Category Archives: Soda

This is your body on Coke … does the infographic take things too far? is sure you’ve heard about it by now. The internet has been going crazy over a simple infographic that spells out in plain language exactly what’s happening inside your body after you drink a can of Coke.

A simple infographic about Coca-Cola has gone viral on the Internet and surely who reads it will make up his or her mind not to go for the soft drink any more even though it is a known fact people have enjoyed it for more than 129 years.

The not-at-all-pretty infographic reveals effects of Coke in human body systems within an hour after consumption. It says when one consumes the recommended ten teaspoons of sugar a day, blood sugar rises after 10 minutes and it results in a burst of insulin. This causes the release of more sugar in the bloodstream and thereafter blockage of adenosine receptors in the brain to prevent drowsiness.

The infographic reveals further the body raises production of dopamine after 45 minutes of consumption to stimulate brain’s pleasure centers. It also notes here that this is similar to how our body reacts to heroin.

What else? The extra sugar and artificial chemicals in the Coca-Cola as well as other such drinks further stimulate calcium to leave the system.

After one hour the diuretic properties of the caffeine is said to kick in and forces an individual to pee to deplete the water contained in the Coke. This also releases from the body the electrolytes that could otherwise be used by the body for nutrition.

The infographic suggests drinking Coke to get relief from thirst never replenishes the body, but in fact it further dehydrates the nutrients that helps in building strong bones and teeth.

So is this infographic worth the viral rounds it’s been sent on all over the internet? Is it telling people the truth?

Well … yes and no. There IS plenty of misinformation being disseminated here. We do feel that we should shed some light on various aspects of the infographic that are taking things just a tad too far.

For instance, no one ever vomited from drinking a beverage with ten teaspoons of sugar (or more for that matter) that did not contain phosphoric acid. Just ask anyone who really loves McDonald’s Chocolate Shakes and only orders the largest size available. That person is ingesting over 19 TEASPOONS OF SUGAR in that 22 ounce beverage that contains no phosphoric acid at all … and he’s not throwing up from the sugar.

At 20 minutes in, the infographic states that your insulin levels go up and cause your liver to create fat.

While your liver may well be creating fat, it’s not the insulin spike that’s the problem. It’s about how your liver metabolizes fructose.

There are plenty of other examples of overstatements in this infographic. does feel compelled to point these things out as we do believe in transparency in all things … even though we don’t think anyone should be drinking soda.

And while the overstatements, or embellishments, don’t help anyone make that case, everyone does need to know that soda and too much sugar ARE detrimental to your health.

The infographic went for drama. And that got a lot of attention. And that’s good. We need to pay attention to the idea that we shouldn’t be drinking soda and we need to get rid of the idea that it isn’t a big deal. It is.

New research links sugary drinks with deaths worldwide

sugary takes issue with the existence of chemically-laden sugary beverages – sodas, fruit drinks, energy drinks, canned and bottled iced teas, the list goes on. The sugar content is far too high, especially with the myriad of information we have that points directly to our over-consumption of all things sweet. In addition, the ingredient lists for these beverages most often resemble scientific experiments. We’re uncomfortable with that. After reading this latest research, we hope you’re uncomfortable with it too.

Consumption of sugary drinks may lead to an estimated 184,000 adult deaths each year worldwide, according to research published today in the journal Circulation and previously presented as an abstract at the American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention in 2013.

“Many countries in the world have a significant number of deaths occurring from a single dietary factor, sugar-sweetened beverages. It should be a global priority to substantially reduce or eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages from the diet,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., senior author of the study and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University in Boston.

In the first detailed global report on the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages, researchers estimated deaths and disabilities from diabetes, heart disease, and cancers in 2010. In this analysis, sugar sweetened beverages were defined as any sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit drinks, sports/energy drinks, sweetened iced teas, or homemade sugary drinks such as frescas, that contained at least 50 kcal per 8oz serving. 100 percent fruit juice was excluded.

