Colas – Are they REALLY that BAD?!?!

Coca-Cola. The All-American soft drink. Or at least when growing up it seemed like the only option. Of course there were other brands – Pepsi, but they were colas none the less.  Mom made us drink milk with our meals.  And a coke was a treat. So of course when we had our choices and later as we became more independent, milk was replaced by a cola. I worked for a company once where the gentleman in charge drank 2 six-packs of Pepsi every day. He was at least 50 pounds overweight.

So what’s the big deal?! I don’t want to drink milk or water all the time. They have no taste!

One 12 ounce soda typically has 9 teaspoons of sugar and 140 calories. Although diet sodas are low in calories data suggests that the artificial sweeteners may increase sugar cravings.

Just like with other products that we consume over time we have found out that there is a price to pay for that taste.

“There is an association between people who have high soda intake and risk of bone fracture. But that’s probably due to the fact if they have a high soda intake, they have a low milk intake,” says Robert Heaney, MD, FACP, professor of medicine at Creighton University.

Research has shown that adults and children who regularly drink beverages high in sugar tend to experience weight gain. As weight increases so does the risk of type 2 diabetes. A study in the journal Circulation found that adults who drank 1 or more regular or diet sodas had an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions which includes high blood pressure, excess weight gain, high cholesterol and insulin resistance.

Soft drink makers produce 10.4 billion gallons of soda each year. If we didn’t consume this much they wouldn’t be producing it!

One reason for our increased consumption is the container size. In the 1950’s the standard soda size was 6.5 ounces. Now we don’t think twice about picking up a 20 ounce bottle. In fact many stores will gladly sell you a 32 ounce cup full of this sweet drink. Not only are sodas contributing large amounts of calories and sugars, teenagers are now drinking twice as much soda to milk. This is a huge problem. Low calcium intake contributes to osteoporosis, which leads to fragile and broken bones. For girls 92% of their bone mass is built by age 18. If they’re not consuming enough calcium during this time there is no catching up later.

So what can you do? If you can’t stop drinking colas all at once start by slowly weaning yourself off by skipping one a day. As far as combatting the effects these drinks are having on your bones when you skip that soda have a glass of milk or calcium fortified orange juice instead. Consider this: fat-free milk has even more calcium than higher calorie whole milk, BONUS! And other than changing your diet, weight bearing and resistance exercises are highly recommended.

What is your beverage of choice? Now that you have some information, will it change what you reach for when you’re thirsty? I never condone lying, but my daughter has told her children that they’re allergic to colas. They never ask for one. How would you steer your kids away from these? And when you do will you consider that they learn from example?

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One Response to “Colas – Are they REALLY that BAD?!?!”

  1. kay schnell Says:

    I was so taken by the info on sodas, especially diet sodas, that I’m sending it on to my Grandaughter,Eve, Thank you for keeping us so well informed.

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