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Weight Gain and Soda: 5 Scandalous Facts

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 8 15

This Just In! Soda Weight Gain is for Real!

The topic of soda and weight gain is fraught with conflicting information. “Yes, soda makes you fat!” “No, it doesn’t as long as it is consumed in moderation.” What to believe? Who is telling the truth? It’s important to know who and where the information is coming from. Below are five scandalous and scary facts about soda and weight gain: 

1. Soda Turns You Into a Mutant!

Okay, not really, but it does mess with your body on the cellular level and makes you more susceptible to soda weight gain. A study involving 33,000 men and women showed that sugary beverages (including soda) interacts with our “obesity genes” and increases that risk more than heredity alone.[1] This is true even when taking into account diet and exercise. In other words, the more soda you drink, regardless of how you eat and exercise can lead to soda weight gain.

2. Soda can Cause You to Chase the Dragon!

Drinking too much of that carbonated stuff not only helps you perfect your ability to burp out the alphabet like a pro, it can also lead to soda addiction. The possibility of getting cracked out on Coke (Coca-Cola that is) is something that the beverage industry denies, but those of us who have had (or still have) a soda addiction knows it's true. Let’s see now. What are some of soda’s key ingredients? Sugar. Check. And/Or corn syrup. Check. Caffeine. Check. Oh. Those ingredients have addictive properties.[2] And if you have a soda addiction, you’re probably drinking way more than you should. Those calories add up and guess what? Soda weight gain.

3. The Soda Industry is Lying to You and Pays Off Companies to do the Same!

Coca “don’t blame us for the obesity epidemic” Cola is a leader of information spin when it comes to soda and weight gain. They have an entire “institute” devoted to providing the “truth.” Their message, along with other impartial sounding “associations” like the American Beverage Association maintains that no single thing causes obesity and soda can be a part of a healthy life style. Blah, blah, blah. Hah! If the overall soda intake in the United States was at a healthy level (i.e. having an occasional soda) the soda industry would go out of business.


Did you know that studies that refute the relationship between weight gain and soda tend to be conducted by people who are financially supported by the beverage industry?[4][5] Did you know that the makers of Dr. Pepper donated millions of dollars to the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and in exchange was allowed to place the ADA label on their diet drinks? There are many more examples.[3] How can we trust these “authorities” to tell us the truth about healthy levels of soda consumption and the connection between soda and weight gain?

In the video below, listen closely to the description of how soda is laid out in the supermarkets. Now think about your favorite supermarket. Except for maybe stores like Wholefoods or Trader Joe's, doesn't it ring true?

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us
Amazon Price: $28.00 $13.84 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 30, 2013)

4. They Make it Cheap for a Reason!

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Bigger Than Ever
The price of soda relative to that of fresh fruits and vegetables is much less expensive. From 1979 - 2009 the price of fresh fruits and vegetables has risen over 300% while the price of soda and other sugary goods has risen 125%.[3] With so many people watching their wallets, less expensive and less healthy foods are tempting to reach for. However, what we save in money we gain in an abundance of over processed foods, full of sugar and beverages like soda that can lead to weight gain.

Coca Cola has marketed their products extremely hard in poor areas such as New Orleans and Rome, Georgia where the people drink three Cokes a day on average. Coke has pushed its campaign to places like Brazil where they made smaller sizes and charged twenty cents per can in an effort to get people hooked. When former Coke chief operating officer in both North and South America, Jeffrey Dunn spoke out about the lack of morality of marketing cheap, bad food to poor people, he was fired.[7] 

5. Your Kid is a Walking Target!

Start ‘em young and get ‘em hooked I always say. Whether it’s vending machines selling soda

Start 'em  Young
in schools in exchange for sponsorship and money (did you know that one such sponsorship required the school to print the beverage's name of its rooftop so that planes arriving at a nearby airport could see it?!)[3], or the incessant advertisements and availability making it hard to resist, soda now makes up 2/3 of the average child’s beverage calories. For every can of soda a child drinks each day, the risk of soda weight gain increases by 60 percent. Sixty percent![4]

When your child is drinking soda s/he is not also drinking healthy beverages like water along with it. The soda is replacing healthy drinks. This gets them addicted early, packs in calories, messes with their genes, not to mention possible teeth and bone decay and more, and yes, can lead to soda weight gain.

SodaStream 1017512018 Genesis Home Soda Maker, Black and Silver
Amazon Price: $129.99 $87.84 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 30, 2013)

 Make no mistake about this. The soda industry has no interest in us being occasional consumers. They want to be every day, multiple times a day consumers. They want us to want and need our soda fix like many coffee drinkers to get going in the morning. Sugar in drinks like soda are the single most caloric food source in the United States.[5]

Most of the information in this can apply to non-soda sugary beverages (i.e. Arizona Ice tea which has more sugar than soda) and a host of sugary foods. Soda has been singled out because of the calorie intake market share it has steadily gained. After all, you can also gain weight from drinking fresh orange juice if you drink enough of it. However, we don’t have an orange juice drinking epidemic on our hands. Once we fix this soda consumption problem and it’s varied negative results such as soda weight gain, I’ll gladly wage war on those orange juice fiends…How dare they give us too much juice!