Estimates of consumption were made from 62 dietary surveys including 611,971 individuals conducted between 1980 and 2010 across 51 countries, along with data on national availability of sugar in 187 countries and other information. This allowed capture of geographical, gender and age variation in consumption levels of sugar-sweetened beverages in different populations. Based on meta-analyses of other published evidence on health harms of sugar-sweetened beverages, the investigators calculated the direct impact on diabetes and the obesity-related effects on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

In 2010, the researchers estimate that sugar-sweetened beverages consumption may have been responsible for approximately:

• 133,000 deaths from diabetes
• 45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease
• 6,450 deaths from cancer

“Some population dietary changes, such as increasing fruits and vegetables, can be challenging due to agriculture, costs, storage, and other complexities. This is not complicated. There are no health benefits from sugar-sweetened beverages, and the potential impact of reducing consumption is saving tens of thousands of deaths each year,” Mozaffarian said.

The impact of sugar-sweetened beverages varied greatly between populations. At the extremes, the estimated percentage of deaths was less than 1 percent in Japanese over 65 years old, but 30 percent in Mexican adults younger than 45. Of the 20 most populous countries, Mexico had the highest death rate attributable to sugar-sweetened beverages with an estimated 405 deaths per million adults (24,000 total deaths) and the U.S. ranked second with an estimated 125 deaths per million adults (25,000 total deaths).

About 76 percent of the estimated sugar-sweetened beverage-related deaths occurred in low- or middle-income countries.

In nations of the Caribbean and Latin America, such as Mexico, homemade sugary drinks (e.g. frescas) are popular and consumed in addition to commercially prepared sugar-sweetened beverages. “Among the 20 countries with the highest estimated sugar-sweetened beverage-related deaths, at least 8 were in Latin America and the Caribbean, reflecting the high intakes in that region of the world,” said Gitanjali Singh, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a research assistant professor at the Friedman School.

Overall, in younger adults, the percent of chronic disease attributed to sugar-sweetened beverages was higher than the percent in older adults. “The health impact of sugar-sweetened beverage intake on the young is important because younger adults form a large sector of the workforce in many countries, so the economic impact of sugar-sweetened beverage-related deaths and disability in this age group can be significant. It also raises concerns about the future. If these young people continue to consume high levels as they age, the effects of high consumption will be compounded by the effects of aging, leading to even higher death and disability rates from heart disease and diabetes than we are seeing now,” Singh said.

Are sugary drinks really worth all that? Isn’t it time for us all to rethink our beverage consumption? Maybe while we’re doing all that thinking, we should pour ourselves a nice glass of ice cold water. At least it’s a start.

Wendy’s drops soda from kids meals … sort of, but not really

WendysKidMealSorry Wendy’s. is really not trying to minimize your efforts to offer healthier options to consumers. But it’s true … a kids meal without a soda is still a kids meal. It’s still full of calories, fat and sodium, not to mention ingredients your average child can’t pronounce and doesn’t need. Plus, you really didn’t remove it, you just stopped promoting it.

Wendy’s is the latest fast-food chain to remove the soda option from kids’ meal menus.

That means when parents drive through a pick-up window, they won’t see soda as an option on the menu board, but if they decide to order one, they won’t be turned down.

The fast-food chain is the most recent to cave to pressure from children’s health advocacy groups. McDonald’s made a similar commitment to drop soda from Happy Meals in 2013, after partnering with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a group aimed at fighting childhood obesity.

The Center for Science in Public Interest released a statement Thursday saying that Wendy’s was removing the soda option from menu boards and kids’ meals.

The statement said they hoped Wendy’s would also offer healthier choices including, “whole grain rolls, offering more fruit and vegetable options, reducing sodium across the menu, and dropping Frostys from the children’s menu.”

Unlike some fast-food chains, Wendy’s default drink choice was never soda, Bob Bertini, a spokesman for Wendy’s said in an e-mail to USA TODAY Network.

“When ordering a kids’ meal, the customer is asked what beverage they prefer,” Bertini wrote. “The change is the kids’ meal beverage options which are shown on our menu boards.”

Bertini says the fast-food company began displaying images of “healthful beverage options,” including 1% white or chocolate milk, bottled water and 100% juice.

He says the kids’ meal soft drink option no longer appears on the chain’s menu boards, inside the restaurants, at the pick-up windows or on the mobile app in the U.S. and Canada.

While soda is no longer the default drink, it still remains one of the most profitable items for fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s, according to Jesse Bragg, media director for Corporate Accountability International.

