“Satisfy your sweet tooth and your coffee cravings in one indulgent sip”, states the Dunkin’ Donuts Website.
I guess if you can stop at just one sip, it would not be that bad. But, if you drank the entire 32 ounce Dunkin’ Mocha Coffee it is the equivalent of drinking 4 chocolate frosted donuts, 1050 calories, 30 grams saturated fat and 30 teaspoons of added sugar!
Sodas have long been in the spotlight as main “empty calorie” beverage in our diets, but the emergence of “energy drinks” and sugar laden coffee drinks are quickly challenging soft drinks popularity, adding even more pounds to our waistlines. We know that the consumption of these sugary drinks play a role in the obesity epidemic; more than 12.5million American kids and 78 million adults are obese. The 40 years of increasing national girth have paralleled an estimated doubling of calories consumed from sugar-sweetened beverages-this is no coincidence. Of course the American Beverage Association, which represents the soda makers deny the link and state lack of evidence, that “by every measure sugar-sweetened beverages play a small and declining role in the American Diet. “
Well, while I agree there are many factors that play a role in why one becomes obese, it is hard to deny that calorie consumption has significantly increased over the last century while the genetic pool has not changed. And, most noteworthy is the increase in the amount of sugary beverages; plus the fact that Americans currently drink 21% of their calorie intake. But, if you need more evidence a series of studies was recently reported in New England Journal of Medicine and are among the first to show that consumption of sugary drinks is a direct cause of weight gain.
The researchers compared two groups of children, between the ages of 5 and 12, who were similar in most respects except that some were randomly assigned to drink a sugary beverage each day and some were given an artificially sweetened drink with no calories.
In one of the studies with normal weight children, those who drank 8 ounces /day of a sugary drink for 18 months gained more than 2 pounds AND accumulated more fat, than their peers who drank the artificially sweetened beverage.
In the other study children who were already overweight or obese were supplied with the same beverage treatment. After one year, the children consuming the sugar drinks were 4 pounds heavier and roughly half a point higher on the BMI scale than those supplied with diet drinks.
For adults, the new research strengthens the unnerving argument that regular consumption of high-calorie beverages may turn on genetic switch that influences our bodies to become fat.
“Clearly, calories from sugar-sweetened beverages do matter,” Yale University endocrinologist Sonia Caprio wrote in the editorial that accompanied the studies. “The time has come to take action”.
Recently, after extensive battles, a law was passed through Congress to require chain restaurants to list calories on their menu. The hope is when one goes to order the Mocha Coffee and reads it is more than half the calories they need for the entire day, they will choose a more nutrient dense beverage choice, or skip it altogether. Meanwhile in September, the New York City Board of Health voted to ban the sale of sugar-sweetened drinks larger than 16 ounces at 24, 000 restaurants, snack bars, movie theaters and sports arenas. These steps will not erase the near-tripling of obesity rate over last four decades, but at least it is a start.