Soda: the good, the bad, the ugly

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - If you're tired, thirsty, or just want something a little sweet, a soda can be just the answer.

According to a Gallup Poll, Americans drink a lot of soda. The average amount was a little more than 2 glasses, but some people drink way more than 2 glasses of soda a day. Some folks say they even have 7 or more, and doctors say that's not good.

Dietitian Raina Childers with Southeast Health said moderation is key, but moderation can still be one or two sodas a day. One soda equals 12 ounces, so if you get a 32 ounce fountain soda, that can be about 3 drinks, and not exactly moderation.

Childers said a lot of people are dehydrated, so any liquid is good, but it just depends what you're looking for.

"I prefer to drink diet soda because it's not quite as sweet," said Herman Mcelmurry of Cape Girardeau.

"I usually get a mix, I do regular cause I like the flavor, and I use diet because less calories," said John McGowan of Cape Girardeau.

"It kind of depends on what they're looking for in that beverage obviously most of us run around poorly hydrated so any fluid all day long is good, but if you're looking for a pick me up than maybe something caffeinated, if you're looking for a sweet satisfaction, then maybe sometimes a soda is what you're looking for, so I would have to say individually person by person, are you a person who is watching your weight right now, then I would go with a diet soda, if you're a person who is in weight maintenance and is able to manage your weight and don't have any particular health concerns than enjoy a regular soda," said Childers.

But, if you're afternoon soft drink is making you feel down, it could be because of the artificial sweetener. A new study links sweet soft drinks and depression.

Childers said no one needs to freak out, she said the research is still new, and we should wait for more studies to show a correlation between the sweet drinks and depression.

The study shows the low-calories diet sodas, iced teas, and fruit punch were linked to a higher risk of depression than the higher calorie drinks.

Researchers said the artificial sweetener Aspartame may be to blame. According to the study, people who drank more than four servings of soda per day were 30 percent more likely to develop depression.

But again, Childers said that's new data, and there are a lot of factors that go into depression.

"If you had a Diet Coke yesterday don't panic, I don't think depression is on your door step and to remember depression is a serious condition and many Americans struggle with it but there are many contributing factors outside of diet that can affect a person's mental health and so let's not panic and blame one sole thing right now, look at the big picture," said Childers.

Childers said there are sodas on the market that use other sweeteners like Splenda or Stevia, instead of Aspartame.

She warned to watch out for sweeteners people add to water, because they too could have the same artificial sweeteners you might be trying to stay away from.

Childers said the best thing to drink is water. But, if you quit drinking soda cold turkey, your body could go into withdrawals, so Childers suggests just adding water between each soda.

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