For every meal, snacks, parties, gatherings with friends or co-workers, or even just sitting back watching television, there is always that incessant presence of a can or a glass of one’s favorite carbonated drink. For most people, especially for adolescence, these sugary carbonated drinks liven up the quality of the food or even the company, or provide that quenching ‘kick’ for the thirsty, something that water sometimes cannot do. Unfortunately a liter of soda can contain 700 calories (US Department of Agriculture 2012), and frequent intake could pose serious health problems such as obesity or diabetes. Studies show that a daily intake of a 12-oz soda containing 250 calories can contribute to 15 lbs weight increase in a year (Apovian 2004).
According to Neilsen and Popkin (2004) U.S consumption of sweetened carbonated drinks in years 1977 to 2001 increased dramatically by 135 percent. In fact, these carbonated drinks are identified as one of the culprit of the obesity epidemic in United States, with 64 percent or 129.6 million Americans ages 20 to 74 are overweight and 30 percent of these are obese (Morrill and Chin 2004). This is especially alarming in light of the increasing rate of degenerative diseases that stem from poor lifestyles and poor food choices.
This study aims to determine how the reduction of sugar drinks helps in weight loss. The study will center on participant identified with Type 1 Obesity. The first part will discuss the problems and issues that will be addressed in the study. The second part explores the initial vital data base on the subject’s statistics and health records. The third part lays out some research questions and hypothesis that aims to guide the study about the correlation of weight and sugar drink intake. Next, a discussion on the intervention done to achieve results presented. A review of literature on the correlation of weight and soda intake is to follow. And lastly, the presentation and discussion of the results will show the effectiveness of reducing weight gain with reducing carbonated drink intake for month.
Presenting the Problem
James Hans is a 20- year-old college student studying computer science. His problem has something to do with his recent increased weight for the last five years. Recently, James weighs 190 pounds, and with the height of 5 foot and 5 inches, his body mass index was 32. According to nutritionist, a body mass index of 32 is identified as a Type 1 obese. When asked what he thinks is the cause of his weight gain, he answered that it might be his frequent intake of soda. He could not recall a week without drinking two liters of carbonated drink (an average of 1400 calories per week). He explained that he has a ‘sweet tooth’ or constant cravings for sweet liquid, especially sweetened carbonated drink.
He reasoned that carbonated drink is tastier and more satisfying than water. Many have warned him about this, and he sometimes take weeks off without a drop of a liquid from the can of the carbonated drink, but then again he struggles to totally avoid and even crave for it, so most of the time, he goes back to drinking it again. He also said that his daily calories intake reach up to 2100 kcal. He explained that he needs to lose weight to reduce his BMI measurement. He was worried that his obesity can lead to more health complications in the future.
James daily activities involve hours of sitting in front of a computer, or studying in the library. James also has a big appetite, with his diet consisting of meat such as bacon, hotdog, pasta and chicken. As a college student noodles and pizza are also frequent meals in his menu. James sometimes worries for his health and his social life. According to him, his family has a history of diabetes (his two uncles) and obesity (his father). The label obesity now makes him feel anxious and uncomfortable especially in dating. In the interview, he seems shy talking about dating. Most of time, he spends his time studying, playing video games, or tinkering with computers. His exercise consists of short distance walk in the park or to school.
The study made use of several variables observed in one month. First is James’ weekly calories intake to measure just how much calories his diet consists and at what percent of his diet consist of sugar intake from soda. His weekly weight is also taken into account to calculate the changes juxtapose the amount of calorie he consumes. These data serves as the reference for the intervention method.
The data before the intervention is as follows: James weighed at 189 lbs and his calorie intake measured at about 15000 kcal, with a daily average of 2100 calories in the first week. In the second week, James weighed at about 190 lbs, and his diet accumulated to 15200 calories in that week. The third showed a slight increase by a .2 pounds in his weight but a decreased to 15100 calories in that week. The last week showed that his weight increased again from 191.2 pounds to 191.7 pounds, but his calories intake for that week remained at 1500 kcal. He mentioned that for the baseline month, his soda intake is minimal; restring his self for a can or two per day, mostly during lunch and snacks. For the baseline month, the calorie contributed by the sweetened carbonated drink is about 2 percent or 5600 kcal in the month.
