Drink Soda? Take 12,000 Steps – NYTimes.com

Drink Soda? Take 12,000 Steps

Gretchen Reynolds on the science of fitness.People who consume the sweetener fructose — which is most people nowadays — risk developing a variety of health problems. But the risk drops substantially if those people get up and move around, even if they don’t formally exercise, two new studies found.

Most of us have heard that ingesting fructose, usually in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, is unhealthy, which few experts would dispute. High-fructose corn syrup is used to sweeten many processed foods and nearly all soft drinks.

The problem with the sweetener is that, unlike sucrose, the formal name for common table sugar, fructose is metabolized primarily in the liver. There, much of the fructose is transformed into fatty acids, some of which remain in the liver, marbling that organ and contributing to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

The rest of the fatty acids migrate into the bloodstream, causing metabolic havoc. Past animal and human studies have linked the intake of even moderate amounts of fructose with dangerous gyrations in blood sugar levels, escalating insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, added fat around the middle, obesity, poor cholesterol profiles and other metabolic disruptions.

via Drink Soda? Take 12,000 Steps – NYTimes.com.


Study Examines Efficacy of Taxes on Sugary Drinks – NYTimes.com

A new study of how taxes might be used to curb consumption of sugary drinks suggests that applying a tax based on the amount of calories contained in a serving rather than its size would be more effective.

The study, financed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which has long advocated taxing sodas and other sugary drinks as part of its efforts to reduce childhood obesity, found that consumption of calories in drinks would drop 9.3 percent if a tax of four-hundredths of a penny for every calorie was added to the price, but fall by just 8.6 percent under a tax of half a cent for each ounce in a can or bottle.

A calorie-based taxing system would also be fairer to consumers, said Chen Zhen, a research economist at the food and nutrition policy research program at Research Triangle Institute and the lead author of the study.

“It provides a better incentive to the consumer to switch to lower-calorie drinks, which would be taxed at a lower rate than higher-calorie drinks,” Dr. Zhen said. “One of the concerns about taxing ounces of sugar-sweetened beverages is that consumers are paying the same tax whether they buy 12 ounces of a drink with 150 calories or 12 ounces of a drink with 50 calories.”

At a tax rate of four-hundredths of a penny per calorie, six cents would be added to a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola, for example, Dr. Zhen said, while only four cents would be added to a 16-ounce bottle of Vitaminwater.

“From a public health point of view, it makes a lot of sense to tax the sugar, which is the most harmful part of these drinks,” said Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health. “We want to shift consumers from drinking more sugar to drinking less, so taxing beverages with more sugar more makes sense.”

The California Senate last week passed a bill for warning labels on sugary soft drinks. The State Assembly has not yet voted on the bill.

Sales of sugary drinks already are falling, and Christopher Gindlesperger, a spokesman for the American Beverage Association, the trade group that represents the soda companies, noted that a variety of soda tax proposals have been defeated in various states over the last several years. Just last week, the Illinois House voted down a bill that would have taxed sugary soda at a rate of one cent an ounce, specifically citing the cost to consumers.

Arkansas and West Virginia tax soda — and are among the top 10 states for obesity. “Over the course of last several years, taxes on soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages have gone nowhere, and it’s in large part because people don’t want it,” Mr. Gindlesperger said.

He also noted that one of the authors of the study, Ryan R. Ruff, was director of research and evaluation at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in the Bloomberg administration, which waged a war on sugary drinks.

Dr. Zhen previously has done research finding that taxes on sugary drinks might not be as effective as a high tax on cigarettes in reducing consumption because consumers can substitute a high-calorie food that is not taxed for a high-calorie soda that is.

“We are not saying you should tax sugar-sweetened beverages,” Dr. Zhen said, speaking about the new study. “We’re saying that if you’re going to tax them, the best way of doing that is on the basis of calories. We are trying to stay away from the politics.”

