Soda Drinkers Refuse to Believe Sugar Is the 'New Fat'

soda cansOh, geeze, here we go again. More news is floating around this week about why half of Americans are headed down obesity lane: Half of us also drink at least one regular (not diet, not unsweetened) soda or sugary beverage a day, and one in 20 of us drinks the equivalent of four-plus cans. Hello, reality check!

Remember when FAT was branded the bad guy? When I was a chubby pre-teen in the early '90s, there was a sudden onslaught of products at the supermarket with labels that read "fat-free," "low-fat," "non-fat," etc. These products were supposed to be the answer to weight watchers' prayers; fat was the focal point of all of our health problems. But in 20 some years, it hasn't worked, has it? We've just gotten collectively fatter.

That's because we got the wrong "bad guy."

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Anyone who has been paying attention to nutrition trends or research, or even just Oprah or Dr. Oz knows that good fats (the Mediterranean diet, anyone?) are must-haves for the body to function, while the trans ones (aka anything hydrogenated or man-made) are no-nos.

But we still seem to refuse to believe that sugar -- especially in "guzzle-it-down-sucker!" liquid, high fructose corn syrup form -- is what we should be vetoing. Drinking one soda a day (ESPECIALLY four-plus, OMG) is basically our express ticket to obesity, pre-diabetes, type two diabetes, heart disease ... AKA an early grave.

It's not like this is news. We've been hearing it for so long, but for some reason, it doesn't seem to be getting through many Americans' thick skulls. That, to me, is what's actually worthy of a "WTF?"

I'll confess I have a sweet tooth, which means I'm certainly not the most virtuous eater. But over the years, I've figured out how to deal with that on a daily basis. When I used to buy light frozen yogurt, an old roommate of mine would scoff and say, "If you're going to have ice cream, have Ben & Jerry's or Haagen-Dazs!" But for me, that kind of super-premium sugar and fat bomb treat is probably best had only once in a blue moon. If I'm going to have something on a more regular basis, I figure it should be more virtuous. Like, if I have to get my sweet drink fix on, I go for natural stevia-based soda.

The bottom-line: Isn't what we put in our bodies supposed to be used as fuel? We should know by now habitual drinking of regular soda, which has absolutely no nutritive value, is never going to do anything positive for our health and clearly has the potential -- when consumed way too frequently (even once a day) -- to do A LOT of harm. If you care about your well-being whatsoever, it probably makes sense to steer clear of a daily dose of liquid sugar or uber-toxic HFCS. But hey, to each their own.

Why do you think people are still guzzling so much soda?

 

Image via poolie/Flickr

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