Soda and You

By Dr. Dan Van Roon • December 7th, 2011

Soda, which is loaded with sugar primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup, is a leading contributor to the rising rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases facing Americans.

So when I say that drinking a can of soda is just as bad for you as smoking a cigarette (and maybe even worse) it is not an exaggeration. Drinking soda is in many ways worse for you than smoking, and it is only because of massive marketing campaigns from the industry that these sugary beverages are deemed acceptable for our most vulnerable members of society – our kids.

In the 21st century there would indeed be an uproar if tobacco companies attempted to target our kids, but the soda companies do it everyday.It’s time to wake up and face the facts: the soda industry is out for your children, and the message they send is every bit as damaging (and manipulative) as the one spewed by Big Tobacco.

Some of you reading this are undoubtedly thinking, how bad could soda really be? From my perspective, there is absolutely NO REASON you or your kids should ever drink soda. If you were stranded in the middle of a desert with no other fluid available, then maybe, but other than that … none, nada, zip, zero. No excuses.

From a health perspective, drinking Coke or any soft drink is a disaster. Just one extra can of soda per day can add as much as 15 pounds to your weight over the course of a single year, not to mention increase your risk of diabetes by 85 percent. The primary reason why soda is so dangerous to your health? Fructose.

The fructose content of the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) used in many popular soda brands has been sorely underestimated. Around 100 years ago the average American consumed a mere 15 grams of fructose a day, primarily in the form of fruit. One hundred years later, one fourth of Americans are consuming more than 135 grams per day, largely in the form of soda.

Fructose at 15 grams a day is harmless (unless you suffer from high uric acid levels). However, at nearly 10 times that amount it becomes a major cause of obesity and nearly all chronic degenerative diseases. Instead of consisting of 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose, many soda brands, including Coke, Pepsi and Sprite, contain as much as 65 percent fructose, nearly 20 percent higher than originally believed.

According to one study, the mean fructose content of all 23 sodas tested was 59 percent — higher than claimed by the industry. When you consider that Americans drink an average of 53 to 57 gallons of soda per year (depending on the source of your statistics), this difference in actual fructose content could make a huge difference in your health.

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