The study was published online by the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

France Aims To Net New Drinkers With Cola-Flavored Wine : The Salt : NPR

This just seems wrong….


July 19, 2013 1:20 PM

Brace yourselves, Francophiles.

First, we broke the news about fast food overtaking restaurants in France. Then we reported the shocker that more than a third of French restaurants serve frozen meals. If these revelations ruin your impression of France as a bastion of culinary tradition, you may not want to read further.

A French vintner has just launched a bottled red wine flavored with cola.

Bordeaux-based winemaker Haussmann Famille has already had success with grapefruit- and passionfruit-flavored rosés and whites. Their newest wine, Rouge Sucette, which translates to Red Lollipop, is made from 75 percent grapes and 25 percent water, with added sugar and cola flavoring. It is meant to be served chilled.

Why the break with tradition?

Wine consumption in France is down. In 1980, more than half of adults consumed wine almost daily, as the BBC reports, but the figure has dropped to just 17 percent today. And so according to Pauline Lacombe, company spokeswoman for Haussmann Famille, vintners need to attract younger drinkers and women.

“[The cola flavor] is to answer to a new kind of need and a market demand,” she tells The Salt. “Tastes evolve in time and we have to adapt.”

French restaurant and hospitality expert Fred Sirieix cites several factors behind the downward trend in wine drinking among the French: the financial crisis, which brought with it the death of the long lunch hour; reduced legal limits for driving under the influence of alcohol; and a general move towards healthier living.

Cola wine may seem out of step with French ways, but Sirieix tells The Salt that’s because a lot of people have the wrong idea about what those ways really are.

“The puritanical view of French things is not realistic,” he says. “We’re changing with the times. We have a strong foundation of food and wine, and it gives this perception we don’t mix Coca-Cola and red wine, but we do!”

In fact, the wine and cola mix has roots in the Basque region, where it’s called kalimotxo, and calls for equal parts of each one.

Lacombe says market research indicates fast-growing demand for such “wine-based aromatized drinks.” Of the different aromas that Haussmann Famille tested, “cola was the best mix,” she says. “That intrigued many people, and they were curious to taste it.”

The thirst for sweeter drinks isn’t limited to France. Led by Moscato, sweet wine consumption is up in the U.S., too.

“Think about it: You have wine spritzers, you have Kir Royale, Bellinis, shandy, the Italian spritzers with Aperol and prosecco,” says Sirieix. “You have all sorts of champagne cocktails. So what’s the difference between [those and] red wine and Coca-Cola? It’s about marketing and perception. It’s about what we perceive to be acceptable and the sort of snootiness we have about Coca-Cola.”

Lacombe insists Rouge Sucette isn’t just wine doused with cola, anyway: It contains only the essence of cola, making it perhaps a bit more refined, though with a very similar flavor.

So how does a Frenchman like Sirieix rate it?

“It’s refreshing and kind of fun,” he says. “I don’t think I would buy it, but if I was going to drink it, I would make it myself, because I would feel a bit better about it.”

via France Aims To Net New Drinkers With Cola-Flavored Wine : The Salt : NPR.

Can A Piece Of Hair Reveal How Much Coke Or Pepsi You Drink? : The Salt : NPR

Can A Piece Of Hair Reveal How Much Coke Or Pepsi You Drink?


One way to know how much soda people drink is to ask them.

The problem? We tend to underestimate, lie or forget what we’ve consumed.

And this is a challenge for researchers who study the links between sugar-sweetened beverages and obesity.

A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition explains a technique that could help researchers get a good measurement of sugary beverage consumption — by analyzing a piece of hair or a blood sample.

Researcher Diane O’Brien of the University of Alaska and her colleagues have used carbon isotope analysis to develop their measuring tool. “We’re isolating the [carbon] isotope ratio in a specific molecule,” explains O’Brien. The molecule is an amino acid called alanine, which captures carbon from sugars.

