In New York City, restaurants, delis, and movie theaters may soon stop serving large cups of soda and other sugary drinks. A proposed ban would limit the sale of sugary bottled or fountain drinks to no more than 16 ounces per serving. Not included in the ban are diet soda and any drink that contains a good portion of juice or milk. This hype might make you think, should I switch from regular soda to diet soda? Regardless of where you live, here are some things to keep in mind before grabbing your next soft drink.
Regular Soda Roulette
A host of problems can crop up when you down sugary sodas. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition points to sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages as likely contributors to the overweight and obesity epidemic. On top of weight gain, full-sugar soda has been linked to cavities, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. When soda consumption goes up, milk consumption goes down and so do important nutrients. Kids especially need healthy calcium for healthy bones. People also often don’t see soda as high-calorie because it doesn’t fill you up like solid foods. But a 20-ounce bottle of cola contains 240 calories—and takes about one hour of moderate walking to burn off.
Diet Soda Dilemma
So, eliminate the liquid sugar from soda and the problem is solved, right? “You’re not getting a free pass with diet soda,” said pediatrician and internal medicine physician, Vincent Cantone, MD of White Oak Pediatric and Adult Medicine.
Your teeth and bones take a hit when consuming diet soda. Acids from soda erode tooth enamel and the phosphoric acid in soda can increase bone loss. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine sees a positive relationship between artificial sweeteners and weight gain, noting a sweet taste—whether sugar or artificial—enhances the human appetite.
What is a soda-lover to do? The best option is no soda, said Dr. Cantone. He suggests water, skim milk, iced tea, or sparkling water—anything without sugar. Along with soda, fruit juices and sport drinks offer little nutritional value and are considered “empty” calories. Even specialty coffee drinks can rack up the pounds. A whole milk, 12-ounce latte will add 200 calories to your daily intake.
If you must have a soda, think small and infrequent. Mini soda cans are hitting the market, as are home-based beverage systems. These coffee-brewing-like gizmos let you turn water into seltzer. Pair the sparkling stuff with a splash of fruit juice, and you get fizz minus the guilt. Remember: use soda as a treat, not a staple in your diet.
By: Anne Gill