Saturday, March 28, 2015

What Do You Know About That Soda?

Obesity in America has become the “norm” for most teenage and college-aged individuals. We have seen a growth in popularity of potato chips and pizza, being ruled as fruits and vegetables by our governments standards. Many parents, educators, and children do not understand the dangers of what most of these foods and drinks are doing to our bodies. An ingredient that seems to be at the root of all of these problems is sugar. Sugar seems to be in everything, along with soy, which we discussed a few weeks ago.

Rates of overweight individuals and obesity have escalated dramatically among adolescents (1). Adults also have experienced striking increases in obesity prevalence over the past decade, with the greatest rise seen among the youngest adults. Almost 15 million adolescents and young adults in the United States are enrolled in college, and 35% are already overweight or obese. Furthermore, 27% of college students have already developed components of the metabolic syndrome.1 Metabolic Syndrome is a condition in which the body can not “burn” enough calories in daily tasks to cover what is being put in the body.

Studies have shown that  Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda has been implicated as a likely contributing factor to the growing obesity rates among children and adolescents. This is in large part because sugared beverages represent a significant source of calorie consumption in this population. Adolescents consume 20% of their total energy intake from added sweeteners, the majority of which are consumed in sodas and fruit drinks (10). Among adolescents, over 10% of the total calories they consume come from soda and fruit drinks alone.1

Being a personal trainer, I constantly see an overconsumption of sugar in my clients, ranging from food stuffs like pre-packaged breakfast sandwiches to a Starbucks oatmeal. Things that people think are “healthy” are usually the most dangerous. Pop words such as: whole wheat, gluten-free, fat free, sugar free, or artificially flavored are usually dead giveaways.

A good rule of thumb is:

  • Fat Free = Double The Sugar
  • Sugar Free = Double The Fat

You have to remember the companies that make these sugar infested products do not make them for your health. They are out to make money and are willing to risk your health to get it. In a study done by Block et. al, college-aged individuals reported that if given the choice between water and a beverage with flavor, with other factors such as price held constant, they would always choose the beverage with flavor: “I want some water, but the water is the same price as the soda. Might as well go ahead and get some flavor.”2

Clearly children have been brought to believe that if a product taste good and is cheap, they might as well buy it whether it is beneficial for their mind and body or not. We, as a people, need to start educating the future generations on the positives of eating healthier food choices. Otherwise we will have a much less populated country due to heart disease and obesity killing people off, and not being able to fit.


Smith West, Delia, Zoran Bursac, Donna Quimby, T. Elaine Prewitt, Thea Spatz, Creshelle Nash, Glen Mays, and Kenya Eddings. "Self-Reported Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Intake Among College Students*." Obesity: 1825-831. Print

Block, Jason P., Matthew W. Gillman, Stephanie K. Linakis, and Roberta E. Goldman. "“If It Tastes Good, I'm Drinking It”: Qualitative Study of Beverage Consumption Among College Students." Journal of Adolescent Health 52.6 (2013): 702-06. Print.


  1. Such an informative read. You make very valid points as well. Sodas are the key to most people being obese. I will admit, I love Dr. Pepper. I used to have one big Sonic cup everyday, because "Happy Hour" always caught me. About three weeks ago, I gave up sodas and have been drinking absolutely nothing but water. In those three weeks, I have dropped eight pounds. It was amazing to me because I didn't think giving up one thing would have such an impact on my body, but it did. I no longer crave them either and this has given me the motivation to make healthier choices. Obesity is becoming an epidemic and it needs to be stopped.

  2. This is such a good read. Its crazy to think that people do not understand this stuff but in reality most people aren't educated with nutrition or fitness. The most important things that we need to stay healthy and survive with we don't teach our children and that is a very sad thing.

  3. This is great! I personally have given up sodas. I don't need all that sugar and toxic chemicals. Why put your body through the dangers? My body has never felt better. I used to get minor headaches and those are gone. I don't crave sodas anymore like I used too. Water is so much better, it's healthy for you and keeps you hydrated. There is no equivalent substitute.