It turns out that when you consume sweetened soda, slightly more of a particular kind of carbon called C-13 gets trapped in alanine and incorporated into proteins. And proteins hang around in the body much longer than sugar does. So the scientists say they can sample proteins to look for extra amounts of C-13 in alanine. People with a lot of C-13 are likely to be people who have consumed a lot of corn syrup and cane sugar.

Using this technique, O’Brien says, you can capture a longer-term picture of sugar consumption compared with urine samples — which only reveal how much sugar a person has consumed in the past day or so.

Carbon isotope analysis has helped scientists piece together ancient dietary patterns, explains Dale Schoeller of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in a commentary about the study: “The use of stable isotope signatures has even provided information about the diet of Otzi [aka The Iceman],the 5,000-year-old natural mummy found in the Alps in 1991.”

And he writes that he thinks the technique will be helpful for researchers studying the obesity epidemic.

“This should be a major step toward resolving the controversy over the role of

caloric sweetener intake in the development of obesity,” writes Schoeller.

Not everyone is convinced.

“This is an interesting, but preliminary, finding,” says Dr. David Ludwig of Boston Children’s Hospital and director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center, in an email to The Salt.

Barry Popkin of UNC-Chapel Hill, another obesity researcher, sounds the same note: “This might be useful,” Popkin writes in an email. But the big drawback, he says, is that such testing is expensive to carry out.

Still, as the mom of a teenage son who has been spotted more than once sneaking off on his bike to the corner store for a big old soft drink in the afternoon, it would be nifty to perform the r-u-drinking-soda? test.

So can O’Brien help?

“Sure, in theory we could run your son’s hair and find out if he’s quaffing on the sly,” O’Brien says.

Or maybe I should just check the bottles in the recycle bin. (‘Fess up, Luke, I’m on to you!)

via Can A Piece Of Hair Reveal How Much Coke Or Pepsi You Drink? : The Salt : NPR.

Drinking soda daily increases diabetes risk – chicagotribune.com

Sugary drinks can raise diabetes risk by 22 percent: study

Soft drink cups sized at 32 ounces and 64 ounces (Andrew Burton, Reuters / May 31, 2012)

LONDON (Reuters) – Drinking just one can of sugar-laced soda drink a day increases the risk of developing diabetes by more than a fifth, according to a large European study published on Wednesday.

Using data from 350,000 people in eight European countries, researchers found that every extra 12 fluid ounce (340 ml) serving of sugar-sweetened drink raises the risk of diabetes by 22 percent compared with drinking just one can a month or less.

“Given the increase in sweet beverage consumption in Europe, clear messages on the unhealthy effect of these drinks should be given to the population,” said Dora Romaguera, who led with study with a team at Imperial College London.

A 12-fluid-ounce serving is about equivalent to a normal-sized can of Coca-Cola, Pepsi or other soft drink.

The findings echo similar conclusions from research in the United States, where several studies have shown that intake of sugar-sweetened drinks is strongly linked with higher body weight and conditions like type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a long-term condition characterized by insulin resistance that affects around 2.9 million people in Britain and, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 310 million people worldwide.

Romaguera’s team wanted to establish whether a link between sugary drinks and diabetes risk also existed in Europe.

For their study, they used data from 350,000 people from Britain, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Sweden, France, Italy, Netherlands who were questioned about their diet, including how many sugary and artificially sweetened soft drinks and juices they drank each day.

Writing in the journal Diabetologia, the researchers said their study “corroborates the association between increased incidence of Type-2 diabetes and high consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks in European adults”.

Fruit juice consumption was not linked to diabetes incidence.

Patrick Wolfe, a statistics expert from University College London who was not involved in the research, said the message from its results was clear.

“The bottom line is that sugary soft drinks are not good for you – they have no nutritional value and there is evidence that drinking them every day can increase your relative risk for type 2 diabetes,” he said in an emailed comment.

(Editing by Michael Roddy)

via Drinking soda daily increases diabetes risk – chicagotribune.com.

