Big Soda versus Milk


I love a cold carbonated drink. Who doesn't ? But I am on a mission to get my patients off of soda. Why pick on one particular junk food and not them all ? Soda pop is a special concern to me since I care for girls and women. 

I have tried to educate my patients, young and old, about carbohydrate metabolism. Carbohydrates are the starches and sugars in our diet. We need them for energy, but we can only absorb them at a certain rate. The modern food industry has altered natural food materials in such as ways to make them taste good and not spoil. In short, they have processed the food, and that basically means the food is already partially broken down and relieved of its perishable nutrients. It is also filled with strategic additives to recolor, reflavor, or stabilize. When we eat processed carbohydrate, it jets right into our bloodstream since there is little breakdown left to do. The gratification is quick and the effect is almost addictive. Of course this is by design on the part of the food industry. 

Soda pop is the epitome of this phenomenon. I think of it as a sugar water IV. Even a young non diabetic person will raise their blood sugar beyond what it should be. What does the body do with excess sugar that it can't burn ? It stores it as fat. 

So many of us work hard to keep the waistline trim, and it turns out that is worthy goal. Truncal or waistline obesity is associated with cardiovascular disease. I have seen patients who drink large amounts of soda reduce their waistline and weight by just quitting that one thing. 

There's a special concern about girls, women and soda pop, and that is that it displaces milk as a common go-to beverage. It is consummately uncool to drink milk. I want that to change. You see, women are living longer than ever and in their older years, bone thinning is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. We women only have until the mid thirties to build are bone density. After that it's all downhill. It's just a question of how fast downhill, and from what height. 

So it is very important for girls and women to drink milk to build bone. Milk is rich in protein, Calcium, vitamin D and water. They need not be concerned about taking in too much fat, since skim or nonfat options are available everywhere. Furthermore, those with lactose intolerance can now find lactose free varieties on every street corner. 

It is worth mentioning that claims that soy, coconut, rice, almond, or hemp milk are superior are unfounded. None of them contain complete protein. They are essentially a complex carbohydrate and their role in a diet should factor that in. If as a lactose intolerant person I order a latte where there is no lactose free milk, I am happy to get one of these substitutes as the mood suits, but they are not a dietary substitute for milk from mammals such as cows or goats. 

So how am I going to get my fix for an ice cold carbonated drink ? Easy. I am going to buy one the newer elegant low sugar natural fruit based sodas. Or, even better, I am going to go home and mix plain club soda with crushed ice, a small splash of real fruit juice and a twist of lime. 

For more information about Big Soda, go to The Center for Science in the Public Interest.