For the first week, data showed that he had an intake of about one 150 calorie soda can each day, in sum is 1400 soda calorie for that week alone. The next two weeks showed an increase in soda intake, with each week having 1700 calorie from soda intake with a total of 3400 calories. And the last week of the baseline data, soda intake decreased to about 4-5 soda cans or 800 calories
Research Questions and Hypotheses
Is there a possible correlation with weight gain and sugar-sweetened carbonated drink?
Is one month enough to detect any relationship at all with caloric and weight increase?
Would a complete elimination of James’ soft drinks habit for one month decrease his weight significantly?
Would it be possible to attribute any weight changes to decrease in soft drinks intake?
If a psychological assessment is done to James regarding his cravings during the first and the last week of the intervention, what would researchers find?
Is James already at the at-risk level for degenerative diseases such as diabetes due to his high intake of soft drinks?
What can be a better alternative to soft drinks?
There are also hypothesis that must be laid out regarding the experimentation. These hypotheses help confirm significant correlations between weight gain and carbonated soft drinks, and also accounts for other results that may not be anticipated.
There would be a decrease in weight due to the reduction of soda consumption.
The result would only yield a fractional amount of changes in weight.
Changes in weight would also be caused by other factors other than reduction of soft drinks intake.
The goal of the intervention was of course, to reduce James’ weight by cutting off his 5600 calorie soft drink habits. The intervention will take in to account James’ ‘sweet tooth’ or cravings for sweet liquid. It will try to curb his fixation with carbonated drinks and redirect it towards a healthier and less calorie containing alternative.
The first week of intervention requires an instant cut off of all carbonated drink. Instead of carbonated drinks, his liquid intake will only consist of fruit juice, (containing not more than 120 calories) which he can have four times a day and water. The same goes for the second week, however at this time he is asked to reduce the amount of times he drinks fruit juice and instead opt for more intake of water. The third and fourth week require him to minimize his fruit juice consumption to at least 90 calories a week and consume more water and low fat- milk as alternative.
Review of Related Literature
Most literature on sweetened carbonated drink find a positive correlation with weight gains, obesity, diabetes and other degenerative chronic diseases (Malik, Schulze, and Hu 2006; Welsh and Deizt 2005). Schulze et. al (2004) investigated the connection of the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks with weight gain and type 2 diabetes. The first group of his participants participated in the diabetes analysis while the other group participated in weight changes analysis. The study was conducted over the period of eight years from 1991 to 1999, where information for health and weight are gathered every two years and information on diet and beverage consumption is measured every four years.
The result showed that those with increased consumption of less than or equally to one drink a week to more than or equal to one drink a day shows an increase of 358 calories per day, and a weight gain of 4.69 kilograms. Participants who decreased intake from more than or equal to one soft drink beverage per day to less than or equal to one beverage per week experienced a decrease of weight gain by 1.34 kilograms and decreased in intake calories by an average of 319 kcal per day. It also showed that people who consume high amounts of soft drinks are more likely to develop type 2 Diabetes (Schulze et. al 2004).Their findings were back up by the analysis conducted on different studies done on weight gain and soft drinks consumption (Malik et.al. 2006). Soft drinks are more likely to cause weight gain because of its low satiety (Malik et al 2006), low viscosity (Welsh and Dietz 2005) and incomplete caloric compensation.
The one month experiment of reducing calorie intake through eliminating the consumption of sugar- sweetened carbonated drink yielded a reduction of calorie intake to an average of 14,050 kcal from the original 15,100 kcal consumption before intervention. The trend of calorie reduction gradually progressed downwards. This is interesting to note since the total removal of carbonated drink abruptly started at the start of the intervention month. This could be through James’ attitude towards the experiment from the first week to the last. He admitted of having constant cravings for carbonated drinks especially in the first week of the experiment so he switched to sweetened fruit juice that has a slightly lower amount of calories (120 calories) five times during the week and water during meals. This reduced his calorie intake to 14700 kcal.
