Date: 2006-08-10 20:37:00
Tags: caffeine, mlp
Sugary drinks are piling on the pounds: A report says that a single can of soda per day can add up to 15 pounds per year.

The math works out pretty well on this one. A can of soda has approximately 150 calories. If you consume one per day, 150 * 365 = 54750 extra calories per year. One pound of fat contains approximately 3500 calories, so 54750 / 3500 = 15.6 pounds.

According to the article, consumption of the high fructose corn syrup that one normally finds in soft drinks does not cause the body to produce insulin. Insulin helps the body convert food calories into energy, so the "stealth" calories in soft drinks go straight to the body's energy reserves: fat. And unless you're doing an exercise routine that is specifically designed to burn fat (ie. vigorous exercise on an empty stomach followed by a low-carb meal), those fat calories are going to want to stay right where they are.

I used to drink several cans of soda per day. I was young, my metabolism was fast. But then it slowed down, the extra calories caught up, and I started gaining weight. I got that under control by exercising more and eating/drinking less. I brought myself down to about one soda per week, and stayed at that level for many years. Recently (within the last couple of months), I have gone completely soda-free. I'm not really sure why I stopped drinking that can of Coke at work, but it might have been any of several factors: (1) soft drinks are $1 at work, not free like they have been for the past 15 years, (2) I'm not getting tired during the day so I don't feel I need caffeine, (3) I am consciously aware that not drinking soda is better for me.

On my desk at work, there is one unopened can of Coke. It's been there for a few months now. I know that if I want it, it's there for me ... but it's warm. I'd rather have a cold one. That'll cost me $1 from the vending machine. No thanks, I didn't really want it anyway.
but "add up to 15 pounds" is a bit of a misleading way of phrasing it, since it won't necessarily add anything if you're burning enough calories...
Sure, if you can burn them off then you're fine. But there is evidence that it's difficult to burn the calories from soft drinks, because they don't trigger the body's normal mechanisms for burning calories.
First I quit anything caffeinated, now it is anything with corn syrup. I have done a pretty good job of brainwashing myself that free things are not really worth it. This has helped me avoid the free sodas, pizzas, dough-nuts, etc, etc, that pours down on our workplace like an avalanche.

But if you put a Boylans Black Cherry soda in front of me, weakness just might find me.
I remember an ex-coworker once going on a diet while drinking 5-10 sodas a day (don't think they were "diet" versions either). That is nearly the estimated calorie limit already without even eating! Oh well, glad I don't like soda.
I've switched to diet soda's with Splenda (something I wish there were more of) and I've noticed that, in conjunction with my lunch-hour walks, the weight has slowly be coming off. Before the switch I was walking, but my weight neither increased nor decreased.
slowly been coming off.
I know Spenda is supposed to be not "bad" for you. But aspartame wasn't supposed to be bad either, so I'm not convinced. I'm suspicious of all artifical sweeteners. :)

There's a lot of benefit in even just walking regularly. Amy and I have both noticed that over the past few months, living here without a car. We're both still going to walk when possible even though we now have wheels!
Aspartame isn't bad for you. It's only bad for rats that are injected with it at something like twice their body weight every day.

Splenda is better because it doesn't taste like something that came out of a Dow chemical factory. :)
Aspartame isn't bad for you.

I don't believe that for a minute. I have a story about me and aspartame - the gist of it is that I noticed some persistent numbness in my shoulder a while after I switched to diet drinks with aspartame. Once I made the connection, I quit diet drinks entirely and the numbness has never returned. How good can it be, if the body metabolizes aspartame into formaldehyde?
Well, to be brutally honest, I'll take peer-reviewd studies over anecdotal reports any day of the week.

But of course, one should probably take spell checked replies over non-spell checked replies.
Peer review is our most reliable way to separate fact from fiction, but you must admit that putting synthetics into your body is considerably riskier than not, and that absense of evidence is not evidence of absense. After all, I doubt there were peer-reviewed studies to measure numbness effects on rats.
Who cares whether a study is peer reviewed if the study was on RATS? Further, "peer review" is often done by people with financial connections to the industry they are doing studies for. That is a fact. How do you think that arthritis drug got on the market that later killed 50,000 people? Even further, Aspartame tried to get on the market for ten whole years without success until the CEO of that company (G.D. Searle) got on Ron Reagan's transition team, then it suddenly got a green light and the rest is history. Know who that CEO was? Donald Rumsfeld. Further still, Splenda that you seem to like is sugar with three chlorine molecules attached to it so the body doesn't see it as a carb. All studies show that up to 15% of splenda is retained in the tissues. Chlorine if you don't already know is a poison recognized as such by the EPA. You are being hookwinked by one of many billion dollar industries. Happy drinking...

