Archive for the tag - sugary drinks

Coca-Cola Removes Flame-Retardant Chemical & Everyone Misses The Point.

mountain_dew_bvo_570Sarah Kavanagh, a teenager from Mississippi, noticed a curious ingredient in some of her sports drinks called brominated vegetable oil or BVO.

BVO is a controversial additive which was generally recognized as safe – that is, until the U.S. Food and Drug administration withdrew that categorization. In the European Union, India and Japan, BVO is banned. Interestingly, BVO has also been patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant. In a nutshell, there are some health concerns for BVO – especially if consumed in very large quantities.

As a result, Kavanagh started petitions on change.org and beverage companies took notice. Last year, PepsiCo announced that it would remove the chemical from Gatorade. This week, Coca-Cola noted that it’s in the process of removing BVO from its entire line of beverages – including Powerade, Fanta Orange and Fresca.

These developments are a great victory for consumer power – but I’m not celebrating just yet. The reality is, BVO or not, soda and sugary drinks are completely unhealthy beverages; they’ve been linked to a number of very serious diseases and conditions like obesity, liver damage, tooth decay, kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and more.

When it comes to the whole discussion of BVO in soda and sports drinks, we’re mistaking the forest for the trees. The reality is, soda and other sugary drinks may be just as harmful as the BVO that’s making headlines.

“Eat healthy and exercise” isn’t an attention-grabbing, headline and it’s not something people want to hear. But talking about healthy lifestyles that combine proper nutrition with physical activity is a far more productive conversation than petitioning to make soda minutely less toxic.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Americans Drinking Less Soda.

It’s true: I’m not a big fan of soda. In fact, as this video illustrates, I’d rather clean with Coca-Cola than ingest it.

The reality is sugary drinks are still a major source of calories. In fact, some studies even peg soda as the number one calorie source in the average American’s diet. That’s more calories from soda than alcohol, cake, bread, pizza, French fries or anything else. For the record, the National Cancer Institute ranks soda as the number 4 source.

But things are changing. Slowly.

Research shows that per capita soda consumption has dropped about 16% from its peak in 1998. In 2011, average soda consumption even dipped below 2 servings per day for the first time in a long time. In a different study, researchers found that sugar consumption decreased by about 25% in the last decade – mostly due to decreased soda consumption.

It seems that consumers and decision-makers are finally getting the message about soda. In fact, in recent years, sodas have been banned from many schools and a slew of local governments are removing carbonated beverages from public facilities. But despite the headwinds, carbonated soft drinks are a $75 billion industry in the United Sates.

A 16% decrease is a great start – but we’ve still got a long ways to go.

It begs the question: Instead of soda, what are consumers drinking? What’s filling our void? According to research (and illustrated in the above graph), Americans are drinking more bottled water and more non-carbonated soft drinks like Gatorade, Vitamin Water and others. Though water is always a great choice, many non-carbonated drinks are just as calorie-dense as soda. Gatorade is great to drink when running a marathon, but it’s not a healthy choice to consume while playing video games.

Is this research indicative of your own consumption habits? Are you drinking less soda? Let me know in the comments below.

How to Get Kids to Drink Less Soda.

Earlier in the month, I wrote a post about the number of steps it would take to burn off some popular, high-calorie foods likes pizza (4,560 steps per slice), ice cream (1,980 steps) and french fries (6,000 steps). According to a new study, sobering reminders like these can lower the consumption of unhealthy foods.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University tested three different types of labeling with various signs at different corner stores. They wanted to see if any such signage deterred young people from consuming high calorie colas.

One sign simply said that each soda can contains 250 calories. In this way, the label mirrored the nutrition information printed on the product. At a second store, the sign said that the soda contains 10 percent of the daily recommended caloric intake. At a third store, the sign reminded customers that it would take 50 minutes of running to counteract the calories in the cola.

Though each sign reduced soda sales, the sign that highlighted the physical activity equivalent (i.e., 50 minutes of running) was the most effective. Soda sales plummeted by a shocking 50% at that location.

It seems that some people don’t really understand the concept of calories and what they really mean. But they do understand the concept of spending 50 minutes on the treadmill; that translates much clearer. It makes things less abstract.

Dr. Sara Bleich, one of the researchers from the study went on to say:

People generally underestimate the number of calories in the foods and beverages they consume. Providing easily understandable caloric information – particularly in the form of a physical activity equivalent, such as running – may reduce calorie intake from sugar – sweetened beverages and increase water consumption among adolescents.

On a larger scale, I think the study challenges our current nutrition labeling system. While more research is clearly needed, perhaps we need to consider changing the way we highlight nutrition content to make things clearer and easier to understand for consumers.

Shocking But True: Your Body Needs Carbs After Exercising.

You know that it takes protein to build muscles like these - but did you know it takes carbs, too?

Yes, I said the dreaded c-word. I know what you’re thinking: “Carbs are bad! Carbs are terrible! Get that Kool-Aid away from me!” But hear me out.

Many people adhere to low-carb diets to maintain a lean build. And it works. Low-carb diets can be extremely effective. Even so, there is one time when all people need to consume carbohydrates – and that is after a workout.

After a workout, most fitness enthusiasts know they need protein to rebuild and repair their muscles. As such, there’s a full spectrum of quality protein powders available. But marketers are savvy. Realizing the bad rap that carbohydrates get, most of these protein powders pride themselves on being low-carb or carb-free. While this might seem like a great selling point, it flies in the face of science and post-workout research.

When taken after a workout, carbohydrates restore muscle glycogen. And if you don’t eat carbs in your post-workout recovery meal, your body may actually break down muscle for this very same purpose. Uh-oh.

After you finish exercising, your body needs carbs – and it needs them fast. Simple carbohydrates, like the ones you might usually avoid any other time in the day, are absorbed quickest by the body, and thus they’re the ideal candidate. 40 – 70 grams of carbohydrates usually do the trick, which is basically a bottle of Vitamin Water. Nothing too crazy, though some trainers might advise upwards of 120 grams.

Here’s the bottom line: After you exercise, take a protein shake. And, in the likely event that your protein shake doesn’t provide enough carbs, grab a quick sugary drink or even a dextrose supplement. Yes, Davey Wavey just told you to drink a sugary drink. I promise, this is the only time!