Enemy Number One: Soft Drinks?
If you are at all interested in losing weight or improving your health, you may have heard that one of the easiest and best things you can do is to cut back on soft drinks. Numerous studies have shown that high calorie drinks, such as soft drinks, are a major contributor to weight gain. And cutting out just 20oz soft drink per day (even if you didn't make any other dietary or exercise changes) can lead to a half pound weight loss each week. However, it is important to remember that just one food or beverage alone can not be blamed entirely for weight gain. What's most important is balancing the calories we take in from food and drinks by burning calories with physical activity.
However, you may have heard recent reports that even diet sodas can contribute to weight gain. Yet there is data in numerous scientific journals that support that diet sodas are safe when consumed in moderation and can even help you manage your weight. But I wouldn't go crazy and consume bucketfuls everyday. As mentioned in this week's nutrition tip, all dark colored sodas (regular or diet) contain phosphoric acid, which can leech calcium out the bones making them weaker if consumed in large amounts.
So should you never, ever drink a soft drink? No! I personally enjoy having Coke Zero as a treat from time to time, and I teach all my clients that all foods can be enjoyed in a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. So if you love soft drinks, enjoying a few each week as a treat is a good way to have them in moderation. The rest of the time focus on drinking water, low-fat milk, and unsweetened teas. This way you can have your coke and drink it too!