Soft Drink Firms Claim Sugary Sodas Cut in Schools

soda, soft drinksThe U.S. soft drinks industry says it has dramatically cut the number of high-calorie soft drinks sold in schools as part of a drive to tackle obesity. The American Beverage Association said shipments of full-calorie drinks to schools were down 95 percent.

Nearly one in three children and teenagers in the U.S. are overweight or obese, and health experts say sugary drinks are part of the problem. Several U.S. states and cities are considering taxing soft drinks.

Under voluntary guidelines in place since 2006, full-calorie soft drinks were removed from school canteens and vending machines. However, other drinks, including diet sodas, are being promoted in their place.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Soda has no place in a school setting, and it’s encouraging that shipments to U.S. schools are down 95 percent. The reduction is the result of voluntary guidelines instituted in 2006, which called for the removal of full-calorie soft drinks from school cafeterias and vending machines.

Now, instead of slurping down a can of liquid candy, your child can choose from other “healthier” beverages like artificially sweetened diet sodas, artificially flavored waters, fructose-laden juices and hormone-ridden pasteurized milk.

Ok, well I’m being sarcastic. It’s no secret that most schools have a long way to go when it comes to providing students with truly healthy food and drinks … but I digress.

The fact that sugary sodas are no longer front and center in school cafeterias and hallway vending machines is a step in the right direction. Now, if we can get kids (and their parents) to ditch the sodas at home too, we’ll be making real progress, as clearly this is the primary reason why two out of three people are overweight.

Staggering Soda Statistics …

Taking soda out of schools is important and necessary, but for real health improvements to occur, soda consumption needs to go down immensely.

As it stands, soda is actually the number one source of calories in the United States!

Further, this alarming graphic shows just how out of control soft drink consumption has become:

  • Americans drink nearly 50 billion liters of soda a year
  • 1 billion Coke products are consumed every day
  • 21 percent of all the sugar in the average American diet comes from soft drinks

Why Soda Should Not be on Your Grocery List

There is absolutely NO REASON you or your kids should ever drink soda. If you were stranded in the middle of a desert with no other fluid available, then maybe, but other than that … none, nada, zip, zero. No excuses.

What you need to realize is that for the fleeting amount of pleasure you may get from downing a can of soda, serious damage is occurring within your body.

As the Nutrition Research Center reported, within the first 10 minutes of drinking a soda, 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. This is 100 percent of your recommended daily intake, and the only reason you don’t vomit as a result of the overwhelming sweetness is because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor.

Phosphoric acid, it should be noted, can interfere with your body's ability to use calcium, leading to osteoporosis or softening of your teeth and bones.

Within 20 minutes of your last sip, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat.

It’s no wonder soda has been implicated as one of the key factors in the obesity epidemic.

Soda: Disease in a Can

Drinking soda can not only make your fat, it can increase your risk of many chronic illnesses.

One independent, peer-reviewed study published in the Lancet demonstrated a strong link between soda consumption and childhood obesity. They found that 12-year-olds who drank soft drinks regularly were more likely to be overweight than those who didn't.

In fact, for each additional daily serving of sugar-sweetened soft drink consumed during the nearly two-year study, the risk of obesity jumped by 60 percent.

Here’s another sobering fact if you’re struggling with weight issues: Just one extra can of soda per day can add as much as 15 pounds to your weight over the course of a single year!

Other statistics on the health dangers of soft drinks include:

  • Soda drinkers have a higher cancer risk. While the federal limit for benzene in drinking water is 5 parts per billion (ppb), researchers have found benzene levels as high as 79 ppb in some soft drinks, and of the 100 brands tested, most had at least some detectable level of benzene present
  • Soda has been shown to cause DNA damage – courtesy of sodium benzoate, a common preservative found in many soft drinks, which has the ability to switch off vital parts of your DNA. This could eventually lead to diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver and Parkinson's

Another Reason to Avoid Soda: Fructose

The primary sweetener used in soda is high fructose corn syrup, and fructose is, hands down, one of the worst sweeteners you can consume (and is a leading cause of obesity).

