There is a great deal of disagreement between Cook County and the Can The Tax movement. Claims of economic harm versus claims of better public services are difficult to resolve. And Dr. Gaston is not here to take a side in that fight.
What Dr. Gaston will fight for, though, is your health.
The simple plain truth is that soft drinks, pop, soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, sweetened tea, sweetened water and other sweetened beverages are clearly and statistically shown to increase obesity and lead to a decline in overall health. Whether you live in Cook County of not, “canning” soft drinks is one of the very best ways you can improve your health.
With nearly 16 teaspoons of sugar in every can of pop, drinking soda means you are taking in about 150 calories of nutrient-free fluid. There is absolutely nothing of value to offset those calories.
And if you’re thinking, “Well, one soda a day is only 150 calories. That’s not going to kill me” - read on.
Carbonated beverages actually change your mouthfeel and create the desire for more carbonated beverages. In real world habits, most pop drinkers consume 4-6 (or more) cans each day, swilling down 900 calories.
Now, to maintain your weight as is, a woman should consume about 2,000 calories a day. By drinking soda, nearly half your allotted calories are consumed - with absolutely no nutritional benefit. Your body still craves real nutrients, so you still have to eat at least 2,000 calories of real food. Ironically, studies show that drinking sweetened beverages actually causes you to increase your intake of carbohydrate and calorie-rich food as well, giving you a double whammy in your fight against obesity.
This means that because of sweetened beverages, your body has become addicted to sugar.
Most alarmingly, there are a plethora of other health impacts as well for both regular and diet soda drinkers. Those who consume sweetened beverages are twice as likely to develop Type II diabetes. There is an increased risk of bone fractures due to decreased bone mineral density and a link to tooth decay in pop drinkers. Soda drinkers are more likely to have heartburn, upset stomaches and chronic flatulance. They see an increased risk of kidney stones and urinary stones. They are more likely to have high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke.
The statistics tell the story clearly. As the popularity of sweetened drinks began to rise in the United States, so has the rate of obesity. Between 1970 and 1997, sweetened drink consumption rose 86% while the rate of obesity rose 112%.
Plain and simple, as more and more calories from sweet drinks increased in Americans’ diets, so did their weight, both from the drinks themselves and the sugar addiction they caused. Drinkers replace healthy, nutrient-rich foods with carbohydrate and calorie laden, processed “food”, causing a decline in overall health.
Take a stand for your health, whether you agree with the Soda Tax or not. Pour all that soda down the drain (it’s excellent for cleaning your pipes - and what does that tell you?) and switch to water today. You’ll improve your health and the health of your entire family.