Apr 9, 2013 5:38pm
KimChaos, this is an outstanding article! The soda companies cleverly get people hooked, just like the tobacco and fast food companies. I was impressed with the way you point out what additives get people addicted. You also point out the myths and lies that the public is exposed to. How can consumers know what is true and healthy when lobbyists pay off these companies? It is not in their best interest to tell people the truth. This is one of the major reasons why millions of children become obese. Great job!
Apr 10, 2013 4:18pm
Thanks, curiosity44! I appreciate your comment. As you said, how can we know who to trust? It is very, very frustrating. Every time I read more information, it gets me going again. Thanks for reading!
Apr 9, 2013 6:25pm
I was really addicted to carbonated drinks for twelve years but when I looked in the mirror and noticed my size, I was disgusted. I made up my mind never to take such drinks and thank GOD I have stuck to the decision.My weight has reduced and I feel healthier,
Thanks for the info
Apr 10, 2013 4:20pm
Thanks for commenting and sharing moronkee! Congrats on winning the battle of the soda. I know from experience that it ain't easy!
Apr 10, 2013 8:09pm
Soda is empty calories with no nutritional value. Obesity and diabetes are reaching epidemic proportions in our children as well as our adult populations, and leaving out just one thing - soda - would make a big difference.

Another great article! Thumbs Up!
Apr 12, 2013 7:37am
i was so addicted this kind of drinks but when i read something related to health i just started cutting soda drinks.per glass equivalent to 7 spoons of sugar...
Apr 15, 2013 7:41pm
i Mahara. Thanks for reading and commenting! Good for you! It's amazing how addicting it can be.
Apr 13, 2013 10:25pm
I totally agree with almost everything that you said in your article. I have just started my own little battle to shed off some pounds and I have made it clear that I will not drink any carbonated or soda drinks for the whole month. So far, I was able to control it for 13 days now and I feel kinda proud of myself. If I was able to do it for the last 13 days then there is definitely no reason why I wont be able to do it for the next few weeks or months! Your article has been a great help to motivate me not to drink SODA... thanks :)
Apr 15, 2013 7:44pm
Hi Kai9200! Thanks for reading and commenting. I am flattered that my article is a motivator. Thank you! Keep it up. I have read that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. That seems to be accurate for myself anyway. Keep it up! :) BTW-You SHOULD feel proud. :)
Apr 15, 2013 3:16am
I'm not such a big fan of all of them sodas but still, just like everyone else on this planet i do feel that i have drunk more than I should already! Ufff... it really takes a strong mind to get rid of all these unhealthy habits. Thanks for the post, pretty interesting.
Apr 15, 2013 7:45pm
Hi Elias, Thanks for reading and commenting! I'll admit I was craving a soda this past weekend when I was doing my taxes. :)
Apr 15, 2013 9:18am
Jul 3, 2014 6:55pm
Very good article....couldn't agree more how the beverage is abused by consumers and over marketed and protected by the manufactures! I did get a chuckle out of the intent of the article object to help educate and influence readers away from consuming soda but then saw the ad for a SodaStream machine! :)
Nov 23, 2014 12:06am
Thanks for exposing the marketing strategy for yet one of many obesity factors. In South African hospitals there are vending machines where patients can buy a steady stream of soda, crisps and chocolates.
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  1. "Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Genetic Risk of Obesity." http://www.nejm.org/. 11/10/2012. 13/03/2013 <Web >
  2. Rebecca Cooper, MA, MFT, CCH, CEDS "Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup: Not Such a Sweet Deal." Huffington Post. 28/11/2012. 12/03/2013 <Web >
  3. Martin Donohoe, MD, FACP "Weighty Matters: Public Health Aspects of the Obesity Epidemic Part III -- A Look at Food and Beverage Industries." http://www.medscape.com. 25/3/2008. 13/03/2013 <Web >
  4. Kelly D. Brownell, Ph.D., and Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "Ounces of Prevention — The Public Policy Case for Taxes on Sugared Beverages." http://www.nejm.org. 30/4/2009. 13/03/2013 <Web >
  5. Vasanti S Malik, Walter C Willett, and Frank B Hu "Sugar-sweetened beverages and BMI in children and adolescents: reanalyses of a meta-analysis." http://ajcn.nutrition.org. 13/03/2013 <Web >
  6. Sonia Caprio, M.D. "Calories from Soft Drinks — Do They Matter?." http://www.nejm.org. 11/10/2012. 13/03/2013 <Web >
  7. MICHAEL MOSS "The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food." http://www.nytimes.com. 20/13/2013. 14/03/2013 <Web >

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