Calories from sugary soft drinks are more likely to cause weight gain

Sunday, January 27, 2013 by: Celeste M. Smucker, MPH, PhD
Tags: soft drinks, weight gain, calories

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(NaturalNews) A major soft drink manufacturer is now set to run big ads explaining that weight gain, and more specifically our obesity epidemic, is due to consuming too many calories over all and not to drinking too many sugar sweetened beverages. While this sounds logical, in fact it is not supported by studies which suggest that sugar sweetened beverages have a much bigger impact on weight gain, obesity and the development of Type-II diabetes than do calories from other sources.

Sugar sweetened beverages may amplify the genetic risk of obesity

A study that appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine in October of 2012 looked at the link between drinking sugar sweetened beverages and the genetic risk of obesity to determine if there is an interaction between the two which increases the risk of weight gain.

The researchers evaluated data from studies which included over 30,000 Americans and created a score to measure genetic tendency towards obesity. They then compared the Body Mass Index (BMI) for people with the same genetic tendency who drank differing amounts of these beverages. The results showed that drinking sugar sweetened beverages magnified an individual's predisposition towards weight gain, and that the effect was more pronounced the more they drank.

In other words, if your genes predispose you to gaining weight, chances are good you'll put on even more pounds if your calories come from sugar sweetened beverages rather than from another source.

Sugar sweetened beverages promote diabetes

A 2004 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association analyzed data on the development of diabetes using a database of over 90,000 women.

Results showed that women who drank one or more sugary beverage per day had an 83 percent higher risk of developing Type-II diabetes compared to those who drank fewer than one soda per month. Since Type-II diabetes promotes weight gain, if someone consumes their calories from a source less likely to cause this condition, they may also be less likely to gain weight. In other words, drinking sodas appears to amplify weight gain independently of the number of calories consumed when it leads to the development of Type-II diabetes.

Soft drink consumption increases obesity risk in kids

According to information from the Harvard School of Public Health, between 1989 and 2008, children aged six to 11 increased their daily intake of calories from sugar sweetened beverages by 60 percent while the percentage of children consuming them increased from 79 percent to 91 percent.

Is this trend in soft drink consumption related to childhood obesity? A 2001 article in the journal Lancet reported on a study of 548 school aged children in Massachusetts. The children were followed over a period of 19 months with a focus on levels of soft drink consumption and changes in weight.

Controlling for other variables that might contribute to obesity, the researchers found that each additional serving of sugar sweetened drinks resulted in an increase in BMI and, furthermore, that each additional serving of these beverages raised the odds of obesity by 60 percent.

Sources for this article include:

About the author:
Celeste Smucker is a freelance health writer and blogger with years of experience in sales and marketing. She is also a meditation teacher and staff member at Synchronicity Foundation located in Virginia's blue ridge mountains.

In addition to writing for she blogs about how to live younger longer with joy and vitality at

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