California voters say soda can make you fat – latimes.com

Didn’t realize another state was tackling this one.

By Mary MacVean

February 14, 2013, 1:36 p.m.

Nearly 70% of California voters say taxing sugar-sweetened beverages is a good idea if the money goes to school nutrition and physical activity programs, according to a Field Poll released Thursday.

That figure declines if the question is just whether they favor such a tax, with 53% opposed and 40% in favor.

The results were released a day after the Washington-based nutrition advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, asking it to set limits for sweeteners in non-alcoholic beverages. CSPI cited obesity levels and attendant diseases such as diabetes.

The trade group the American Beverage Assn., in its response to the FDA request, noted that it had introduced many beverages with fewer calories than regular drinks.

In the Field Poll, 75% of the voters, including 85% of Latinos, say regularly drinking sweetened sodas increases the chance of becoming overweight. Fewer voters, 42%, said the same for energy drinks, and 26% for sports drinks.

[Updated 3:59 p.m. Feb. 14: The beverage association’s California office noted the 60% who did not favor a tax when the question was asked without restriction on the funds.

The approval for improvements to playgrounds and other measures, the trade group said, is “in line with two recent local elections” in Richmond and El Monte – which voted against a soda tax.

“Soda taxes have failed in cities and states across the country over the past few years,” Chuck Finnie, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement. Education, not taxes or regulations, he said, are the “right approach” to fighting obesity.]

The poll also found:

–Eighty-three percent supported providing funds to improve school athletic fields and other physical education facilities, and 82% supported keeping those places open after school and on weekends.

–More than 75% favor government policies and funding to attract more farmers markets, produce stands and supermarkets selling produce in low-income neighborhoods.

–Seventy-five percent supported limiting the types of unhealthy foods and drinks provided in childcare centers, preschools and nursery schools. And 85% said it was important to provide fresh, clean drinking water for free in schools; 74% supported that in parks and playgrounds.

“These findings confirm that widespread support exists for policies that combat obesity, including significant support for a tax on junk drinks to help finance school nutrition and physical activity programs,” said Dr. Robert Ross, president of the endowment. “Support for these efforts is even greater in communities that carry the greatest burden of illness and costs from obesity-related conditions.”

“These latest polling results are very important. They show that not only do a large majority of California voters now know that sugary sodas are a leading cause of obesity and diabetes, but they are ready to do something meaningful about them,” Dr. Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, said in a statement. “Almost 70% of Californians — including 79% of Latinos and 70% of African Americans — support a soda tax to improve school nutrition and physical activity programs.”

The poll was conducted by telephone in October in six languages, among 1,185 California voters, part of a series conducted for the California Endowment. The sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

via California voters say soda can make you fat – latimes.com.

Health Officials Urge F.D.A. Action on Soft Drinks – NYTimes.com

Health Officials Urge F.D.A. Action on Soft Drinks

A group of health advocates and public health officials from major cities around the country are asking the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the amount of caloric sweeteners in sodas and other beverages, arguing that the scientific consensus is that the level of added sugars in those products is unsafe.

The group, led by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and including public health departments from Boston to Los Angeles, noted that the F.D.A. had pledged in 1982 and 1988 to reassess the safety of sweeteners if consumption increased or if new scientific research indicated that things like high fructose corn syrup and sucrose were a public health hazard.

“Both of those conditions have been met,” the center said in a news release on Wednesday, and that “obligates the F.D.A. to act.”

The big beverage makers are aware of the growing pressure on them to either reduce the amount of sweeteners in their products or find an alternative to such sugars. PepsiCo, for example, has used stevia in a product called Trop 50 to reduce caloric sweeteners in juice, while Coca-Cola recently went on the offensive with advertisements that sought to underscore its concern about obesity.

“There’s an important conversation going on about obesity, and we want to be part of the solution,” Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola’s chief executive said on Tuesday during a call with analysts to discuss the company’s earnings. “Together with partners in civil society, our own industry and other businesses, I am personally committed to leveraging all our resources to lead and make a difference here.”

