‘So-da’sastrous? The dangers of sugary drinks

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Soda and Hot Dogs

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These swell summer months align themselves with a number of variables that inspire higher levels of liquid consumption: social events like patios and BBQs, physiological events such as dehydration and sweating, that deplete us of our natural juices.

Our bodies require the maintenance of a liquid balance that allows our cells to properly function; likewise we need the right balance of good fats, calories, salts, sugar and sweets. Basic biology. But people tend to throw this logic out the window when it comes to choosing drinks, especially during warmer months of the year.

Diabetes and obesity-infused North America is currently swimming in debates about sugar—and not concerning solid food items like extra-bacon-cheeseburger-wrapped-fried-duck-samosas, but liquid binge-worthy items, like your average (read: gigantic) movie theatre-sized soft drink. Sugar itself runs the risk of being taxed out the donut hole, Mayor Bloomberg of New York City is calling on supersized cup bans, cranberries (yes the berry, not the band) just got their own congressional caucus appointed to them within the U.S. government to lobby for their ability to be sold to children as juice to counteract the healthy vending machine movement, and all the while one in every five calories Canadians consume reportedly comes from sugar.

On average in 2004, Canadians consumed 110.0 grams of sugar a day, amounting to about 21.4% of our total daily calorie intake. (Statistics Canada) This report from the Canadian Diabetes Association calls diabetes an “economic tsunami,” and estimates that the cost of the illness on Canada will rise from $6.3 billion annually in 2000 to $16.9 billion annually by 2020.

see Centrifugal Sugar Production by Country in 1000 MT

The World Health Organization recommends a daily maximum of 10% of calories from free sugars.

Over 100 companies and organizations recently called on the U.S. Surgeon General to conduct and publicize a comprehensive report to settle the score once and for all on the perils of sugar in “American sizes”, in hopes that results would mirror an overall sociological impact the same sort of report had on tobacco in 1964.

Soda and Hot Dogs
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“Soda and other sugary drinks are the only food or beverage that has been directly linked to obesity, a major contributor to coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers, and a cause of psychosocial problems,” the groups wrote in the letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. “Yet, each year, the average American drinks about 40 gallons of sugary drinks, all with little, if any, nutritional benefit.” 

For more on the cranberry ban, read this BusinessWeek article.

For more on Bloomberg’s supersized soda ban, read this ABC News article.

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