It has been said that the best place to hide something is in plain view. In the case of our search for the causes of our soaring obesity rates, this maxim holds true.

Soft drinks can be found almost everyone you go. They have become the number one source of calories in the US and are, in fact, the most largely consumed “food”. Over 2/3 of adults drink enough soda to supply them with more daily calories than from any other source. This equates to roughly 45 gallons of soda per person each year and the evidence is mounting that this directly related to our ever expanding waistlines.

Between 1977 and 1997 soft drink consumption increased by over 60 % in adults and more than doubled for children. During that same time period obesity rates also doubled. These parallel trends are profoundly disturbing and are considered one of the main criteria for the scientific proving of cause and effect.

The International Obesity Task Force warns that childhood obesity rates will double again by the end of this decade. Soda consumption could be a major factor in this rise. One study of 548 schoolchildren found that every additional soda they consumed increased their odds of becoming obese by 60 percent!

The body processes the calories from sweetened beverages differently than those from food. High fructose corn syrup, the primary sweetener in non-diet sodas, has been shown to increase triglyceride (fat) levels in the blood. Insulin is not produced in response to this sweetener, so calories are not burned.

If you want to be thin, switching to diet soda won’t help. It may, in fact, cause even greater problems. In addition to being toxic, new findings from the San Antonio Heart study show that those who consume diet soda are more likely to be overweight or obese. Not only that, but the more diet soda that is consumed, the more overweight the consumer tends to be.

As is always the case, common sense is your best bet. If you want to maintain a healthy weight, forgo the syrupy sweet sodas and drink plenty of purified water and unsweetened natural juices.

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