Make it a small: N.Y.'s ban on large sodas likely won't take in Utah

Published: Thursday, May 31 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

While he admits it will be a fight, he intends to run the bill again "when the timing is right."

"The amount of carbonation drinks that are available for adults and kids is astounding," he said. "It's out there and it contributes to the struggle that everybody fights every single day in keeping their weight under control."

In Utah, more obese people report drinking at least one full-sugar, carbonated beverage per day than those with an ideal body mass, Isabella said. A recent health department survey found that at least 25 percent of adults in Utah have a daily soda habit.

Teenage boys are twice as likely as girls to drink at least one can or bottle of soda per day, as 23 percent of 12th-grade boys and 12 percent of girls in the same age group admitted to the behavior.

Kary Woodruff, a dietitian at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Murray, said sweetened beverages sometimes constitute up to 40 percent of a child's total daily caloric intake, a drastic increase from years past.

"Research shows that a higher intake of calories from beverages tends to be related to higher weight gain," she said, adding that a more appropriate proportion for sweetened beverages in a diet is 10 percent or less.

"Even if we get a significant amount of calories from beverages, we still feel like we're still hungry and we continue eating because we don't regulate the fullness like we do with food calories," Woodruff said.

Kids who drink too much often also have a problem eating enough food, thereby missing out on much of the day's nutritional needs. And adults often also miss out on necessary nutrients by consuming too much sugar.

Even diet soda poses a risk, Woodruff said, as artificial sweeteners can lead to compensatory behaviors and generate cravings for other sweet foods. A high consumption of carbonated beverages can also be a risk factor for unhealthy bones and decreased heart health, among other problems.

"If people continue to use them, same with tobacco and alcohol, they continue to use these things in excess, it's their right to destroy their bodies," said University of Utah student Alex Pavia, who was drinking a diet soda. "I don't think they should, but it's their right."

E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com, hschwarz@desnews.com

Twitter: wendyleonards

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