This Week's Question: Will Drinking Soda Make Me Fat?
Watch what you eat - goes the most common advice for healthy living. But how about watching what we drink? Drinking everything, except water, adds to our daily load of unnecessary calories and is the chief reason why we tend to not lose weight even after exercising regularly and eating right. What about diet sodas? Promoted as calorie-free drinks, carbonated beverages, sugar free drinks and light beverages, diet sodas are sugar free and therefore considered okay for people with health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and so on. But is this really true? We take a closer look at the health effects of sodas and diet sodas, to answer the question: "Will drinking soda make me fat?"
On an average, a 12 oz can of soda contains about 3 tablespoons of sugar, i.e. around 48 calories multiplied three times, giving us a rough calorie figure of 150 calories per soda can.
Now, let's look at the daily recommended dietary allowance of sugar: Since sugar has no nutritional value, its consumption is counted as extra, i.e., part of one's daily discretionary calories. For women, this number is roughly 200 calories per day, and for men it may be up to 300 calories. This means that for women, no more than 100 daily calories should come from added sugar, and men shouldn’t consume more than 150 daily calories from added sugar. [Via]
Therefore, by consuming just one can of soda, you are consuming almost all your daily sugar allowance. And this doesn't include all those cups of tea, coffee, lemonade and other sugar intake through cereal, and junk food. Not so sweet, is it?
Just one sugary drink a day increases a man’s risk of a heart attack by 20 percent
All sugary drinks are not only adding kilos to your weight, but also have a direct affect on your heart. A research, published in the American Heart Association’s Journal Circulation, found that 12 ounces of sugar drinks such as soda, or other beverages with added sugar raised the risk of heart disease by 20 percent.
Sweet soda is linked to diabetes and the metabolic syndrome
The basic composition of sweet soda involves a chemical mixture of plain sugar, which gets absorbed in our body without giving any nutritional value. This tips the weighing scale as we load up on calories through nutritionally deficient beverage intake, negatively affecting our metabolism - making it sluggish. Such weight gain may ultimately even cause diabetes.
A study in the Journal Circulation found that middle-aged adults who drink one or more regular or diet sodas daily are more prone to developing metabolic syndrome.
Sweet sodas should never be a part of your daily diet
Arnav Sarkar, Kolkata-based strength and fitness coach says that, “Any food which contains chemicals and artificial elements is best avoided or had occasionally, such foods should never become a regular part of one’s diet. Some of the reported drawbacks from the contents found in diet sodas.
- Aspartame- linked to brain and nerve damage
- Cyclamates- found to cause cancer in lab rats, and was thus banned in some countries
- Saccharin- may cause sulfa allergies and has possible carcinogenic properties when consumed in very large amounts
- Sucralose- possible side effects include migraine, cravings and thus weight gain
- Acesulfame potassium- relatively few drawbacks however studies on lab rats have shown to cause certain forms of tumors.”
Unlike fattening sugar sodas, sugar-free diet sodas are designed to prevent calorie loading. However, diet sodas also encourage weight gain.
The answer lies in the fact that the diet soda is a light drink but its unlimited use leads to addiction. Diet sodas by themselves don’t lead to weight gain but cause dehydration and a feeling of false satiety which may later, let’s say in one hour or two, make a person eat and drink more than required. This may later lead to weight gain.
The Final Verdict: Sweet sodas are unhealthy and they are bound to make you fat! This is because they have no nutritive value and only cause weight gain, which further invites lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart ailments.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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