CPC Fellow Barry Popkin discusses soft drinks, beverages in news

May 16, 2007

The 11-year-old patient showed a considerable amount of tooth decay since his last cleaning, prompting his dentist, Dr. Anjali Miranda, to take action: No more soda for the boy at home, and only an occasional soft drink when he eats out with his parents....

Barry Popkin [a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill] blames sodas and other sugary drinks for the alarming increase in both obesity and diabetes in the past 20 years. (In all, two-thirds of Americans adults are overweight, and between one-third and one-half of adolescents are overweight. And more than 20.8 million Americans have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

While U.S. dietary guidelines have focused on food, Popkin focuses on drinks. "When we consume a beverage, we essentially don't change the amount of food we take in," Popkin says. He cites evidence of beverages' weak satiety properties, meaning they don't satisfy hunger and make you feel full. So you eat just as much after drinking a bottle of soda as you would after drinking a glass of water - except that with the soda, you consume a lot more calories.

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