Bragg says nothing will be solved until the marketing practices that draw kids to fast food is curbed.

“It’s incredibly difficult to enforce on a local level in the fast food industry,” Bragg said.

For children’s health advocates the battle is far from over. In the soda wars, other restaurants such as Subway, Arby’s and Chipotle do not offer soda on the kids’ menu.

But, one of the giants is still left standing — Burger King.
“Two down, one to go,” says Howell Wechsler, chief executive officer of Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

An email statement from Burger King said the company is, “currently in the process of analyzing the removal of fountain drinks from our kids’ menu boards.”

So to clarify this “change” even more — you CAN still get a soda with a kids meal at Wendy’s. The soda is simply not being promoted on the menu boards. Nearest we can tell, that’s not much of a change. It’s not like consumers are actually being told in the store that they can no longer order a soda with the kids meal. THAT would be a change. Taking the image of the soda out of the pretty picture of the kids meal and leaving the word soda out of the kids meal description on the menu board … not so much.

Caffeine and ADHD: Why Dr. Pepper may actually help kids calm down

soda adhdSoda isn’t good for anyone. If you’re a consistent reader of the blog, you already understand our feelings regarding the consumption of nutritionally vacant, chemically concocted beverages. But research is determining that there are some actual benefits from caffeinated sodas — and caffeine in general.

New research has found the Dr. Pepper may be a good option to help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) focus.

Parents of children with ADHD may have known for years that soda can help curb behaviors in ADHD children. A quick search of the Internet shows a plethora of parents’ blogs touting how beneficial Dr. Pepper has been for their ADHD child. However, are their views valid?

According to various doctors, it’s not necessarily the Dr. Pepper that helps but more likely the caffeine. Caffeine acts as a stimulant when introduced to the body.

In children with ADHD, that stimulant tends to act as a behavioral control. What is interesting about the brand Dr. Pepper is that it is one of the most caffeine-rich drinks available on the market. It contains up to 10 teaspoons of sugar, as well as phosphoric acid, a compound that interferes with the absorption of calcium, magnesium and zinc — minerals that children with ADHD need the most.

So perhaps there is a bit more behind Dr. Pepper than any other caffeine-enriched beverage for ADHD children. Still, it appears that the largest benefit comes from the caffeine that is contained in Dr. Pepper.

Caffeine and its effects have been well studied and documented over the centuries. One researcher found that mythology describes how modern man first came to observe the effects of caffeine when his goat herd ate a coffee bush and became energized, not sleeping all night.

As bizarre as that seems, most of us know that caffeine works as a pick-me-up for most people. It operates slightly differently in people with ADHD.

In the mid-1970s through about the mid-1990s, researchers discovered some connection with caffeine and tobacco consumption as methods of treating ADHD, but they were ruled out as poor approaches. Later research suggests that some forms of caffeine and nicotine may actually provide partial remediation of ADHD symptoms because they can compensate the body for lower levels of mental arousal to enhance performance — i.e. focus, in individuals with ADHD.
Conventional treatments already capitalize on the use of psychostimulant medications to improve focus, so why not caffeine and nicotine? A pharmacological study of caffeine use specifically to treat ADHD failed significantly in effect. While it may have provided some relief, the results were not significant enough to tout its use as a regular treatment option.

It has been determined that prescription drugs meant for ADHD treatments provide far more relief and behavior control than caffeine; however, it was noted that caffeine is better than no treatment at all. Furthermore, caffeine may be the best option for adults with mild to moderate ADHD — especially for those who refuse to take traditionally prescribed ADHD medications.

ADHD affects approximately 5 percent of school-age children worldwide, and characteristics include hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. These impairments cause not only behavioral issues in the family and social arena but can reduce academic achievements that carry over into adulthood. That obviously leads to a lower quality of life.

If you have or suspect your child suffers from ADHD, you should reach out to your primary care physician. They can properly assess and diagnose you or your child and offer an appropriate course of treatment. That treatment may or may not include pharmaceuticals because each ADHD diagnosis is different.

So, for some dietary changes to modify ADHD behaviors may include adding caffeine in some form to a child’s diet in careful and controlled amounts. For the rest of our kids, let’s all remember that they really do have enough energy without caffeine. They don’t need it and it’s far too easy for them to consume too much.

