Want a quick trip to diabetes, osteoporosis, tooth decay and obesity? Here, have a soda.

I’ve never thought much of Prevention Magazine. For me, it is a mass market publication that seems to carry stories that parrot the latest confusing study results (“Is Coffee Good For You?”, “Are Bald Men Happier?”) rather than helping give us context and explanation.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I read this title:

It Raises Diabetes Risk and Robs Bone. It’s Wrecking Our Teeth. And It’s Making Us Fat. The Culprit? SODA.

Are you kidding me? Has criticism of soda, heard for so long among holistic health practitioners, finally going mainstream? I think it just did.

Soda and other sugary drinks have become our single largest source of calories, replacing white bread. On average, Americans drink 18 ounces of soda every day. This makes it a $68.1 billion industry.

There have been some reports that soda consumption has gone down a few percentage points recently, which is true. However, we’ve replaced soda with high-sugar sports drinks, like Powerade and Gatorade, which are almost as bad. Soda has 12 calories per ounce, Powerade has 10. Unless you are exercising vigorously, there’s no reason to drink anything but filtered water.

I say “sugary drinks,” but that’s not really accurate.

The sweetener in most soda is not actually sugar from a beet or cane, but actually high fructose corn syrup, a manmade substance that is worse in some ways. It fails to suppress the production of ghrelin, which is a hormone that stimulates the appetite. In other words, it won’t make you feel satisfied the way the glucose in potatoes or pasta will. “You never get the message to stop eating” says Peter Havel, a nutrition researcher at the University of California, Davis (from the Prevention article).

The article goes so far as to say that soda drinking is possibly as unhealthy as smoking or drinking alcohol. They justify this by linking soda to obesity and to several deadly conditions like diabetes. And diabetes has truly become an epidemic in America, with cases of Type 2 diabetes rising from 6.6 million in 1980 to 20.8 million today. It seems likely that soda contributes to this problem.

In the article, soda is also linked to tooth decay. It’s the acidic quality of soda that actually dissolves tooth enamel.

Something I don’t like about the Prevention article is that it infers that we should switch from drinking soda to drinking cow’s milk, which I really don’t agree with.

Unfortunately, the Prevention article I’m quoting from is not online, but I can link to an older article in Mother Jones magazine that is also very helpful.

Author by Daryl Kulak