Are Sugary Drinks Really All That Much of a Problem?

English: Vending machine for soft drinks.

English: Vending machine for soft drinks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mayor Bloomberg’s crusade against sugary drinks has certainly gotten enough publicity to make most people say, “Enough already”. However, when you come right down to it, is there really a fire behind all of that smoke?

Five recognized experts in the health effects of fructose, high fructose corn syrup, and sucrose gave their views on the severity of the problem at a symposium called “Fructose Sucrose and High Fructose Corn Syrup. Modern Scientific Findings and                         Health Implications”, which was part of the ASN Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2012.

The first part of this complex issue is the significant rise in soft drink consumption over the last 30 years as noted by Dr. George Bray, Chief of the Division of Clinical Obesity and Metabolism at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Soft drinks are the largest source of fructose in the U.S. diet, and we get it from the sucrose and high fructose corn syrup that manufacturers use to sweeten their products. Dr. Bray said that all of this fructose is associated with fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity and gout.

Another important point noted in Dr. Bray’s presentation is that calories from soft drinks are less satisfying than calories from food, which means they leave you wanting more and consuming more. Although your increased consumption of soft drink calories may be great for the producers of these beverages, it doesn’t do much for you except help you put on weight. According to a study quoted by Dr. Bray, this added fat is in the form of visceral fat and increased fat deposits in liver and muscle. If anything jumps out at you from this page it should be “visceral fat”, or as it’s more commonly known – belly fat because that’s the kind of fat that is associated with heart failure.

The evidence presented by Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, shed a little more light on the concern about all that fructose consumed in sugar drinks. He has a theory that high levels of sugar are actually toxic because the liver metabolizes all that sugar in the same way it would metabolize ethanol, which is the same alcohol that you drink in your favorite alcoholic beverage. He also asserted that fructose may be given preferential treatment when it comes to metabolizing it into fat, and all that special treatment means an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and fatty liver disease. Dr. Lustig also called sugar addictive.

So the next time you walk up to a beverage vending machine, think before you press that button. Do you really want all that sugar?



~ by chasm63 on October 11, 2012.

2 Responses to “Are Sugary Drinks Really All That Much of a Problem?”

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