Sodas Off Your Grocery List Forever?

March 18, 2014 in Diabetes, Diabetes Management, Food Economics, Foodland, Health, Weight Management by Joyce Bunderson

Have you succeeded or are you still struggling to cut back on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) (including cola with sugar, caffeine-free cola with sugar, other carbonated beverage with sugar, such as 7-Up or ginger ale, and non-carbonated fruit drinks, such as lemonade or fruit punch)? The research continues to pile up against drinking them. One bit of research recently attracted my attention. It came out of Tufts University Medical School; funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture and a who’s who of other distinguished supporters of research; including, Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging; National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Framingham Heart Study, Brigham and Division of Endocrinology Metabolism and Diabetes Department of Medicine; Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School; General Medicine Division Department of Medicine, Mass General and Harvard Medical School.  The resulting study was published in the aptly named journal: Obesity.

The findings were somewhat surprising. They learned that those who habitually drink SSBs are more likely to have metabolic abnormalities (including diabetes), regardless of body weight. Got that? The SSBs were bad no matter if the subjects were normal weight, over weight or obese.

The researchers said that the finding suggest that both overweight and obese individuals may be able to improve metabolic and overall health by cutting back on SSBs. We usually learn of studies that suggest that weight needs to be lost to reap health benefits; but this study is saying that just cutting the SSBs will reap benefits. Cool!  I think that if individuals do make a significant change in SSBs they will notice the scale going down, unless they are devoted to replacing the SSBs with some other calorie-containing food or drink.

My guess is that most people, by now, know that SSBs are bad for us. Many have decent dental care, so probably rotting teeth will not be the motivator; but diabetes and the accompanying cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s is dang scary to me and hopefully others. Recently I watched an inspirational and heart-breaking Upworthy presentation. (Don’t miss the statistics at the end of the video.) It’s a story, well told, by an impassioned young Panamanian man, Maz Ali, about his grandfather, his land, and companies growing rich while selling profitable products that slowly, quietly, result in disastrously poor health.

It’s really not a new story; but it’s a story equally as ugly as the story of tobacco. I’m afraid that many people don’t realize how deadly uncontrolled diabetes can be; how much it increases risk of other serious diseases and death. How, as Max Ali points out in his video, since the start of the conflicts, all or part of 1000 limbs have been lost by American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, while at the same time, all or part of 70,000 limbs of Americans were amputated in the state of California alone. I truly wish there were someway to help individuals realize that SSBs are not harmless. I like what Maz Ali says; “…A good reason to cross sodas off my grocery list. Forever.

We should be outraged. Maybe a little outrage is a good thing from time to time.