Sugary drinks, like soda, lead to weight gain. Why is this still a question? At the Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo this past weekend in San Diego, nutrition experts came together to discuss new research and trends in the field. Hot topics include nutrition and genetics, food sensitivities, vitamin D in chronic disease and sugary drinks.
Sugary drinks? Really. I thought we were past this. While I don’t like to place blame on ONE food in particular as the cause of weight gain in this country, I cannot turn a blind eye to the soda industry. Sugary drinks are just that, beverages loaded with artificial colors, preservatives (most carcinogenic- see Chemical Cuisine from CSPI.net), and sugar. Not a health food. Never was and never going to be.
So why do we keep defending it? Dr. Theresa Nicklas, a professor at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine said that evidence suggesting sugary drinks played a major role in obesity was inconclusive.
It’s hard not to consider the conflict of interest with some of the individuals and organizations responsible for promoting dietary guidelines and recommendations in this country. In 2010, Pepsi spent $502.3 million in adverting. Where does some of this money go? To schools, to associations, and to research studies promoting their products. While I am a Registered Dietitian, nutrition expert, and proud member of the American Dietetic Association, I am not OK with the ADA accepting money from Coke. Sure, it’s only accepts 10% from corporate sponsors, but why are we accepting Coca Cola money at all? While I have never been asked to promote Coke or similar products, I also haven’t been encouraged to discourage the consumption of its products. Organizations like the ADA, USDA, and FDA tend to craft their recommendations carefully to avoid controversy, litigation, and monetary backlash. “Limit sugary beverages” has evolved into a politically correct version of “avoid consumption.”
Let’s look at the facts. The average american consumes way too much sugar from both soda and food. Even if some of us don’t gain weight from drinking soda that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy choice. Caramel coloring, controversial artificial sweeteners, and 17 packs of sugar doesn’t seem like a great choice no matter how you look at it.
What do you think?