Want younger looking skin? Ditch the soda!

Why-Diet-Soda-Bad-YouAs time marches on, virtually everyone becomes concerned about the appearance of their skin. We’re so concerned, in fact, that there are hundreds of creams, serums, scrubs, peels and masks that we can spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars to purchase throughout the year to help in our quest to remain looking as young as possible. happily read some new information on skin care today that has nothing to do with making yet another investment in products that may — or may not — work for us.

We all want to look good as we get older, and for the majority of people, the signs of aging are most obvious on our face. Dermatologists remind wearing sunscreen, keeping sun exposure to a minimum and avoiding smoking, but what about slowing down premature aging from the inside? Recent studies say part of the answer may be cutting out soda.

It seems like every time we turn around, there is another study about the negative health effects of soft drinks, and recently attention has turned to the damage it can do to your skin.
Dr. Steven Victor, dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City told that in more than 33 years of practice, he’s experienced the effects of soda on his patient’s skin first-hand.

“The biggest problem about soda is the crazy amount of sugar,” Victor said. “The dangers of sugar to the body are not new, scientists have been studying it for years. When a patient consumes a lot of sugar, it shows in their skin.”

Results from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the top source of added sugar in American’s diet is beverages.

“I notice wrinkles, skin texture, oil content,” he said. “When you see somebody who is having a lot of sugar, their skin doesn’t look glowing or bright, it looks saggy and dull.”

Victor said the major problem of consuming soda is the inflammatory effect it has on the body.

“Soda is a factor in the aging process of the skin because it causes the body to produce all kinds of inflammatory products,” he said. “I compare it to Pac-Man, going around the body eating good tissue. Diet, and especially soda, greatly affects your skin.”

Many dark colas contain advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. A recent study from the National Institutes of Health determined that AGEs react with proteins, lipids and nucleic acids in almost all skin cells, contributing to and potentially accelerating skin aging.

In addition to sugar and AGEs, the caffeine found in soda can dehydrate the skin, emphasizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Plus, soda may cause certain skin conditions to become more problematic.

“If you are drinking a lot of soda, you are starting a whole inflammatory cascade in the body, so if you have a skin condition you are exaggerating it,” Victor said. “Especially eczema, or very dry, itchy inflamed skin, and acne, specifically cystic acne.”

The visible effects of soda on the skin can even be compared to those of smoking. The side effects of sugar on the skin, including dullness, dryness and the decrease in skin cell production, coincide with the effects of nicotine.

“Soda causes damage to the skin just like smoking,” Victor said. “Just like sugar, nicotine causes inflammation. Whether you are drinking or smoking chemicals, it’s hard on the body to fight them.”

The good news? Victor said it’s possible for the skin damage soda causes to be reversed.
“Cutting out sugary drinks and replacing them with water definitely produces a visible change in the health of the skin, in a very short amount of time,” he said. “If you can reduce the amount of soda you drink, you will start looking better and your skin will look better.”

If you, or someone you love, is having difficulty reducing or eliminating a soda habit, this information can provide plenty of motivation! A visible change in the health of your skin in a short amount of time. No fancy creams or scrubs or expensive treatments. Just giving up soda. Sounds like a less expensive, more effective plan. And let’s not forget that we’ll be doing the rest of the body a big favor at the same time!

Should sodas carry warning cigarette-style warning labels?

sugary-soda-del1014-lgnSugary sodas have been in the news constantly over the last few years. has seen New York City consider and dismiss a ban against larger sized sugary beverages. We’ve watched Berkeley, California institute a nominal soda tax and San Francisco consider and dismiss the same. We’re even watching the federal government mull over a national soda tax.

While thus far these initiatives haven’t gone anywhere, the news surrounding soda is serving to educate consumers about exactly how unhealthy the chemical concoctions really are.

Americans are waking up to the dangers of drinking sugary sodas in excess. Now that science is increasingly showing a link between high sugar consumption and chronic disease like diabetes and obesity, some lawmakers think it’s time to warn people about the detrimental health effects of drinking soda much like cigarette labeling did in the 1960′s.
In New York, Brooklyn lawmaker Karim Camara is proposing a state law requiring sugary sodas to carry a warning label: “SAFETY WARNING: DRINKING BEVERAGES WITH ADDED SUGAR CONTRIBUTES TO OBESITY, DIABETES AND TOOTH DECAY.”

