Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Top 10 Reasons To Give Up Soda

If you're looking for a scapegoat in the obesity epidemic, look no further than soda. It's the single greatest caloric source in the world, accounting for somewhere between 11 and 19 percent of all the calories consumed worldwide. It's cheap, addictive, and readily available, which generally means that it will take some willpower to avoid. But don't despair, as we at Beachbody® are here to help. We present: our top 10 reasons to give up soda.

For those of you who read The Straight Dope but don't get my articles I thought I'd use this week's as a carrot. Just click on the above paragraph, which will take you to this week's newsletter, then enter your email address in the space in the nav bar. Notice that there are two options: the P90X newsletter and the regular Beachbody newsletter. I edit and write for both, but you'll need to use two different email addresses to get them both.

Then read on. If you're one of those who still drink soda all I can do is ask why? It is, and one of my older articles called it, the worst food in the world!

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just for that, I'm cracking open another Pepsi-One . . . mmmm pepsi-one . . .

. . . I think the evidence against diet soda is a lot weaker than that against regular soda. Is it ideal? No -- but I think it's unfair to lump it in with regular soda.

I also think that this kind of thing:

"A large-scale study in 2007 showed that men and women who had more than one diet soda a day were 31 percent more likely to be obese and 25 percent more likely to have both high triglycerides and blood sugar, and they had a 50 percent greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Never mind if you don't know what metabolic syndrome is. Just trust me when I tell you that you don't want it."

-- implies causation when we're really taking correlation. Obese people who move to diet soda . . . become slightly less obese people.

Steve Edwards said...

We'll see. Diet soda, as well as most artificial sweeteners, haven't been around for very long. The long term studies have just started filtering in and are pretty much unanimounsly bad. It's not impossible that your speculation could be correct but it becomes increasingly less likely as each new study comes out.

Steve Edwards said...

It's also worth mentioning that there is nothing healthy in a diet soda. The best-case scenario is that it's a placebo but that is unlikely as it adversely affects digestion for certain. It has no potential positive nutritional value or than hydration and even that effect is somewhat mitigated by its chemicals.

Scott S said...

I noticed an article in today's paper Parade Magazine insert "Healthystyle" called "Test Your Diet IQ" by Joy Bauer (who I find personally annoying). She pronounced it false that high-fructose syrup is worse for you than regular sugar without citing any facts or studies.

I personally try to avoid high-fructose corn syrup since I saw the results of a free coke machine on my body when I worked a dot com in the late 90's.

Anonymous said...

Pepsi-One here . . . it's definitely the case that there's nothing healthy in it -- sadly, I needs my caffeine, and even more sadly, while I like the smell of coffee, I can't stand the taste.

I know you're a fan of it, though -- if you know of a good 'gateway' coffee for someone who doesn't normally like the stuff, pls let me know!

I *have* cut down from the equivalent of 8-9 cans of p-one a day to ~4 a day, at least . . . I drink it because my uneducated guess is that sucralose isn't as bad as aspartame might be, but I really have no idea.

Forrester said...

Scott -- It's Parade -- were you really expecting citations?

I'm guessing she wrote that before the study referenced here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/29/AR2010032902912.html

Steve Edwards said...

That study is getting a lot of play. You'll be hearing more on it over at the Fitness Nerd and on the Beachbody newlsetter.

Steve Edwards said...

btw, it's not the only study showing that HFCS is worse for you than regular sugar but it's the best so far. Most will be coming.

Pepsi, how about tea? It's got caffeine plus a lot of other good nutrients. Adding a little milk and sugar would only add a handful of calories and you have a performance-enhancing sports drink.

Forrester said...

Pepsi here, now logged in . . . thanks for the reminder about tea, Steve.

I was under the impression that the caffeine content in tea was just too low compared to colas to get the kick I need . . . a little research shows I was wrong. Pepsi-One has about 50mg/can, but it looks like I can get 50mg/cup with many black teas.

Worth a shot, at least!

screwdestiny said...

I don't see why people drink soda because it's not very good. I used to drink maybe, oh, four cans a week when I was younger. Never was a big soda drinker. And I did like some of the flavors, obviously. But nowadays, every once in a while it'll sound good, I'll take a sip, and it's just not. I just don't understand how it's so addictive.

Steve Edwards said...

Tea seems to have plenty of caffeine to me. I switch between coffee and black teas without noticing any effect. Some pretty impressive tea studies have been published in the few years that have showed, from various angles, that people who drink it tend to be a lot healthier than those who don't. One that was somewhat shocking to me was that people who drank almost no water, just tea, we both more healthy and HYDRATED than the general population.