Let me clear up any confusion here, as fructose is the primary sugar in most fruits. It isn’t that fructose is intrinsically evil -- it is just the MASSIVE DOSES you and your family are exposed to that makes it dangerous. Because it is so cheap and makes foods taste so much better, it is added to virtually every processed food … including soda.

There are two overall reasons fructose is so damaging:

  1. Your body metabolizes fructose in a much different way than glucose. Fructose is broken down in your liver just like alcohol and produces many of the side effects of chronic alcohol use, right down to the “beer belly” Most of the fructose you eat is converted directly to fat unlike glucose where most of it is converted to energy.

  2. People are consuming fructose in quantities that are 400-800 percent higher than they were 100 years ago due to its pervasive presence in just about all processed foods

The fructose in fruits and vegetables is also not the same fructose molecule you’ll find in synthetic high-fructose corn syrup, which is manufactured in the lab. Naturally occurring fructose comes along with fiber, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, whereas fructose sweeteners have no nutritional value.

Additionally, the fructose in fruit is actually attached to other sugars and molecules and needs to be broken down before it is absorbed, which limits the damage it causes. In HFCS it is a free fructose molecule, just as the glucose.

Because these sugars are in their free forms their absorption is radically increased and you actually absorb far more of them than you would if they had been in their natural joined state, which would cause a higher percentage of the fructose to pass to the intestine unabsorbed.

So, I highly recommend you keep all fructose under 25 grams per day (and this includes fruits). You can use the table below to get an idea of how much fructose is in your favorite fruits. Most processed food is loaded with fructose and is best avoided. For instance, there are about 40 grams of HFCS per can of soda!

Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Limes 1 medium 0
Lemons 1 medium 0.6
Cranberries 1 cup 0.7
Passion fruit 1 medium 0.9
Prune 1 medium 1.2
Apricot 1 medium 1.3
Guava 2 medium 2.2
Date (Deglet Noor style) 1 medium 2.6
Cantaloupe 1/8 of med. melon 2.8
Raspberries 1 cup 3.0
Clementine 1 medium 3.4
Kiwifruit 1 medium 3.4
Blackberries 1 cup 3.5
Star fruit 1 medium 3.6
Cherries, sweet 10 3.8
Strawberries 1 cup 3.8
Cherries, sour 1 cup 4.0
Pineapple 1 slice
(3.5" x .75")
Grapefruit, pink or red 1/2 medium 4.3
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Boysenberries 1 cup 4.6
Tangerine/mandarin orange 1 medium 4.8
Nectarine 1 medium 5.4
Peach 1 medium 5.9
Orange (navel) 1 medium 6.1
Papaya 1/2 medium 6.3
Honeydew 1/8 of med. melon 6.7
Banana 1 medium 7.1
Blueberries 1 cup 7.4
Date (Medjool) 1 medium 7.7
Apple (composite) 1 medium 9.5
Persimmon 1 medium 10.6
Watermelon 1/16 med. melon 11.3
Pear 1 medium 11.8
Raisins 1/4 cup 12.3
Grapes, seedless (green or red) 1 cup 12.4
Mango 1/2 medium 16.2
Apricots, dried 1 cup 16.4
Figs, dried 1 cup 23.0

Tips for Breaking Your (and Your Kids’) Soda Habit

If you are still drinking soda, stopping the habit is an easy way to significantly improve your health. Pure water is a much better choice, or if you must drink a carbonated beverage, try sparkling mineral water with a squirt of lime or lemon juice.

If you struggle with an addiction to soda, (remember, sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine!) I strongly recommend you consider Turbo Tapping as a simple yet highly effective tool to help you stop this habit.

Turbo Tapping is a simple and clever use of the Emotional Freedom Technique/Meridian Tapping Technique (EFT/MTT), designed to resolve many aspects of an issue in a concentrated period of time.

+ Sources and References