Stop Blaming Obesity on Soda

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Stop Blaming Obesity on Soda

By Robert Cohen, NotMilk.com

Today, they blame it on soda, so soda machines are removed from schools. One finds so many conflicts of interest with USDA employees holding seats of power. These decision makers have strong ties to the dairy industry, but similar relations with soda manufacturers are rare.

Today we demonstrate that although soda may be a part of the overall obesity problem seen over the past 30 years, the major factor is increased cheese consumption.

A few weeks ago, I drove Jennifer (age 19) back to her college campus and helped carry her refrigerator and other assorted freight up to my daughter's second floor dormitory room. I could not help but be stunned while driving around her campus by the number of obese young men and women who live on campus. It was shocking. I attended that same college in 1970, and memories, confirmed by photographs, reveal no such overweight students. What are we doing differently today. What changed from 1970 to 2004?

After obtaining food data from the government website:

The differences in soda and cheese consumption during the period of time from 1970 through 2000 were considered. Data were also obtained for 1970 soda and cheese consumption rates by performing a Google search.

Here is what was discovered. In 1970, the per capita consumption of soda in America was 29.9 gallons. By 2000, that number had increased to 37.7 gallons.

In 1970, the per capita consumption of cheese was 10 pounds. By 2000, that number had increased to 29.8 pounds. (In 2004, the average American will consumer over 31 pounds of cheese.)

Just one factor was considered. Calories. The human body does not care where it gets its fuel. Sugar, fat, protein, carbs...it's all fuel to be converted into energy. Extra fuel is stored as fat. So...in fairness to dairy, neither fat nor cholesterol content was considered. Just calories.

One pound of American cheese contains 1,490 calories. One gallon of cola contains 1,592 calories.

Here is what was found.

In 1970, when I was in college and most people were slim, the average American each day consumed 130 calories from soda and 71 calories from cheese. Criticize what you may, but that proportion kept us relatively slim.

By 2000, the average American was consuming daily 164 calories from soda and 122 calories from cheese.

What we must do, then, is determine the differences. That is the key to the obesity epidemic. The baseline (1970 numbers) did not result in large numbers of overweight children as there are in 2004. That trend resulted from the increased consumption of one or both commodities.

BOTTOM LINE

From 1970 until 2000, the average American consumed an additional 34 calories each day from soda. From 1970 until 2000, the average American consumed an additional 50 calories each day from cheese.

In July of 2000, the Journal of the Archives of Disease in Childhood reported:

From 1965 to 1996, a considerable shift in the adolescent diet occurred...increases occurred in the consumption of higher fat potatoes and mixed dishes (pizza, macaroni cheese)...These trends, far greater than for US adults, may compromise health of the future US population.

Since there are 365 days in a year, and 3,500 calories in a pound, I calculated that during the 4 years of high school, a teenager would gain 14 additional pounds from his or her soda consumption, and 21 additional pounds from his or her increased cheese consumption.

Oh, yes...one major difference between the two commodities that I have not yet considered in this column, but do so now. Soda does not contain growth hormones. Growth hormones instruct cells to grow. Combine the large amount of calories found in cheese with saturated animal fat and cholesterol, and an abundance of naturally occurring concentrated growth
hormones, and the body does what it is instructed to do. Grow! So, place the blame where it rightfully belongs. Behold, the growth power of cheese.