“I firmly believe that this will lead to a reduction in people drinking soda and in children drinking soda,” Camara told CBS News.

Camara calls his labeling initiative “public education” and likens it to seeing calorie counts posted on the pastry case at Starbucks. He says when he sees that a donut has 400 calories he chooses the healthier option because he’s informed.

While cigarette warning labels played a role in informing the public about the dangers of smoking and reducing the popularity of cigarette smoking in America, warning labels alone may not be enough.

According to the CDC, higher costs for tobacco products through increased excise taxes, along with mass-media campaigns targeted toward youth to counter tobacco marketing, also contribute to reducing smoking and preventing teens from starting a tobacco habit.

In recent years, American legislators have been trying a variety of tactics to make sugary drinks less attra many have failed. In 2010, then New York Gov. David Paterson sought a penny-an-ounce “fat tax” on soda and other sugary drinks. After a multi-million-dollar campaign by the beverage industry claiming the tax would cost jobs, the state legislature turned down what would have amounted to a 12-cent tax on a can of Coke. But, in an ironic twist, they agreed to add another $1.60 in taxes to the cost of a pack of cigarettes.

A few years later, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried a different approach by banning the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces at restaurants, delis and other outlets. The ban was thrown out by the courts without ever taking effect.

Now, the soda tax idea may be getting a second wind. Voters in Berkeley, California, recently passed the nation’s first soda tax, a penny an ounce, in order to curb the consumption of sugary drinks. However, across the bay in San Francisco, voters rejected a proposed 2-cents an ounce soda tax.

Passing this type of legislation takes time, effort, and money. Is it really worth it?

Camara, the author of the warning-label bill, thinks so. “The people that are disproportionately affected by diabetes are poor or people of color, and I believe increasing awareness will help parents stop giving soda to their children,” he says.

“Government action to address the dangers of sugary drinks is crucial as the epidemics of obesity and diabetes continue to wreak havoc on the health of our communities. We commend Assembly Member Camara for taking this important step,” the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said.

Warning labels on sodas. We’re not sure how well that will work. Honestly, we’re not so sure how well it worked with cigarettes. It’s more likely that the higher taxes imposed on every pack that hit smokers in their wallets had a larger effect. Sugary soda taxes might be the way to go.

Looking to hold on to your youth as long as possible? Don’t drink soda!

soda and cell agingWe’ll admit it. is always pleased to discover additional reasons for people to stay away from soda. Terrible ingredients. Meaningless nutritional value. We can think of so many better ways to quench thirst than with carbonated chemicals. So whenever we run across information that gives us another great excuse to find those better ways, we’re pretty quick to share that news with our community. Today we found one of the most important pieces of information we’ve seen to date.

A first-of-its-kind study looked at whether America’s thirst for soda speeds up how the body’s cells age.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco used a sample of 5,300 healthy adults. Doctor Elissa Epel worked on the study for five years.

“We think we can get away with drinking lots of soda as long as we are not gaining weight, but this suggests that there is an invisible pathway that leads to accelerated aging, regardless of weight,” said Doctor Epel.

Epel’s team discovered that in people who drank more sugar-sweetened beverages, the ends of their chromosomes, known as telomeres, were shorter. The shorter the telomere, the less a cell can regenerate, aging the body, and raising the risk of disease and early death.

“This finding is alarming because it suggests that soda may be aging us, in ways we are not even aware of,” said Doctor Epel.

Researchers found no link in cell aging, however, when drinking diet sodas and fruit juices. Concerned about possible health effects, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg lost a high-profile court battle to ban large sodas there. He’s now supporting a measure on the November ballot in Berkeley, California that would tack on a one-cent-per-ounce tax on soda distributors.

Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia currently tax sodas sold in vending machines. But helped by ad campaigns from various groups, soda companies are on a four-year winning streak at the state house: 30 bills to levy or raise taxes on sugary drinks have all failed.

The American beverage association would not do an interview today about the study, but pointed out the researchers did not find a conclusive link between soda and cell aging.

