Soda, pop, fizzy. Whatever you call it, it’s making Americans fat. Sweetened beverages are the single largest source of added sugar in the American diet. Chugging a can of Coke isn’t as harmless as you may think – just a single can contains nearly 17 teaspoons of sugar! All that sugar means extra calories, which result in weight gain and increase the risk for many health problems. The worst part is, consumption of bubbly beverages has more than doubled over the last 30 years.
What’s more, due to misleading nutrition labels, consumers often don’t even realize how many calories they’re drinking. If the label on a bottle reads 110 calories, it’s natural to assume you’re consuming 110 calories, right? Until you notice the fine print, mentioning that all those calories are in a single serving – and there are 2.5 servings in one bottle. Yup, drink the entire soda and you’ve just gulped down 275 calories. Might as well have had a Snickers bar.
Fortunately, Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” anti-obesity campaign has America’s beverage companies cleaning up their act. The industry’s “Clear on Calories” initiative is bringing nutrition front and center, literally. Bottles and cans will now display the total number of calories they contain on the front packaging. This in-your-face nutrition information will hopefully enable the public to make more health-conscious decisions about their beverage choices. And the best decision? Drop the pop.
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a nationally known registered dietitian based in New York and the creator of a proprietary high-fiber nutrition program for weight loss, wellness and for treating various medical conditions. Tanya authored the bestselling weight loss book The F-Factor Diet, and she is the first dietitian with a national line of high-fiber foods, which are sold under the F-Factor name. Become a fan of Tanya on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn, and visit her website Ffactor.com.