by Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND September 23, 2009

Thirsty for some soda?  If you're wondering where the pounds you've packed on have come from you may not need to look further than your favourite drink. One can of 12 oz soda has 3 tablespoons of sugar, while a 2-liter bottle has 25 tablespoons! Yikes! Each tablespoon of sugar equals 45 calories. This means in that 12 oz can of pop there are 135 calories from sugar, and in the 2-liter bottle there are 1,125 calories from sugar.

Let's put this single tablespoon of sugar and 45 calories into perspective. It takes 3500 calories to make up a pound of fat. So, what does this mean for you? This means that by consuming one can of pop a day at the end of the month this is an extra 4,050 calories, just over one pound of fat! At the end of one year, this is an extra 48,600 calories and a potential weight gain of 13 pounds.

For those of you who are heavier pop consumers averaging out to one liter a day, at the end of the month this is a potential weight gain of 4.8 lbs and at the end of the year a whopping 57 lbs! This is a miracle weight gain product. Probably not a key character you're looking for from your beverage of choice!

Eating out at a restaurant and having a 16oz soda (average size of a large glass) with 3 free refills would set you out at a lovely 750 calories. Considering that average person needs to consume about 1600 - 2000 calories a day, you would be drinking almost a third of your total calories on that one drink!

Don't be so quick to think that diet pop is any better! Although it is not contributing to total calories, it is contributing to an increase in liver enzymes (a marker that your liver is working too hard) as well as to contribute towards insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the body becoming less sensitive to the insulin that is being produced by the pancreas, and is one of the first steps towards a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.

What about fruit drinks or ice tea? A 12 oz Can of Nestea contains 135 calories, 23 calories from sugar; this is about 2 tablespoons, so you're not doing much better than the pop. How about fruit juices or drinks? Again let's look at the total calories per serving, as well as how many of those calories come from sugar... For a Minute Maid 15 oz bottle of pineapple-orange juice, there are 120 Calories and 27 grams of sugar, or 3 tablespoons. Although this sugar is from fruit, the body doesn't differentiate the source and recognizes sugar as sugar.

So... What are you thirsty for?

Unless weight gain is your goal... Your best options are water, carbonated water (if you're looking for some fiz), adding a wedge of lemon, lime, or fresh mint, or to the carbonated water a splash of fruit juice (1/4 cup juice to 3/4 cup carbonated water).

Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND
Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND


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