A Soda a Day: How is it Affecting Your Weight?

Many people limit themselves to one soda a day especially those looking for a quick sugar or caffeine boost. However, new research shows that daily soda may be affecting your weight more than you think. A recent study in the Journal of American Medical Association showed that women who drink soda or fruit punch every day gain weight quickly and face a significant risk of type II diabetes.

The study which analyzed more than 50,000 American nurses found that those who drank just one serving of soda or fruit punch a day tended to gain more weight than those who drank less than one a month. One serving is equivalent to one 12-ounce can of soda or one 8-ounce cup of fruit punch. The bottles of soda and fruit punches you find most often in vending machines are often 2-3 servings, which make these findings even more important since many people may be taking in more than one serving a day.

Over an average of four years, researchers found that the women who gained the most weight were those who increased their intake of regular sodas or fruit punch from one or fewer per week to one or more per day. Such women gained an average of 10.3 pounds, compared with an average of slightly less than three pounds for those who consumed one drink or less per week.

In addition, those who had one or more drinks containing sugar or corn syrup per day were 83 percent more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who drank less than one such drink per month. It is also interesting to note that Type 2 Diabetes rose by 60% between 1990-2001.

The findings in this study suggest that there is something especially unhealthy about calories consumed in liquid form, said Caroline M. Apovian of the Boston University School of Medicine, who wrote an editorial accompanying the findings.

"It seems that when you drink your calories as opposed to eating them, your body may not sense that you've just taken in those calories and your appetite doesn't seem to compensate," Apovian said. "The appetite circuit might not be programmed to register liquid calories."

The take home lesson is use soda as a once in awhile treat but avoid drinking them every day for your health's sake.

© Meri Raffetto, 2005

Meri Raffetto is a Registered Dietitian and a recognized professional in the area of nutrition and wellness. She is the owner of Real Living Nutrition Services providing online weight loss programs. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter to receive nutrition tips, healthy recipes, and more at http://www.reallivingnutrition.com

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