The next week, he is still alternating fruit juice and water, but this time, his consumption of juice was only limited to two times a week and daily snacks were changed to fruits (90 calories) such as mango or apple. This reduced the calorie to 14000 kcal. The third week and fourth week, small amount of fruit juice (about 90 calories per week) and more water for liquid intake is allowed, instead of sweet liquid drinks, James’ changed his cravings to real whole fruits. This equated to 13800 kcal for the third week and 13600 kcal for the fourth week.
James’ weighted at an average of 190 lbs the month before the intervention. James’ weight remained at 190 lbs in the first week of the intervention. At the second week proved to be a little more progressive with a .5 lbs reduction equating to 189.5 lbs. The third and fourth week showed a more promising result, with a reduction of a 1.5 lbs resulting to 188 lbs and another reduction of .6 or a total of 187.4 lbs by the fourth week.
It can be interpreted that the intake of water and real whole fruits instead of fruit juice or carbonated drinks resulted to a more visible decrease in weight. According to James, the idea of the nutrition book also allowed him to reflect on some of his food choices, this helped him slowly become conscious of some of his food choices other than his liquid intake. He also admitted to gaining confidence to himself although he knows that he still have a lot of work to do and a lifestyle to alter if he wants to achieve a healthy life.
Overall the study was able to prove that reduction of soda intake can help in weight loss, only if it helps to reduce overall calorie intake. If carbonated drinks are alternated with beverages that are low in calorie which helps create a deficit of calorie, then weight loss can happen. However, keep in mind that the study only measured the amount of liquid calories consumed. Further efforts on weight reduction require a holistic account of the entire calorie intake and a complete change of lifestyle is in order. Exercise regiments must also be taken into consideration to achieve significant weight loss. Lessening calorie intake and carbonated drinks are effective in reducing risks of type 2 diabetes as the study of Schulze et. al in 2004. Although this particular experiment cannot account for health risks and health improvement due to the time frame, it still reinforces the repercussions of too much carbonated drink consumption, not only on weight gain, but also to risks of diabetes and other diseases.
America is experiencing the nutrition transition (Popkin and Gordon-Larsen 2004) now. The decreasing prevalence of infectious diseases in developed country shows the effectiveness of medical and sanitation evolution, yet degenerative diseases are on the rise due to changes of its people’s lifestyle and the popularity of fast foods and high calorie food industries.
Poor food choices, high caloric consumption and growth of diabetes and obesity cases are not only caused by poor individual choices, rather, these circumstances are mainly created by societal forces. It is important for public health practitioners to understand the different individual motivations along with the structural and social compositions that surround and greatly influence their patients to provide comprehensive answers and solutions to obesity related diseases.
Apovian, C. . (2004). Sugar-sweetened soft drinks, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Journal of American Medical Association, 292, 978–9.
Malik, V., Schulze, M., & Hu, F. (2006). Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 84(2), 274–288. Retrieved from <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210834/>
Morrill, A., & Chinn, C. (2004). The obesity epidemic in the United States. Journal of Public Health Policy, 25, 353–66.
Nielsen, S., & Popkin, B. (2004). Changes in beverage intake between 1977 and 2001. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 27, 205–10.
Popkin, B., & Gordon-Larsen, P. (2004). The nutrition transition: worldwide obesity dynamics and their determinants. International Journal of Obesity, 28, S2–S9. Retrieved from <http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/nutrans/publications/Popkin Nutr Trans IJO 2004.pdf>
Schulze et.al, hf. (2004). Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in young and middle-aged women. Journal of American Medical Association2, 292, 927–934.
US Department of Agriculture. (2012). Nutrient data for 14400, Carbonated beverage, cola, contains caffeine. Retrieved from< http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/4337>
Welsh, J., & Dietz, W. (2005). Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption Is Associated With Weight Gain and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes: Clinical Diabetes, 23(4), 150–152. < http://clinical.diabetesjournals.org/content/23/4/150.short>
Figure 1 BASELINE DATA
Figure 2 INTERVENTION RESULT
Calorie Intake Comparison
Weight Loss Comparison