Americans have sipped their way to fatness by drinking far more soda and other sugary drinks over the last four decades, a new scientific review concludes.
An extra can of soda a day can pile on 15 pounds (7 kilograms) in a single year, and the evidence strongly suggests that this sort of increased consumption is a key reason that more people have gained weight, the researchers say.
“We tried to look at the big picture rather than individual studies,” and it clearly justifies public health efforts to limit sugar-sweetened beverages, said Dr. Frank Hu, who led the report published Tuesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
…Unlike other carbohydrates, the main sweetener in beverages — high-fructose corn syrup — does not spur production of insulin to make the body “process” calories. It also does not spur leptin, a substance that helps moderate appetite. For these reasons, beverages are not as satisfying as foods containing similar amounts of calories and fly under the radar of the body’s normal weight-regulating mechanisms, many nutrition experts say.