Amid ‘soda ban’ news, nutrition expert tells us why we should swear off pop
By Brittany Anas
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has tried taking on Big Soda, attempting to ban super-sized sugary drinks. But hours before the ban was set to go into effect, it was stopped by New York Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling. (Next up on Bloomberg’s health hit list: An attempt to ban tobacco products from being on display in stores).
While the appeals court sorts out whether large sodas will be banned from restaurants, movie theaters and other venues in New York, we took the opportunity to talk with New York nutrition expert Karen Ansel, M.S., R.D. Ansel, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, for the low-down on why we should break up with soda on our own terms.
ShopAtHome.com: Tell us three reasons why we should kick our soda habits.
Karen Ansel: One, soda is packed with empty calories. Two, it is loaded with sugar that quickly raises blood sugar and insulin levels. While you may get a quick — yet short-lived — energy rush, blood sugar will plummet just as quickly, so it will be followed by an even bigger crash. Three, when we drink liquids, our bodies don’t register their calories the same way they would from solid foods, so it’s easy to drink down hundreds of liquid calories from soda without even realizing it.
SAH: What about our children? What are some of the leading concerns when it comes to kids and sugary pops?
KA: Soda for children is even more of a concern not only for the reasons mentioned earlier, but also because soda and sugary drinks are replacing milk — a beverage kids really need for strong bones — in their diets. Also, childhood is where eating habits are formed. If kids grow up reaching for soda every time they are thirsty, they are probably going to do the same thing as grown-ups.
SAH: What about diet soda? What kind of health concerns should we have there?
KA: Right now, the evidence on diet soda is mixed, so your best bet for a calorie-free drink is water or unsweetened iced tea.
SAH: Can you share some ideas for healthy alternatives to soda if we’re craving a sweet drink?
KA: Mix a pitcher of sparkling water with fresh blackberries and sliced strawberries for a fizzy drink with a fresh fruity taste. [Or try fruit-flavored herbal tea.] You’ll get a sweet flavor without any of the calories or sugar of soda.
Ansel is co-author of The Calendar Diet: A Month by Month Guide to Losing Weight While Living your Life, The Baby & Toddler Cookbook: Fresh, Homemade Foods for a Healthy Start; and Healthy in a Hurry: Simple, Wholesome Recipes for Every Meal of the Day. (Click here for Amazon coupons).
Want more healthy tips from Karen Ansel? Check out her website.
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