Soda Is Making Us Fat: Study

Beverage association says study does not demonstrate cause and effect

By Olsen Ebright
|  Thursday, Jan 7, 2010  |  Updated 2:54 PM PDT
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Soda Is Making Us Fat: Study

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Put down that can of soda. Your waistline will thank you.

It turns out there's a connection between soda consumption and obesity. Shocking, we know.

According to a new study from UCLA -- "Bubbling Over: Soda Consumption and Its Link to obesity in California" -- those delicious cans of soda are making us fat. And what's worse is that soda is making our children fat, according to publichealthadvocacy.org:

The study found that 41 percent of children (ages 2 - 11), 62 percent of adolescents (ages 12 - 17) and 24 percent of adults drink at least one soda or other sugar-sweetened beverage every day. Regardless of income or ethnicity, adults who drink one or more sodas or other sugar-sweetened beverages every day are 27 percent more likely to be overweight or obese.

"The science is clear and conclusive: Soda is fueling California's $41 billion a year obesity epidemic," said one of the study's authors, Dr. Harold Goldstein. "We drink soda like water. But unlike water, soda serves up a whopping 17 teaspoons of sugar in every 20-ounce serving."

Researchers interviewed more than 43,000 adults and 4,000 adolescents from every county in California, according to publichealthadvocacy.org.

Goldstein also said that over the last 30 years, Americans consumed at least 278 more calories per day even as physical activity levels remained static. During that period, he said, soda accounted for as much as 43 percent of the new calorie intake.

"If we're serious about curbing the obesity epidemic, we have to start with the biggest culprit," Goldstein told the Daily News. "Sodas are at or near the top of the list."

The American Beverage Association called shenanigans on the study:

"This study does not demonstrate cause and effect because, like all epidemiological studies, it looks at correlations. In fact, the compendium of science shows that soft drinks do not uniquely contribute to obesity or any other chronic disease. A review published in Nutrition Research Reviews concludes that there is little evidence from epidemiological studies that sugar-sweetened drinks are more likely than any other source of calories to lead to obesity..."

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