We understand that the link isn’t conclusive and that more research is certainly needed. We’re pretty sure, though, that just about everyone we know would gladly make some small dietary changes to slow down their bodies’ aging process. Staying away from soda isn’t a difficult proposition. There are so many reasons it’s a worthwhile decision. Go ahead, give it a try — you’re body will thank you for it!

PepsiCo introduces Caleb’s Kola craft soda — don’t get too excited!

CalebsWe’re sure you’ve heard that craft sodas (handcrafted carbonated beverages) are the next big thing. The term “craft soda” has somehow developed a halo effect. It’s one of those terms that consumers assume infers a healthier option. And to be fair, a little internet research reveals that some of these sodas actually are better choices. According to most recent reports, craft sodas are flying off grocery store shelves and exciting consumers at restaurants across the country. So it makes sense that mainstream soda manufacturers want to get in on the action — especially since soda sales overall have been dropping pretty quickly here in the U.S.

That brings us to PepsiCo’s latest introduction — Caleb’s Kola craft soda. Sounds like it could be “handcrafted,” doesn’t it? Don’t be fooled though. The only major difference here is that Caleb’s Kola is sweetened with cane sugar. The rest of it really could be Pepsi.

Here are the nutrition facts straight from the new website:

Calories:         110
Sodium:          50 mg
Sugar:             29 grams

How does that stack up against a regular Pepsi?

First, needs to mention that a can of Pepsi offers one 12 ounce serving. A bottle of Caleb’s Kola contains 10 ounces of soda. This smaller bottle does contain less calories per serving. It contains additional sodium. And it does contain what appears to be less sugar. A bottle of Caleb’s Kola contains a little over 7 teaspoons of sugar, while a 12 ounce can of Pepsi contains a little over 10 teaspoons. At the end of the day though, ounce for ounce, they’re fairly similar.

For us, an acceptable soda would feature a completely different ingredient list than sodas from the mainstream brands. As a general statement, sodas are chemical concoctions with absolutely no nutritional value. Many of the ingredients featured are harmful — phosphoric acid, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors. There’s just no way we could ever be fans of a beverage containing these items.

So how does the ingredient list for Caleb’s Kola read?

Sparkling Water, Cane Sugar, Caramel Color, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavor, Sodium Citrate, Caffeine, Gum Arabic, Citric Acid, Kola Nut Extract can’t be a fan of Caleb’s Kola. The ingredient list isn’t so much different from the non-handcrafted options available.

As far as craft soda is concerned, we’ll keep right on looking. This one isn’t doing anything for us!

Could drinking soda raise your risk of breast cancer?

Woman in cinema. Beautiful young woman drinking soda while sitting at the cinemaSoda consumption is back in the news. This time, though, that news is reporting on much more than how sugar consumption is linked to the obesity crisis, diabetes and heart disease (as if those problems weren’t enough). didn’t actually need any further convincing that soda is an unnecessary beverage — too much sugar, too many bad ingredients and no nutritional benefits whatsoever have left us with a bad taste in our mouths.

Sugary drinks are notorious for their health hazards, and unfortunately, Americans are nowhere close to giving them up. A 2012 Gallup poll found that 48 percent of Americans surveyed drank soda on a daily basis. Of the 48 percent who consumed soda daily, the average intake of the beverage is 2.6 glasses a day.

And if you think a lack of awareness is to blame, then think again! A study from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Interlex Communications found that most Americans know that drinking soda is bad for you.

Now, researchers have found yet another troubling association with soda consumption: a higher risk of breast cancer in women. Specifically, the scientists discovered that the more sugary drinks a woman consumed, the more density her breasts would have. Breast density is a well-known risk factor for breast cancer, since there is less fatty tissue and more cells that are at risk of becoming cancerous.

“Among all women, those who had a sugary drink intake of more than three servings per week had a mean of 29.6 percent in breast density, but those who did not drink this type of drink had a mean of 26.2 percent in breast density,” said the lead author of the study, Dr. Caroline Diorio from Laval University in Quebec. “An increase of about 3 percent in breast density is not negligible in terms of breast cancer risk. By comparison, it has been shown that healthy women at high risk of developing breast cancer who received (the breast cancer drug) tamoxifen for four-and-a-half years had a reduction of 6.4 percent in breast density, and it has been observed that tamoxifen can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 30 to 50 percent in high-risk women.”

