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San Francisco Bans Sodas from Vending Machines

soda vending machineUnder an executive order from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, sodas such as Coke, Pepsi and Fanta Orange are no longer allowed in vending machines on city property. Some of their diet counterparts are still allowed.

The ban includes non-diet sodas, sports drinks and artificially sweetened water.

Juice must be 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice with no added sweeteners, and diet sodas can be no more than 25 percent of the items offered.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

"It's all part of Newsom's effort to combat obesity and improve San Franciscans' health, similar to a national effort being championed by first lady Michelle Obama.

The mayor's administration points to studies linking soda to obesity, including a UCLA one released last year that found adults who drink at least one soft drink a day are 27 percent more likely to be obese than those who don't".

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that residents, workers and visitors to San Francisco City properties will have fewer health-harming temptations in the form of sugar-laden sodas when shopping for vending machine refreshments.

The bad news is that despite the best of intentions, San Francisco is still making decisions based on flawed assumptions and health damaging misconceptions.

How's that?

Because although regular sodas will be banned from vending machines on city property, "healthier" alternatives include diet sodas and soy milk – neither of which will do your body any good.

In fact, if I had to choose between regular soda and diet, I'd go with the regular soda.

Yes, the high fructose corn syrup in regular soda IS a major culprit in the obesity epidemic as it's the number one source of calories in the US. I've written extensively about the health dangers of excessive fructose and sugar consumption lately, and am pretty sure that my education campaign on this issue is having a marked effect.

That said, diet sodas are loaded with artificial sweeteners instead, which may be even worse for your health than the fructose…  It's a tough call – they're 'two faces of evil' – but I would never recommend drinking diet soda over regular.

And promoting soy milk as a healthy alternative is no better, as it's one of the driving factors behind much of the thyroid problems  we're seeing in the US. It's a particularly dangerous option for children. And the younger the child, the worse soy milk is as an option. In fact, making the mistake of replacing breast milk or infant formula with soy milk can be lethal.

Still, I applaud San Francisco Mayor Newsom for taking a stand against soda, and recognizing it for the harm it has done, and is doing, to the waistlines of Americans who have been hoodwinked by glitzy advertising and fraudulent claims by both the beverage industry and our public health officials.

Could Soda Tax have an Impact on Obesity?

Many elected officials have tried to step in and make a difference in this regard, but so far most have failed. A recent Time magazine article reviews US lawmakers' attempts at introducing taxes on soft drinks.

Kansas, for example, proposed adding a penny in tax per teaspoon of sugar in non-juice drinks. Soda company employees swarmed the senate in response, claiming that a "soda tax would kill jobs, burden the poor and constitute an unwelcome government intrusion into the American diet," the Time's writes.

I find that sentiment – and the fact that our politicians are so sensitive to it, in this case -- to be extremely ironic, considering government raids on small farms and organic food co-ops are increasing. Where are the outraged demonstrators defending your right to eat healthful, life sustaining, non-toxic foods without "unwelcome government intrusion"?

Again, the power of political lobbyists is apparent. According to Time magazine, the American Beverage Association increased their spending on lobbying from $140,000 for the first quarter last year to a whopping $5.4 million in the first quarter of this year.

Organic farmers and small co-ops, on the other hand, must rely on you, the consumer, to help change the political environment to ensure their survival…

Hilarious Example of How Industry Tries to Defend the Indefensible

As the truth about the health dangers of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and all its variations has finally crept out into the limelight where it belongs, the beverage industry and its fellow corn refiners have resorted to even more ludicrous attempts at defending their health-harming products.

One such hilarious example came out of the mouth of Maureen Storey, the senior VP for science policy for the American Beverage Association. In a May 4 NPR radio interview, she tried to "explain" that soda plays a crucial role in children's hydration needs because:

"Soda is comprised mostly of water. A full-calorie soft drink has 90 percent water, and a diet soft drink is 99 percent water. Water is the most important nutrient that we have...

... There are some studies that show that particularly with children, children who have been exercising may not drink enough water to get back to the hydration point that they need to be at.

So with a little bit of flavoring and a little bit of sweetness, they will drink enough, then, to get back to where they need to be."

