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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Do Sodas Cause Obesity?

    Last week we noted that New York City banned large sugary drinks.  Mayor Bloomberg is banning super-sized sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.  Is there a link between sugary drinks and obesity?  Well, the news this week indicates there may be.    Could the obesity epidemic in this country be linked to all the sugary sodas and other sugary drinks we partake of every day?
New Research:
Research released this week at an obesity conference in San Antonio, Texas indicates that sugary beverages somehow interacts with our genes to promote weight gain.   What did the studies find?

·         Sugar Study One:  33,000 Americans were studied by Lu Qi an assistant professor of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health.  His study found the more sugary drinks you had, the higher your risk of obesity.  If you drink one sugary drink a day or less, your risk of obesity was 35%.  Those who drank one or more sugary drinks a day increased their risk of obesity by 235%. 
o   One sugary drink a day or less increased obesity risk by 35%
o   One or more sugary drinks a day increased obesity risk by 235%
·         Sugar Study Two:  641 children from  4 to 11 years of age were asked to drink either 8 ounces of a sugary drink a day or 8 ounces of a sugar free drink a day for a year and a half.  All were normal weight at the beginning of the study.  What did the study find?
o   Sugar free drinkers – gained less fat, fewer pounds 14 pounds.
o   Sugary drinkers – gained 16 pounds.
o   The researchers noted that given how many sugary drinks teenagers drink and in amounts larger than 8 ounces, they predicted those children would gain 5.5 pounds.    
·         Sugar Study Three:  In the Boston area, researchers studied 224 overweight adolescents.  One group received deliveries of bottled water and sugar free beverages to their homes.  They were encouraged not to drink sugary beverages.  A second group had no deliveries, just continued to drink what they always drank.  At the end of a year, those who had healthier beverages delivered to their homes had gained less weight, 3.5 pounds versus the 7.7 pounds gained by the group with no changes in the beverages they drank. 
o   Teenagers drinking water and diet drinks gained 3.5 pounds
o   Teenagers drinking sugary beverages gained 7.7 pounds. 
To quote a researcher from the Boston study:

“I know of no other category of food whose elimination can produce weight loss in such a short period of time," said Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children's Hospital, who led one of the studies. "The most effective single target for an intervention aimed at reducing obesity is sugary beverages." 
The good news is that overall Americans are drinking fewer sugary beverages. 
What can parents do?
o   At meals, serve milk.
o   Between meals, serve water or 100% juice.
o   Don’t have sugary drinks like soda in the home.
What can you do?
o   Cut out sugary beverages or reduce the size of your sugary beverage and the  number you drink
o   Drink water which has no sugar, no calories.
Read more about the link between sugary drinks and obesity at:

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