So in addition to all the other valid concerns surrounding soda, this new association with breast cancer is certainly an eye-opening one. While we understand that soda sales have dropped, we know that millions of consumers are still consuming these beverages — and consuming them in excess. We do hope that research like this makes its way into the consciousness of those consumers and that they take it seriously.

What’s not a diet soda, but not a regular soda? Coming soon to the U.S. … Coke Life

0616_coke_life_970-630x420Soda drinkers have a bit of a problem these days. The widely held opinion used to be that diet sodas were a better choice than sugared sodas. Now, though, the artificial sweeteners in sugared sodas are linked to actual weight gain, instead of weight loss. Their sugary counterparts are under fire for contributing to the obesity crisis, in addition to the rise in diabetes and heart disease. Of course, for those of us who aren’t soda drinkers, both diet and regular sodas are the equivalent of chemical nightmares. But soda drinkers are having a hard time figuring out what to do. So much so that soda sales have steadily declined over the last 9 years. Consumers aren’t happy with soda choices and it’s beginning influence manufacturer decisions.

Coca-Cola, notably, is responding. There’s a new Coke on the horizon. Packaged in a green can that most of us aren’t yet familiar with, Coke Life is Coca-Cola’s answer to consumer concerns. Sweetened with stevia, this new version of regular Coke has been released in Argentina and Chili. This coming fall, it will debut in the U.K. It’s worth pointing out that this is the first new addition to Coke branded sodas in almost eight years.

Coke Life isn’t exactly a diet drink. It contains more than four tablespoons of real sugar and has about 89 calories per can—less than the 140 calories found in a can of regular Coke, but hardly something that will be championed by the quinoa crowd.

Instead, Coke Life is Coca-Cola’s answer to the two health concerns that have been hitting the company’s soda sales with a one-two punch: the anti-sugar movement, which rails against its full-calorie, full-sugar line of beverages, and the perception that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (found in both Diet Coke and Coke Zero) are unhealthy and can even contribute to weight gain.

These concerns have contributed to a steady nine-year decline in U.S. soda sales. Last year they slid even further—dropping 3 percent, or more than double the 1.2 percent they’d fallen the year before. (Soda is already down a further 2 percent this year.) Diet soda sales withstood the decline for a while; now they appear to be tumbling, too. Last year, Diet Coke sales in the U.S. dropped nearly 7 percent, according to Beverage Digest.

As soda sales have fallen, Coke has also found itself fending off health-policy experts and state governments pushing for increased regulation of sugary drinks and snacks. New York City’s limit on soda container sizes is currently making its way through state courts, and a California law that would add a warning label to cans saying, “Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay” has made it through the state senate, despite heavy lobbying by the local arm of the American Beverage Association (of which Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are members). In the U.K., where Coke Life will make its next debut, Coca-Cola has agreed to reduce the average calories in its sodas by 5 percent by the end of this year.

Coca-Cola has more than 100 years of experience fighting health crazes and government regulation campaigns. In 1906 the U.S. government sued the company in attempt to get it to abandon caffeine. (It lost.) In 1950, a Cornell professor named Clive McCay testified before a Congressional committee on food additives that Coke could eat through teeth. (Not true.) But so many drink choices are now available that Americans’ current move away from soda doesn’t appear to be temporary.

At the moment, Coke Life doesn’t have a U.S. debut date. Given the company’s heavy investment in stevia-based drinks—in 2007, Coca-Cola and Cargill teamed up to create Truvia, a consumer brand of stevia sweetener—it seems likely that the drink will soon see much wider release.

While Coke Life may in fact offer less sugar than regular soda and healthier sugar than both regular and diet soda, it still contains about 4 teaspoons of sugar in every can. That’s still too much when you consider the new recommendations of 6 teaspoons per day for men and 9 for women.

Step in the right direction? For some, maybe. But then there’s us. Here at, sugar is just part of our concerns — a big part, undoubtedly, but still only a part. At the end of the day, it will still be a Coke that’s sweetened differently. The changes in the ingredient list won’t go far enough. We’ll still be left with plenty of items on the ingredient list that we can’t bring ourselves to consume. Still soda. Still a problem.