He said the company was investing in developing new sweeteners, products and packaging to promote better health.

Sodas and sugary drinks are the biggest source of calories in the American diet, adding 300 to 400 calories to the average consumer’s total daily caloric intake. At least one-quarter of the total calories consumed each day by roughly one-fifth of children aged 12 to 18 come from added sugars, according to the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a survey done by the Centers for Disease Control.

The centers noted that a typical 20-ounce bottle of soda contains an amount of high fructose corn syrup equivalent to roughly 16 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons and men no more than 9 teaspoons of added sugar a day.

“If one were trying to ensure high rates of obesity, diabetes or heart disease in a population, one would feed the population large doses of sugary drinks,” Walter Willett, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, said in Wednesday’s news release. “The evidence is so strong that it is essential that the F.D.A. use its authority to make sugary drinks safer.”

via Health Officials Urge F.D.A. Action on Soft Drinks – NYTimes.com.

Avoiding Sugared Drinks Limits Weight Gain in Two Studies – NYTimes.com


Amid fervid criticism that New York City risks becoming a nanny state, city health officials this month banned the sale of supersize sugar-laden drinks in restaurants and movie theaters. Now scientists have handed the ban’s advocates a potent weapon: strong evidence that replacing sugared drinks with sugar-free substitutes or water really can slow weight gain in children.

Avoiding Sugared Drinks Limits Weight Gain in Two Studies - NYTimes.com

Benjamin Lesczynski, 8, protested limits in New York, but new studies tend to support the idea.

In Soda Fight, Industry Focuses on the Long Run (September 13, 2012)

Two-thirds of all American adults and one-third of children in the United States are overweight or obese. The contribution of sugary sodas and fruit drinks to this epidemic has been hotly disputed. But two new randomized clinical trials published on Friday in The New England Journal of Medicine lend credence to the idea that limiting access to these beverages may help reduce obesity.

Beverage industry officials denounced the research, which may fuel wider efforts to curb consumption through taxes or other restrictions.

In one of the new trials, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital randomly assigned 224 overweight or obese teenagers to receive home deliveries of bottled water and diet drinks for one year. The children also were regularly encouraged to avoid sugary drinks. Those who received the shipments gained only 3.5 pounds on average during that year, while a comparison group of similar teenagers gained 7.7 pounds. The differences between the groups evaporated after the deliveries stopped.

In the second trial, researchers at VU University Amsterdam randomly assigned 641 normal-weight schoolchildren ages 4 to 11 to drink eight ounces of a 104-calorie sugar-sweetened or noncaloric sugar-free fruit-flavored drink every day from identical cans. Over 18 months, children in the sugar-free group gained 13.9 pounds on average, while those drinking the sugar-added version gained 16.2 pounds.

via Avoiding Sugared Drinks Limits Weight Gain in Two Studies – NYTimes.com.

The Soda Ban Debate: What Does It Mean for Your Health? – Diet and Nutrition – Everyday Health

The Soda Ban Debate: What Does It Mean for Your Health?

The New York City Board of Health will decide this week whether to implement Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial proposal to limit the sale of super-sized sodas.

By Brett Spiegel, Production Editor

via The Soda Ban Debate: What Does It Mean for Your Health? – Diet and Nutrition – Everyday Health.

NYC passes ban on supersized sugary drinks: NBC

By NBC News and wire reports

The New York City Board of Health voted Thursday in support of the ban on large, sugary drinks on Thursday, in a controversial move to reduce obesity.

The ban is an unprecedented 16-ounce limit on sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, delis and movie theaters.

By a vote of eight members in favor, with one abstaining, the mayoral-appointed city health board outlawed sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces nearly everywhere they are sold, except groceries and convenience stores. Violators of the ban, which does not include diet sodas, face a $200 fine. Continue reading