Does too much soda make America a sugar nation?

As more than half of Americans admit to drinking soda each and every day, it's no wonder weight gain…
Does too much soda make America a sugar nation?
Foto: Flickr

As more than half of Americans admit to drinking soda each and every day, it’s no wonder weight gain has become a concern. For many people, consuming the diet version is thought of as an appropriate solution to still enjoy the beverage without the worry of weight gain.

While many diet soft drink companies use artificial sweeteners to provide the sugary goodness without all the calories, chemical sweeteners like aspartame are not without risk. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows a link between the use of aspartame and cancer. Research shows that over a long period of time, people who indulged in diet soft drinks were at a higher risk for developing specific types of cancer.

These cancers included Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and leukemia, all forms of cancer that result in abnormal blood cell and lymph node activity. A recent report from the American Cancer Society shows that American Hispanics die from more cancer-related illnesses each year than any other form of death.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out, 40% of Mexican Americans and 39% of all American Hispanics are considered obese. With the recommended daily sugar intake being about 64 calories, or a little less than half of a 12-ounce can of soda which averages 140 calories, those consuming multiple cans of soda each day have something to worry about. One normal soft drink contains the equivalent of 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar.

While most consumers feel that avoiding obesity by drinking diet sodas instead of regular soft drinks is a healthier alternative, research warns that chemical sweeteners may not be the healthiest choice. Those who consume diet sodas simply to avoid becoming obese may want to reconsider their choices.

Across the globe, about 1.5 billion people are considered overweight while another half a billion people are medically obese. Of these figures, 170 million of them are children. In the U.S., approximately 22% of American Hispanic children are obese.

Obesity is directly related with health concerns that include hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, a variety of cancers, and numerous additional health afflictions.

Although sugar filled soft drinks do add up calorie-wise, they are not the only culprit for people who pack on the pounds. Those who have regular diets high in sugar content, particularly liquid sugars like high-fructose corn syrup, a common sweetener found in many foods, has also been related to an increase in overall body fat.