New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg caused a firestorm of controversy this year when he tried to pass a ban on the sale of large-sized sugary drinks, like soda. The mayor and his allies argued that science has shown that the consumption of these drinks is the leading cause of obesity, which is, in turn, the leading cause of chronic illness. Opponents of the ban argue that there’s no scientific proof directly linking the consumption of soda and other high-sugar beverages to the health issues caused by obesity and that the mayor has no right to regulate what people drink. The debate was heated on both sides, with the mayor’s ban eventually being struck down in court.
But the question remains: how bad is soda for your health?
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, soda and other sugary drinks are the single largest source of calories in the American diet, accounting for more than seven percent of the average daily intake. This fact alone doesn’t bode well for the health of the nation since soda has little to no nutritional value. And while science has not proven a cause and effect relationship between soda consumption rising steadily through the years alongside the obesity rate, there is at least a clear correlation.
In another study, Harvard researchers spent five years looking at global health survey data and concluded that sugary drinks are tied to 25,000 deaths in the US each year from conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Other studies have linked sodas – including diet sodas – to increased heart attack risk, raised triglyceride levels, osteoporosis, and kidney decline, in addition to weight gain and tooth decay.
So, while people may disagree about whether to restrict the sale of large-sized sugary drinks, the negative impact these beverages have on our health is indisputable. Stick to water, seltzer, and teas for your everyday diet, and if you can’t give up on soda completely, try to limit it to just an occasional treat.
Are you a soda drinker who’s kicked the habit? Tell us what effect it’s had on your health below.
Sources: abcnews.go.com, onlinewsj.com, and fitsugar.com