June 17, 2004 at 1:40 PM CDT - Updated June 28 at 6:16 AM
by Michelle Mortensen
”I probably drink about 5 a day."
"Every morning ."
"Probably about five a day."
Americans love their soda.
"Mountain Dew! Absolutely, Mountain Dew."
"I prefer Sprite, but I also like Dr. Pepper."
"Cokes. Only Cokes."
Five billion gallons of soda were slurped up in 2000, making it one of the most popular drinks in the nation, but is our love affair with soda deadly?
"Soda has no nutritional value," says Dr. Meg Reitmeyer of Trinity Mother Frances.
She say sodas are one of the leading causes of diabetes and obesity in the nation, particularly in women.
"As women start moving toward menopause, their metabolism starts to change, and they can't metabolize potent sugars as well, increasing their risk," she adds.
Most sodas are full of sugar.
"This 12-ounce can of soda has about eight teaspoons of sugar. You've basically just gone to a sugar bowl and scooped out eight teaspoons of sugar in your mouth," says Dr. Reitmeyer.
And it's not like regular sugar, it's worse.
"It is a highly synthesized type of sugar extracted from corn. It's more potent than table sugar, as far as effects on the body," she says.
A recent study found women who drank at least one soda a day were 85 percent more likely to get Type 2 diabetes than those who didn't. This is a big problem, since diabetes is the fifth leading killer in the U.S.
If that's not enough of a reason to convince you to quit, Dr. Reitmeyer says there is another benefit to kicking the soda habit.
"One can of soda a day will equate to about a 10 to 15 pound weight gain over a year," she says.
Plus, the women in the study who didn't drink sodas also lost weight each year.