Do You Drink Soda Every Day?
If you drink soda every day, here’s why you might want to reconsider your habit.
Lately, soda pop has been losing some of its fizz.
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Concerns are building about sugary beverages and their association with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.
These concerns have fueled heated debate in New York City. In June 2012, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a citywide ban on super-sized sodas. Then, in March 2013, a judge struck down the proposed limits, one day before they were to take effect.
A recent, high-profile study in the journal PLoS Medicine found that soda-pop marketers, taking a cue from the cigarette industry, are trying to subvert soda’s health risks with public-service campaigns promoting exercise and worthy community projects.
But what’s the harm in drinking soda in moderation—say, a can a day?
According to Adam Bernstein, MD, DSc, of Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute, even that amount—even if it’s diet soda—can hurt your health.
“You need to try to taper off as best you can,” he says. “If you’re drinking a 20-ounce bottle of soda a day, try a 12-ounce bottle instead. If you’re drinking two sodas a day, try one.”
Dr. Bernstein is the lead author of a study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that found that daily soda consumption is directly linked to an increased risk of stroke. Consuming one can of soda per day, either sugar-sweetened or diet, increased a person’s risk of stroke over time by 16 percent.
The increase occurred regardless of whether subjects were overweight, exercised regularly, or were smokers or non-smokers. And the stroke risk increased for each additional can of soda per day that a subject drank.
With that data in hand, Bernstein recommends that all regular soda drinkers start cutting back.
Dr. Bernstein suggests “swapping out” sugar-sweetened or diet sodas for healthier beverages.
Water is best, but “we know that people drink soda for taste and a pick-me-up,” says Dr. Bernstein. “They need to find alternative beverages that have an energy boost. Some kinds of coffees or teas or seltzers or flavored waters may fill those needs.”
Below, Dr. Bernstein explains the study’s scientific findings, noting that multiple mechanisms may explain the relationship between soda and stroke: