Ditch The Soft Drink Habit

From my Healthy Living column in Moncton’s Times & Transcript.

If you’ve been attentive in your reading of ”Whatever”, you might have noticed that, last week, Dr. Wallace’s column featured a teen seeking advice about his soft drink habit. The teen in question was drinking a whopping four to five soft drink servings (of unknown size) each day. Although I think most teenagers don’t drink quite this much pop, I know we’re known for overconsumption of sugary beverages.  And this is a problem.

Although New Brunswick is a bit over a thousand miles away from New York (according to Google Maps), you may have heard of the anti-soft drink campaign of New York’s Department of Health, popularized by a YouTube video depicting a man drinking a glass of fat. The glass of fat apparently represents the weight a person would gain if he regularly consumed soft drinks. According to Thomas Farley, NYC Health Commissioner,“Sugary drinks shouldn’t be a part of our everyday diet,” and “Drinking beverages loaded with sugars increases the risk of obesity and associated problems, particularly diabetes but also heart disease, stroke, arthritis and cancer.” The Department of Health also warns us that soda serving sizes are increasing: soda used to come in 6.5 oz bottles and now it comes in 20 oz bottles. Yikes.

Personally, I’ve never understood the soft drink problem, probably because my parents rarely bought pop. I think I was nearly eight when I first tasted pop. Naturally, since I wasn’t used to drinking carbonated beverages, I thought it was nasty. Its bubbles made my nose hurt (don’t laugh; in my defense, I’m not the only person to have noticed this) and despite the apparent 16 ½ teaspoons of sugar that a twenty ounces of pop contains, I didn’t find it all that sweet.

Some people have the opposite aversion: they dislike water. I recently watched an episode of the The Doctors, which featured water and the importance of drinking it in the appropriate amount. One of the guests was a twenty-six year old who drank only diet soda—no water. Her main reason for not drinking water was that she found it disgusting because of its taste (or lack thereof). Since she was drinking diet soda and not regular soda, she wasn’t at risk for weight gain because of her soda habit. However she was at risk for dehydration, according to the show’s hosts. They explained that if someone drinks under two glasses of water each day (which classifies him as chronically dehydrated), he doubles his risk of a heart attack. Double yikes.

I hope the above information will convince you to drink healthily and remember that it’s all relative—what is gross to me is tasty to another and vice verca– and that you can learn to love a food you were previously averse to. For more information on soft drinks and health, you can visit www.thedoctorstv.com and view the ”The #1 Secret to Living Longer and Looking Younger” (a.k.a. water) show in the archives or you can visit  the New York City Department of Health’s soft drink page at www.nyc.gov/health/obesity.


Originally published in the Times & Transcript on April 11th, 2010.


One Comment on “Ditch The Soft Drink Habit”

  1. KKai Orkut says:

    The video that you are talking about … Yes, it is gross, but I don’t think it successfully helps reduce soft drink consumption.
    Man Drinks Fat New York City Health Department Anti Soda NYC Health Eating sugar

    However, I think this one is a better one that they make. :)
    Pouring on the Pounds – Man Walking Off Soda – NYC Health Anti Sugar Drinks

    One good suggestion you point out is not to have the junk at home.

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