Local nutrition experts say one of the most severe consequences of overindulging in these fizzy drinks is metabolic syndrome. In the July edition of Circulation, an American Heart Association journal, a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and his associates reported that middle-aged adults who drank more than one carbonated soft drink per day had a 48 percent higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome compared to infrequent drinkers. Metabolic syndrome is defined as having three or more of the following metabolic derangements: excess fat around the waist, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, reduced high-density lipoproteins (the "good" cholesterol) and higher insulin resistance. Surprisingly, this finding applied to intake of both regular and diet drinks.
"The conclusion in the article, based on all of the studies, was that in the large community-based sample of middle-aged adults, soft drink consumption was associated with a higher risk of developing adverse metabolic traits in a metabolic syndrome," explains Amber C. Faul, a clinical dietitian and licensed nutritionist at Lafayette General Medical Center.
Younger individuals are at risk as well. School kids, who are the biggest consumers of soda, are vulnerable to diseases associated with obesity, including Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This is not surprising, considering that one 12-ounce can of soda has almost nine teaspoons of sugar and about 150 calories. With the average consumer drinking almost two of these beverages daily, that translates to about 2,000 calories per week.
"The colas contain high-fructose corn syrup, which is what makes them so sweet," explains Nichole Barras, a lifestyle consultant at the City Club at River Ranch. "There is little nutrition, and there are lots of calories in high-fructose corn syrup, which is also in a lot of products that we are unaware of."
According to the National Soft Drink Association, Americans daily consume an average of more than 600 12-ounce servings of soda, or 1.6 cans, each year. Beverage Digest reports that overall sales of soft drinks were 10.2 billion cases in 2005. Males ages 12-29 are the biggest gulpers, consuming more than 160 gallons per year, or almost two quarts daily.
And don't even think you can lose weight by drinking diet colas because the artificially-sweetened beverages may increase your desire for sweet foods. "The diet sodas can make people gain weight," Barras notes. "We are taking in artificial sweeteners that can actually make us store more fat and eat more food."
Yet another problem associated with sodas is tooth decay. Sugary soft drinks lead to increased cavities and tooth loss. Diet colas are not necessarily safer ' acids in both regular and sugar-free drinks can erode tooth enamel. "If you think about it, don't we pour cola on battery acid in order to get it to eat it up?" Faul observes. "So, think about that acid eating the enamel off of your teeth." Additionally, both sugary and diet beverages can contribute to osteoporosis. Soft drinks contain a high level of phosphorous, which can deplete bone calcium and lead to bone fractures. A study of 460 high school girls published in Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine in June of 2000 indicated that sodas were "highly" associated with bone fractures. "The acid ph in colas is approximately 3.4, which is strong enough to dissolve teeth and bones," Barras says.
Many regular and diet drinks contain caffeine, which acts as a diuretic that could dehydrate your body ' and it can be addictive, leading to irritability, anxiety, insomnia and even heart irregularities. Moreover, when consumers decrease caffeine intake, they might experience withdrawal, producing symptoms such as headache, fatigue and inability to work. "Caffeine is a vasodilator," Faul explains. "So, when you don't drink the caffeine and your body is used to it, it constricts those vessels, which causes that headache from caffeine withdrawal."
Perhaps most notable is that drinking a lot of colas leaves little room for good liquids, such as plain old H20 ' the best you can drink ' and other beverages like juice and milk. This deprives the body of important nutrients, particularly calcium and vitamins C and D.
"If you are drinking one or two diet sodas a day, in my opinion, I don't think you are at risk for any type of detrimental disease," Barras says.
"So, really, the key is everything in moderation," Faul adds. "One 12-ounce soft drink a day is not bad. You just want to make sure you are getting your fluids. If you are drinking caffeinated beverages, make sure you are drinking water to counteract that."
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
His company bankrupt and being liquidated, the Lafayette businessman’s financial troubles are mounting.
Jefferson Street Pub continues its generous tradition with its 4th Annual Festival Preview Party this Thursday featuring Big Sam’s Funky Nation.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Pop-up dinner of chef Justin Girouard’s creations reflect farming traditions
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, April 16, 2014:
newsy bits for the fam
Festival International de Louisiane is right around the corner — April 23-27 — and IND Monthly’s second annual Fest fIND contest is along for the ride.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
Georgia-based fried chicken chain would go up against Raising Cane’s, Chick-fil-A and others (like the Popeyes near its proposed location).
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The perfect color for Easter Sunday
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
A Scott businessman has pleaded guilty to failing to report a conspiracy to award Opelousas Housing Authority construction bids to his company.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
Egg-citing ideas for sharing at family gatherings
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.
Now that lawmakers have shot down efforts to cap annual interest rates for payday loans, supporters for stricter regulations of the storefront lenders are rallying behind another strategy.