‘Pie hole’, colloquial for one’s mouth, is believed to have evolved in the USA in the 1980s from the British expression ‘cake hole’ (coined in the mid 20th century). Pie hole refers to a mouth, as in: Shut your pie hole or, in this case: Put less in your pie hole.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Can the Soda Fuzz Control the Fizz?

Sugary drinks. A hot and controversial topic getting some attention from some political big wigs; Mayor Bloomberg of New York City has tried, and at the moment is hitting roadblocks in trying to ban soda cups over 16oz (470ml) at New York restaurants, movie theatres, sport arenas and street carts. However, state regulated establishments like 7-Eleven could continue to sell their 50oz (1500ml) soda cups. Will citizens’ pound down this policy like they would a 32oz (940ml) cup of Coke? Join us, as we pour over this sweet-as topic.
There is an overwhelming amount of evidence linking consumption of sugary beverages to development of type II diabetes, heart disease, becoming overweight and obese, and a slew of related health problems.
In the US between the 1960s and 2010, obesity has almost tripled to a hefty average of 35.9% of American adults.
The blanket term now used to describe full sugar soft drinks, fruit drinks/juices and sport/energy drinks is ‘sugar sweetened beverages’ (SSBs). Calorie intake from SSBs has increased by 135% between 1977 and 2001.
A collection of 'sugar sweetened beverages'
Research shows factors including: education level, household income, geographic location, age and ethnicity are associated with SSB consumption. For example, low-income and low-education individuals are more likely to consume higher amounts of SSBs compared with their high-income and high-education peers. Similarly, children of low-income and low-education parents consumed higher SSBs compared to kids whose parents earn more and have higher education levels. In this case, it’s not who you know, but how much you know that can make a difference.
A study conducted in the Netherlands showed that providing portion specific caloric information where soft drinks are purchased, had no significant effect on size choice or amount of soft drink consumed. Conducting similar studies in the US to investigate how American’s would respond to displayed calorie information for soft drinks would be useful before instituting policy changes. After all, banning 32oz (940ml, 380 calories) soda cups isn’t banning customers from refilling their 16oz (470ml, 200 calories) cup.
An example of displaying caloric information
Will banning or restricting soda cup size help decrease obesity and consumption of sugar filled sodas? More research is needed to say definitively. But two things are for sure:
1. Publicity about this topic is spurring debates over the importance of nutrition education, which in turn empowers people to make healthier choices.
2. If you’re someone who likes regular soda, banning the larger cup size isn’t going to stop you getting refills or going to 7-Eleven and guzzling a Double Gulp down your pie hole.

Join us again next week as we look at another kind of SSB and uncover the trends behind sport and energy drinks.

As a side note, I’ve had some requests to list possible alternatives to soda. The best, of course, is water. If you’re one of those people who complain water is too ‘bland’, try adding some lime or lemon. Diet and regular sodas are “sometimes” drinks, even though diet drinks are void of calories and sugar, constant consumption of the chemicals they contain has negative effects on bones.

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