12/10/02 - Do We Drink Too Much Soda?

When you get thirsty you may reach for water or juice, but many of us go straight to a soda fountain. But are we drinking too much soda? Many of us do, maybe without even realizing it. Those 32 ounce sodas that have become so popular don't just pack a lot more liquid, they have tons of calories too.
A soda is a favorite at lunchtime. People line up at the convenience store drive thru's to get one hoping that extra boost of caffeine will help get them through the day. But 32-ounce cups are big sodas with a whole lot of calories. Saint Francis Medical Center Dietician Amy Hutson says, "A 32-ounce soda has about 500 calories. If you drink one of those a day, it's 3500 calories a week, so you can actually gain a pound a week by just getting a 32-ounce soda a day."
Drive up windows make it so easy for people for to get a big soda. At one Cape Girardeau gas station alone, a few hundred people go through there a day and there are hundreds of gas stations like that one across the Heartland. A person can quench their thirst without even getting out of the car, calories and convenience. Soda drinker Travis Bennett says, "Generally I drink one if that."
While soda drinker Linda Glastetter says, "I try to keep it to one, maybe two, it just depends." But Tammy Hilton drinks much more. She says, "I drink probably four or five a day." All the sugar in those big drinks isn't just packed with calories, it can also make you more prone to cavities, not to mention the caffeine. Dietician Amy Hutson says, "It speeds up your heart rate, sometimes it makes you jumpy." Even so, Travis Bennett says he won't stop drinking soda. "I just like to have one when I'm driving around," he says. "When you get thirsty it's nice to have one in the truck."
Of course, diet sodas don't have any calories, but it still has caffeine. Like everything, if you drink soda in moderation it's okay.