Steve Edwards said...

I don't get the addictiveness either. I LOVED soda as a kid but only after activity, which is the one time it can be beneficial. So my addiction, if you could call it that, was for a sports drink (for post exercise glycogen depletion) even if I didn't know it. How people can be sedentary and consume numerous cans of sugar is mystifying.

Reedster said...

I thought Cola was for mornings when you had too much to drink the night before and had a good case of morning-head.

Anonymous said...

I'm not convinced a person shouldn't drink soda. There are plenty of sodas that aren't made with HFCS and aspartame. There are even some made in America that don't use HFCS. As for the argument that there isn't anything in soda that you need . . . that's a pretty weak argument to not enjoy something. I mean, we're not ascetics, are we? I am appalled to hear people say they cut down from 8-9 cans to 4 a day. I mean, if you're going to drink 1500 cans of something a year, it should probably be Oly. But, on the other hand, denying yourself a treat is typical, silly fitness-nazism. (They were Nazis Walter?) Now, if you want to re-visit the moderation article . . . I think you've got a strong argument. Me, I'm fnishin' my coffee.

-Josh

Lisa Romney said...

I was going to chime in with TEA as an ideal alternative, but I see Mr. Edwards handled it. I will add that as an AVID tea drinker I add about 2 tablespoons of reduced fat milk and a spoon dipped in raw honey (not a spoonful of honey, just dip the tip of the spoon in the jar) to my pot and the concoction is glorious. Just a handful of calories and a load of water and caffeine. Plus, a morning ritual that Edwards might argue can be beat by the coffee ritual, but I would argue cannot.

Yorkshire Gold is my black tea of choice, but a nice plain Assam seems to be what turns the men on.

Steve Edwards said...

We in no danger of becoming an ascetic society. Agreed, that if soda was a dessert and not a staple it wouldn't be a problem. But then it would be 1/1ooth of 1% of our calories, not 11%. What if our diets were made up of 15% of creme brule?

Brad R. Torgersen said...

Thanks for the article links. I've been hearing for a few years that soda is horrible on several levels. Alas, I drank tons of it as a kid and while I was never a wide body like a lot of kids are these days -- I was one of those perpetually skinny boys -- the soda habit has been catching up to me as I near middle age. In terms of fitness, it's certainly not doing me any favors. I work out because I need to for U.S. Army fitness requirements, but I'm still at least 15 pounds overweight, and not getting the results I'd like. Soda is probably a key culprit in this. Found your web site doing a Gym Jones web search, of all things. I had no idea we had so much fitness knowledge local in Utah.

Forrester said...

Pepsi-One here again . . . amazing coincidence, a co-worker just got back from India and brought me a 100-teabag package of Assam.

Not bad, not bad at all! Haven't quit the Pepsi-One yet, but I'm down from ~4 a day to ~2, which, given where I was just a couple of months ago, is huge progress.

workout geek said...

when i was a kid, and in my 20s (and early 30s), i used to drink a whole lotta soda, and never gained weight. as i got older, i drank less... not for health reasons, but it just stopped. these days, after a really really hard workout, for some reason, i crave soda! i hate the after taste of diet, so it's always the full calorie soda (i prefer pepsi, and can tell the difference).

come to think of it, at one point, i used to drink a ton of apple juice. i always thought, since it's juice, it's gotta be good for you! it frickin' made me pack on so many pounds (15 pounds) and for the longest time, i never put 2 + 2 together until my ex wife mentioned i should cut out the aj. well, that was the one good thing to come out of that relationship (did that sentence sound bitter?), and the weight melted off in a blink!

so, what i'm trying to say is, soda, no matter how much i drank, never effected me as much as apple juice did. not to say that soda isn't bad for you, but i'm more afraid of apple juice than soda.

Jay Garbarino said...

Hi Steve, This is mostly a comment about the Artificial sugars. I am not a Fan of any of them, but Do not mind the taste of ACESULFAME-K (which is what is in BB Whey Protein). Although I am now using Whey Protein from Optimum Nutrition that is sweetened with Stevia (Rebaudioside A). I really do not like Sucralose and was surpised to see it on the "good" list at http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm, but see Acesulfame-K on the "Avoid" list. Do you have a tale on this?

Jay Garbarino said...

ANd just saw the Stevia was in the "caution" category http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm#rebiana

They say they are in the Public's interests??

pet health said...

I guess it's time to give up soda. Thanks for sharing this.