Make Mine Milk, Please!

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Skip the soda: Study reveals drinking even one sugary soft drink per day can have harmful effects.

Published on: April 26, 2013

I confess there was a time when I drank two, sometimes three cans of Diet Coke per day. In fact, I was addicted to Diet Coke. I could tell because if I went a day without drinking any Diet Coke I would wake up the next morning with a pounding headache. The cure? You guessed it – another Diet Coke.

This addiction to Diet Coke went on for 23 years! Finally, in 2005 I managed to kick the habit.

Fortunately for me, Diet Coke wasn't the only thing I drank. I have always been a milk drinker, and I like tall glasses of ice water. Eventually, I weaned myself down to one can of Diet Coke per day and within a month I wasn't drinking Diet Coke any more.

What I drink today, for the most part, is milk or ice water. At home I usually drink milk with meals. When I'm at a restaurant, I drink ice water. During the day, I drink ice water as well. On occasion, I will have a glass of juice or ice tea, a cup of hot chocolate or a can of soda if there are no other options.

Milk never hurt anyone and unlike soda is packed with nutrition.
Milk never hurt anyone and unlike soda is packed with nutrition.

But after reading about the results of a study released April 24, I plan to avoid soda completely.

A mere 12-ounce serving of a sugar-sweetened soft drink per day may increase the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a study published by Diabetologia. Just one sugary soft drink consumed daily can raise the risk of diabetes by 22%, the study showed.

I know drinking an occasional can of soda isn't going to lead to an increased risk of developing diabetes. But, after being addicted to Diet Coke for more than two decades, I know how an occasional soda can lead to one soda a day and maybe even more. Why risk it?

The study, led by researchers at the Imperial College in London, adds to a growing body of evidence that sugar intake has an impact both on weight gain and diabetes. This has been fueling a debate over public policy aimed at curbing the obesity epidemic and related diseases, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attempt to restrict sales of large-sized, sugary soft drinks.

The study's researchers used data on the consumption of juices, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and artificially sweetened beverages collected across eight European patient groups participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, also known as EPIC. The study included 12,403 Type 2 diabetics and a random population of 16,154 people identified within EPIC.

The researchers concluded, consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks "increases your risk of developing diabetes beyond the effect on body weight. You may remain thin and still have a higher risk of developing diabetes."

Drinking three glasses of 2% milk and one or two glasses of ice water per day never hurt anyone. Milk is packed with nutrition. In addition to providing 29% of a person's daily calcium requirements, an 8-ounce serving of 2% milk also delivers 26% of your daily vitamin D needs, 23% of your phosphorus requirements, 27% of your riboflavin needs, 19% of your B12 requirements and 16% of your daily protein requirements. Sugary soft drinks offer no nutrition.

So, the next time you're trying to figure out what to drink, think milk and skip the soda!