Americans’ battle with the bulge might be lost over a can of soda or sugar-sweetened fruit drink. These drinks, which many people quaff without considering the calorie cost, are considered a major cause of obesity and are linked to a rise in diabetes. A 2004 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association says that these sugary drinks don’t fill us up. But because they taste so good, we keep drinking them—and each contains 40–50 grams of sugar. “Before we know it, we’ve gained 15 pounds a year,” says nutritionist Caroline Apovian of Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine. “Reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption may be our best single opportunity to curb the obesity epidemic.” Weight gain was highest among women who upped their sugar-sweetened soda consumption from one drink or less per week to one or more a day. Drinking fruit punches also caused weight gain. Matthias Schulze, of the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, led the study, which involved tens of thousands of women.
Does Eating Meat Make People Fat?
Besides exercising too little and eating too much—especially too much over-processed, high-calorie food—there’s another possible reason that many Americans are overweight, says Amy Joy Lanou, PhD, director of human nutrition at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC.