Sodas are often singled out for their contribution to the meteoric rise in obesity that has been observed in recent years. A study confirms this link by showing that young children who regularly consume these drinks have an increased risk of being overweight in adolescence.
Sodas are the best example of what are called “empty calories”, ie foods that are very high in energy, but completely devoid of nutrients. In fact, a single 355 ml can of soft drink contains 42 grams of sugar (the equivalent of nine teaspoons), which corresponds to 150 calories.
A soda a day is 7kg more in a year
If this calorie intake seems small to you at first glance, remember that a surplus of 150 calories each day can translate into a weight gain of 7 kg in a single year! This impact can be all the more accentuated since soft drinks are often consumed as an accompaniment to various high-calorie meals and snacks (chips, pizza, etc.), a combination that can tip the scales in the wrong direction.
Childhood sodas: the highway to obesity and later diabetes
The fattening effect of this diet is well illustrated by the extraordinary increase in obesity in several countries that have recently begun to adopt North American dietary habits. Soda manufacturers have enormous means to promote their products and spend billions of dollars annually on various advertisements, mainly aimed at young people.
American researchers have examined the potential link between the regular consumption of soft drinks during childhood and the subsequent risk of developing excess weight in adolescence. The researchers determined the juice and soft drink consumption of 170 five-year-old girls and measured the girls’ weight and body fat percentage over a 10-year period. The results obtained are unequivocal: children who regularly consumed soft drinks from the age of 5 had an increased risk of being overweight in adolescence, while the consumption of juice had no impact. For example, 32% of 15-year-old girls who drank 2 or more servings of soft drinks per day from the age of five were overweight compared to 18% of those who consumed only 1 serving or less.
Studies show unequivocally that there is a link between the consumption of soft drinks in children and obesity.
Good early eating habits
These observations once again underline the importance of instilling good eating habits in children as quickly as possible in order to promote their development in good health. Sodas are bad foods that bring absolutely nothing positive and can even, on the contrary, promote overweight and obesity as well as the chronic diseases that result from them such as diabetes.
Fiorito et al. Beverage intake of girls at age 5 y predicts adiposity and weight status in childhood and adolescence. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 90: 935-942.