If there was an official award for "The Most Hilarious, Unscientific Rationalization" for a harmful product, I'd nominate her for it.

Soda Consumption and its Harmful Effects

Americans consume close to 50 billion liters of soda per year, which equates to about 216 liters, or about 57 gallons per person. That's a staggering amount of fructose!

Just think about that for a moment. 

The average American is drinking more than a gallon of soda EVERY week. 

There is little question in my mind that eliminating this source of fluids from your diet is likely to be one of the simplest changes for most with the biggest health benefit. This is only related to the fact that nearly everyone is abusing it. If you were only drinking a can every few days, you would not see as much benefit if you quit.

As mentioned in the San Francisco Chronicle, one independent, peer-reviewed study published in the British medical journal The Lancet found that your risk of obesity jumps 60 percent for each additional daily serving of sugar-sweetened soft drinks you consume.

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!

At that rate, is it any wonder that more than 65 percent of all American adults struggle with overweight and obesity? And those who have switched to diet soda are quite simply being deceived, because diet sodas do absolutely nothing to curb obesity. In fact, diet soda is ALSO clearly linked to obesity, but through different mechanisms.

As for regular soda, Storey can argue that it's mostly water all day long, but that does not change the fact that just one can of Coke also contains 10 teaspoons of sugar.

It is a proven fact that sugar and/or fructose increases your insulin levels, which can lead to not only weight gain, but also high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, premature aging and a large number of other negative side effects.

In fact, I've created an entire list outlining the many ways sugar can damage your health.

One of the more troubling health risks soda drinkers face (as if obesity isn't bad enough) is a higher cancer risk. Soda has also 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.

Gout is another common health challenge that disproportionally affects soda drinkers, and this is directly related to the fructose content of soda, which raises your uric acid levels.

In fact, recent research by Dr. Richard Johnson, whom I've interviewed on this topic, indicates that the link between fructose consumption and uric acid, hypertension, insulin resistance/diabetes and kidney disease is so clear that your uric acid level can be used as a marker for toxicity from fructose.

If you need even further evidence implicating fructose as the leading contributor to obesity, then you'll want to watch this video presentation by Dr. Robert H. Lustig, M.D. of the University of California San Francisco, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, which masterfully illustrates just exactly HOW your liver's breakdown of fructose leads to obesity and chronic disease.

Turns out that much of the fructose you eat or drink is literally stored as fat. The carbohydrate fructose is converted into fatty acids (lipogenesis), which is then stored in your body's fat cells as fat.

How Much Fructose is Too Much?

It's important to realize that it's the MASSIVE DOSES of fructose you're exposed to that spell trouble – not the fructose in and of itself, if consumed in moderation. But as I said earlier, just one can of soda equals 10 teaspoons of sugar, which is more than your body would need in a single day from ALL food and beverage sources combined.

As a standard recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day.  

However, for most people it would actually be wise to limit your fruit fructose to 15 grams or less, because just about all flavored drinks, juices and processed food you consume on any given day contain additional "hidden" sources of fructose. 

As I've mentioned before, this also means that you may need to be careful with your fruit consumption, especially if your uric acid levels are elevated.

Dr. Johnson believes the ideal range for uric acid lies between 3 to 5.5 mg per dl. For more information, please review this recent article.

Here is a helpful chart showing the fructose content of a variety of fruits, to help you gauge your fructose consumptions from this source.

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

Improving Your Health May Be as Easy as Cutting Out Soda

The good news here is that quitting soda is one of the easiest things you can do to dramatically improve your health.

Remember that nothing beats pure, clean water when it comes to serving your body's hydration needs.

If you really feel the urge for a carbonated beverage, try sparkling mineral water with a squirt of lime or lemon juice.

To ensure purity, your best bet is to filter your own water at home. I strongly advise you to avoid drinking unfiltered tap water, as chlorine and fluoride (which are added to most municipal water supplies) are toxic chemicals that should not be consumed in large quantities.

If you struggle with an addiction to soda, which is quite possible, considering that sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine, I highly recommend trying Turbo Tapping.

Turbo Tapping is a simple and clever use of the Emotional Freedom Technique, designed to resolve many aspects of an issue in a short period of time.