Is Life Sans Soda Pop Really Going to Slim Us Down?

Glass of Cola with a Straw in ItToday’s news coverage seems to be focusing relentlessly on the new Coca-Cola commercial which implies the company is part of the weight loss solution, and not the cause of the obesity problem.  The commercial highlights all the reduced sugar products offered by the company-noting many are reduced calorie, calorie free, or portioned into smaller mini-servings.  Critics of Coca-Cola note all the sugar cubes in various servings of soda pop.

Empty calories from any food source consumed in excess of a person’s energy requirements will promote obesity.  Critics of regular soda pop will add that it is easier to drink excess calories than consume them through food.  This may be a valid point, but it is not in and of itself a reason to point the finger at soda pop or the Coca Cola Company as the main reason we are a fat country!  Lest anyone come to the conclusion that I condone pop-I rarely drink it or advise my clients to consume it.  There are some important health related reasons to avoid soda pop, but you never hear your doctor or the media citing the reasons-you only hear that pop makes you fat.  Some of the other reasons to avoid pop include:

Dental decay.  Give a teenager with braces regular soda pop on a daily basis and it is a recipe for a lot of cavities.  I knew a teenage boy who would only drink regular soda pop (as opposed to diet) and when the braces came off, he had seventeen cavities!

Bone Loss.  Everyone needs to be concerned about their bones.  Osteoporosis occurs in both men and women and millions of people suffer from it.  Studies show that both diet and regular soda pop may weaken bones by increasing calcium excretion.

Poorer Quality of Diet.  When dairy products or beverages containing calcium (calcium fortified soy, almond, rice milk or orange juice) are replaced by soda pop of any kind, it decreases the likelihood that individual calcium requirements are being met. Food sources of calcium are also important sources of other important vitamins and minerals, so too much soda decreases the likelihood that overall nutritional requirements are being met.

Quality of Sleep.  Many brands and types of soda pop actually contain caffeine.  While many individuals are aware of this and intentionally have pop in the morning rather than coffee, many people are unaware that caffeine may be lurking in their soda pop.  Mountain Dew and some brands of root beer contain caffeine.

Right now, in this country, you have a choice to drink pop, not drink pop, or drink a reduced or calorie free version.  The choice is that of the individual, and the individual should take responsibility.  Coca cola has simply given the consumer a choice and people make their choices which have consequences. If anything, educating the public on energy requirements and how soda pop does or does not fit into a healthy eating regimen seems in order-not the media hype of criticizing a company.  We need to begin to take some personal responsibility for how we eat and how we take care of or bodies.

Do you think the media hype and criticism are warranted?