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Americans Love Their Soda

By Expert HERWriter
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Obesity related image Photo: Getty Images

A patient of mine recently came in because she was having a difficult losing weight and falling asleep. When prompted, she revealed that she drank seven (yes, seven!) regular sodas per day. With about forty grams of sugar per can, that equals to 280 grams of sugar per day. This begs the question, how much soda are you drinking?

According to new 2011 figures released by the Centers for Disease Control, one in 20 Americans drinks at least four cans of soda and half of the population drinks a sugared beverage everyday when it’s a well-known fact that this increases their risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

If the average can of soda has forty grams of sugar, the equals about ten teaspoons of sugar per serving! What about those coffee or energy drinks? It’s time to read labels.

A typical tall non fat no whip mocha has 25 grams of sugar.

A popular energy drink has 27 grams of sugar.

A bottle of ice tea has 20 grams of sugar.

A tall nonfat chai latte has 40 grams of sugar.

A container of vanilla yogurt has 18 grams of sugar which is important to note when you make your smoothie or mix in sugary granola for breakfast.

What does all this mean? Americans love their sugar especially when it comes in a drinkable form. Add this to the sugar they incorporate into their daily meals, snacks, munchies, and desserts? It’s a sugar overload.

What should you drink instead? How about plain water? Some people don’t like the taste of water so I recommend adding in a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber, try sparkling water or having teas. Try stevia or truvia sweetened drinks instead of those filled with sugar.

Are the diet drinks any better? Unfortunately they are filled with aspartame and are still linked with weight gain so it is strongly advised you avoid those as well.

Take charge of your health and so "No" to soda!


1) Half of Americans Drink Daily Soda, Sweet Beverage. Web. 1 Sept. 2011.

2) Even Diet Soda Induces Weight Gain in the Elderly. Web. 8 Sept. 2011.

Reviewed September 9, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

A container of vanilla yogurt has 18 grams of sugar which is important to note when you make your smoothie or mix in sugary granola for breakfast. 31 Day Fat Loss Cure Review

May 25, 2013 - 12:11am
One of my resolutions this year has been to cut down on soda and so far so good. I can feel the difference when I drink more water and it sets a better example for my son. I'm sure I have been guilty of at least 4 cans of soda in one day, and I'm certainily one to order a Mocha (Triple grande, with whip). I know its terrible, reading the grams of sugar makes me feel even more adamant about taking the water/green tea route. For me, it all comes back to making the commitment to be more active and let other healthy decisions fall in line in the process.January 7, 2012 - 8:05pm
EmpowHER Guest

Let’s take a closer look at several studies suggesting this type of harm from aspartame, including the one you cite using older people: Fowler, Williams et al., http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18535548. Another often cited critical study used diabetic/obese mice, Fowler, S.P., Halade, G.V., Fernandes, G. (2011). ‘Aspartame consumption is associated with elevated fasting glucose in diabetes-prone mice.’ Poster presentation. American Diabetes Association. San Diego Convention Center. June 27, 2011. San Diego, California. [If the study had been peer-reviewed, changes in the design and analysis may have been recommended and with implementation of the research, the findings could have been eliminated, see http://www.aboutaspartame.com/arc/article.asp?aid=204].

Frankly, my independent reviews of aspartame safety have discovered and can prove that all the papers criticizing aspartame represent scientific garbage often by activists with little understanding of the science involved. I have yet to find one that doesn’t suffer fatal experimental issues. My criticism differs from the comments by others about the first paper and the bracketed comment following the second. But in this case both these above papers are simply NOT credible works for yet other fundamental reasons. That explains why aspartame is judged safe by all the relevant world’s regulatory agencies. In this case the former is an epidemiological study; such studies actually mean little in general (unless are variables are controlled, which is very difficult) and even less when it comes to deciphering safety issues. The mouse research suffers from the same fundamental problem. What is worse than the papers lacking appropriate scientific controls, is that the authors are so clueless about the real science that they don’t even know what ARE the appropriate controls. Let me explain!

First, I need to provide the reader some background so that they can understand the errors of these works. Aspartame is metabolized completely before absorption to its two amino acid constituents and methanol. So it is not aspartame itself, but only these constituents, than can be responsible for any effects of aspartame. The amino acid constituents are more abundant in milk, meats, and other common foods than in aspartame. Thus all problems with aspartame reside not with these two amino acids, but with methanol and specifically not with even methanol nor its formaldehyde intermediate oxidation product, but with the final oxidation product formic acid (formate). Both formaldehyde and more importantly formate metabolism are nearly completely dependent on folate and folate status of the user. Not surprisingly treatment in methanol poisoning now days involves treatment (with vitamin) folic acid derivatives and inhibitors of alcohol dehydrogenase inhibitors that slow the very rapid rate of formation of that formate. So again the only issue here is formate and the serious acidosis it produces. Papers critical of aspartame invariably fail to take into account these critical folate issues, yet they have been known for methanol metabolism for 20 years (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1997785).

Second, none of these papers even consider the folate status of their test subjects, human or mouse. And that consideration is vital for two reasons. First, a large percentage of the human population is deficient in folate and related vitamins like B12 and there are polymorphisms (enzyme differences) in the folate enzymes that make as many as 40% of the human population require substantially more folate. Older people are even more deficient. And second, the interested reader should be aware that folate deficiency is a substantial issue with regard to insulin resistance and insulin issues (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=folate%2Cinsulin; over 345 references). The mouse work is guilty for not one but two reasons, both of which are similar. First, it is entirely inappropriate to treat animals with aspartame alone and to think it means something. Aspartame metabolism generates methanol, which not only requires folate for metabolism, but the formate produced can also deplete folate selectively in the treated, but not the control group, since they did not receive any methanol. Such studies violate adequate control requirements. With this faulty control, folate status becomes the issue, not aspartame safety and the longer you run the experiments the more faulty results are produced—this was a critical problem in the Italian Soffritti et al studies reporting problems with aspartame, but which have been dismissed world-wide. But those Soffritti et al studies also used Sprague-Dawley rats that are known to become deficient in folate after just one year. Yet their experiment ran for a roughly three year lifetime of their rats. Hence, all the signs and symptoms they observed (mammary cancer, etc.) were really evidence of an induced-folate deficiency. Now, as to the mouse experiment, obese/diabetic mice have serious known issues with folate, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=folate%2Cdiabetes%20mice. So the third experimental paper suffers from the same fundamental problem as the epidemiology paper.

So why were these very-well-known factors not considered or even mentioned in these papers? There is always ignorance of the long-known issues. Thus, the reader must consider there may be another factor at play. There is an on-going effort to condemn aspartame mostly by scientifically illiterate, anti-aspartame zealots. But the acute desire for funding (and publicity) by some scientists makes many board any floating boat, whether their work is done correctly or not. So, the take home message is again that aspartame safety has been supported by all relevant scientific regulatory experts in the western world. It would seem that this issue discussed here represents but another effort to dredge some concern upon which to hang ones financial hat.

John E. Garst, Ph.D. (Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Nutrition)

September 11, 2011 - 2:11pm

Wow, eye-opening, and a little scary. Thank you for sharing these stats. Hope this serves as a good wake-up call for others as well. Thank you!

September 9, 2011 - 3:35pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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