Today's alarming headline arrives courtesy of the journal Circulation, which published a study concluding that all sodas (yes, including the diet varieties) appear to increase risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.
“Adults who drink one or more sodas a day had about a 50 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome – a cluster of risk factors such as excessive fat around the wait, low levels of ‘good’ cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other symptoms.”
Is soda the new trans fat? Not quite – I don’t foresee a ban anytime soon (nor would I condone one).
While I would never recommend that a non soda-drinker start gulping down these sugary/aspartame concoctions, I also would not tell someone who enjoys the occasional fizzy sweet drink to give it up entirely.
The real issue here, I believe, is what is being eaten in conjunction with these beverages.
Think about it. What do the overwhelming majority of people tend to eat alongside regular or diet soda? Potato chips, French fries, hamburgers, pepperoni pizza, buttery popcorn, tortilla chips with cheese dip, hot dogs, candy, etc.
I’ve rarely seen someone accompany a fruit salad, a bowl of oatmeal, or a yogurt parfait with an ice cold Coke.
It’s very possible that what this study simply reveals – not too shockingly -- is the effect junk food has on our bodies.