Here is some light reading on the subject -

As for aspartame, Greg is absolutely correct and I had the same damned problem with shoulder pain until I quit drinking diet coke -

Ah, I see it doesn't take long for the foaming-at-the-mouth nuts to show up. The ones that discard all scientific fact for whatever they can invent in their own minds.
Foaming at the mouth nuts, huh? What exactly do you think you KNOW, anyway? Let me help you with that. Nothing. The fact that you call something called a "report" scientific fact, when all you know is that there IS one, tells me all I need to know about your objectivity. You have none. At least I did the footwork and correlated it with my own experience and others. What did you do?
Admiting to a broad sweeping generalization would be foolish.
I'll take first-hand experience over peer-reviewed studies any day, too. Perhaps my body's reaction to aspartame was an allergic reaction of some kind, and it doesn't happen to everybody?
An allergy doesn't mean the product as a whole is not safe. I'm allergic to grass clippings, that doesn't mean grass is unsafe.
I never drink sodas anyway. Just wasn't raised that way back in NL. Not unlike the US where you get 32oz cokes with every value meal.

Then again, a beer a day is the same 15lbs, and that's really what I should be looking into. :)
Bah, you need to put the Bud picture in for this post. :)
I never drank sodas when I was a kid either. In fact, I vividly remember my first one - it was a Pepsi when I was about 15 or 16. And it burned, I had never had anything carbonated before (it would be hard to explain the sensation to somebody who drinks carbonated drinks regularly). If I hadn't later tried Coke (which didn't burn as much), I may not have ever started drinking soft drinks at all. Oh well, c'est la vie.
That burning sensation is exactly what I get when I try to drink a soda to this very day. I never drank them as a child, and when I tried one and it burned... I just gave up on them. I doubt I've even had a sip of a soda in 5-10 years (with maybe some very rare exception).
I've been keeping my eyes open for sodas which do not contain high fructose corn syrup. A former coworker is now on the marketing team for a product called Steaz Green Tea Soda, and dropped off several cases of various flavors at our office. They're a good, fizzy drink with all natural flavors, sweetened with cane sugar.

I also noticed that the Mexican export soda, Jarritos, contains no HFCS, which is great because I've always liked Jarritos anyway.
Maine Root root beer.
Virgil's Root beer.
Dr. Pepper from the Waco area (from the factory there).
what about Diet sodas which claim to have no calories? I drink Diet Coke almost exclusively now.
While it's true that diet drinks contain very few food energy calories, they contain a whole pile of other (imo) nasty stuff. I don't trust any artificial sweeteners. See another reply above for a bit about my experience with aspartame.
The main problem with the thermodynamic method of calorie counting is that it really doesn't take into account that you are a biological system that is constantly adapting. If you go run 5 miles, your body is going to wake up and tell you that you to eat more. How is it possible for a person to stay the same weight for a year? I would say that it is almost impossible to eat the same number of calories each day just by placing the right amount of food on the plate -- you are guided by hunger. The soda a day calculation assumes that you will keep eating the same amount, exactly. I remember johno said that he got really hungry when he quit drinking 6 sodas a day.

Of course, I agree with you that it is a good idea not to drink them -- I quit as my new years resolution this year and have kept to it. :)
Yeah, it's not quite as cut and dried as the arithmetic shows, but at least it's a starting point. There is also a compensating effect with caffeinated drinks, since caffeine is a mild appetite suppressant.

Congrats on quitting, though. I haven't made it official, but I'm close. :)
Fruit juice is tastier and better for you... except it's getting harder to find 100% fruit juice without extra sugar, corn syrup, etc etc. I wish grocery stores would segregate the 100% juice from the "blends", "nectars", "punches", etc. to make it easier to find the good stuff.
And water is the best!

Free and NO calories, fat, HFCS, artificial sweeteners, salt, or Red Dye #2.
Greg Hewgill <>