From the 200 ml bottles in the 1950s, soft drinks have evolved to the 390 ml and 600 ml single-serve containers commonly consumed today. Yet there is little public awareness or realisation that in sating their thirst with these liquid calories, people may be drinking themselves fat. (A regular can of soft drink supplies around 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories.)
Soft drinks fuel weight gain
The evidence linking soft drink consumption to weight gain and obesity is “strong,” according to newly-released report “Soft Drinks, Weight Status and Health,” issued by the NSW Centre for Public Health Nutrition, Australia.
In an effort to stem the obesity epidemic, the New York City Health Department is running an evocative campaign called, “Are you pouring on the pounds?” urging consumers to switch to more nutritious and sugarfree fluids.
Who’s most at risk?
Australia and New Zealand are high soft-drink consumers, ranking in the top 10 countries based on market share. Adolescents, especially males, consume the most, with one Australian survey finding they down almost a litre of soft drink daily! Younger children, such as toddlers, also consume significant amounts, as do Indigenous groups and families of low socioeconomic status.
The good news is that several clinical trials in adults and children show that reducing soft drink intake results in weight loss (or at least curbs further weight gain), with the heaviest adolescents being the biggest winners.
How to cut out soft drinks
Replace soft drinks with water. It’s obviously cheaper, contains zero calories and protects your health in other vital ways. Use a refillable water bottle and carry it with you.
Reduce the frequency and quantity of soft drink consumption when you do have it. Limit soft drink to once a week or less, and then have only one glass.
Offer water and reduced-fat milk to young children instead of soft drinks. Avoid having sugary drinks in the house at all and lead by example.