So Bad About…Soda

What’s So Bad About…Soda

You knew it was coming. Here is our latest edition of What’s So Bad About….putting soda under the microscope. It’s also Kathy Magilton’s first contribution to the column she’ll share with the brilliant Heidi Pyper. Get ready to not want to super size anything…..I know I risk sounding ridiculously old with a “why in my day” story, but when I was a kid pop was a big treat. We could have it at a restaurant or when my parents were going out for the evening (a bribe to likely avoid the inevitable separation anxiety meltdown from yours truly). Then there was Christmas time. During the holiday, all bets were off and my sister and I actually got to choose our favourite Pop Shoppe picks: bargain root beer, not quite coke and lime green soda of a colour found nowhere in nature. But the point is soda was a rarity. These days kids drink a LOT of soda and for some it’s a staple.

Research from The Center for Science in the Public Interest shows that the average 12 year old  boy drinks more than two cans of soda per day. The average girl consumes a little more than one can a day. Each can of pop contains 10 teaspoons of sugar – the upper limit the USDA recommends a healthy person have per day. When you factor in the sugar kids are getting from other sources, it’s a safe bet most are well above healthy levels.

In addition,  The Mayo Clinic has determined that soda consumption is linked to increased risk for type 2 diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, kidney stones and metabolic syndrome (marked by high blood pressure, insulin resistance and excess belly weight). While the report issued these concerns for both adults and children, the cost to children could be dramatic. It found that children who drink soda in place of calcium rich milk are more prone to fractures and, in fact, forearm fractures are on the rise among adolescent boys and girls.  So is their weight. According to the Centre for Disease Control, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled in the last 30 years from about 5% to 18%. And the CDC says 70% of obese children have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Dr. Oz, who recently launched a National 28 Day Soda Challenge, warns that drinking just one soda a day can lead to a 26lb yearly weight gain.  And more doctors are treating children for previously “adult” health concerns like high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Soda is an addictive stimulant containing both caffeine and sugar. For those who think they’ve found a loophole with diet soda, sorry to burst your fizzy bubble. Some studies show the risk for weight gain and diabetes applies for diet soda as well. This may be due to the fact that some experts now suggest while artificial sweeteners may be calorie free, they increase your body’s craving for sweet things in general and contribute to overall poor eating habits.

In addition to the health concerns, soda’s constant sugar spike and drop has many concerned about its affect on kids’ behaviour and ability to concentrate. So, what to do? A 2009 article in the New England Journal of Medicine argued for taxing sugared beverages, suggesting that they may be the single largest cause of the obesity epidemic. The authors, experts in the field of health and obesity, state that an excise tax of one cent per ounce would reduce consumption by more than 10%. The US Senate is even considering a federal tax on soda to offset healthcare costs associated with obesity. But, for now, this issue seems left up to parents.

It may be time to go back to the “good old days” and make soda a treat for your kids. Banning it entirely is likely to give it forbidden fruit status, not having soda in your home and offering other choices like juice, milk and water will help limit their soda intake and the potential for addiction to its caffeine content.

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  1. Heidi House
    January 19, 13:22 Reply

    I am so glad you did the research and posted this Ceri and Heidi P… I am so glad we never got the taste for it. Thank you for the reminder about ‘pop’s the stimulant and addictive qualties.
    Heidi House

    • Laura Keogh
      January 24, 21:58 Reply

      Hi Heidi!

      Thank you so much for your note. Kathy did a great job of researching the nutrition traps of Soda….If only I never got a taste for it. Thank you for reading. Laura

  2. Natalee
    January 19, 14:14 Reply

    Good post! I have to admit that I don’t really like soda so we probably don’t have it in the house because I do the meal planning but anything with sugar or caffeine or dye (and soda has all three!) sends my kids loopy as well so if we want to avoid karate chaos soda is a definite no. Plus there is the question of damage to their teeth. It’s like companies work together to market the absolute worst possible foods to our children so that they can get a kickback from the dental and medical systems?????

  3. Mmartin
    January 26, 12:51 Reply

    Many juices that are sold have the same issue as soda. Take a close look at the added sugars in packaged juices. Better to eat the fruit instead to also gain the benefit of fiber.

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