In my next few articles, I plan to take the opportunity and rant about liquid calories and its more than obvious effect on our health.

Sweetened beverages are consumed at a rate of 35 gallons/year/person, (followed by beer consumption…which at least has some nutrients…).

Globally, 1 billion soda drinks are swallowed each day, including energy drinks.  Now, that is a lot of calories.

But it is a lot more than just a calorie problem.  Let’s back up a few hundred thousand years and discuss what our great, great, great, great grandfathers drank.  They drank water, water, and then they had some water, and occasionally milk.  That’s it.  Water is of course water, a wonderful calorie free beverage that you will certainly die without – ‘nuff said.  Milk contains protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, etc. and by some is considered ‘food’. What does this all mean? The intake of liquid calories (primarily sweetened drinks) does not reduce your intake of solid food!

This is important in considering something called caloric compensation.  Caloric compensation in dietary terms is the adjustment of the body to calories consumed throughout the day.  This means, back to that regulatory, homeostatic mechanism at play, that if you sit down at lunch and eat 1500 calories, you are likely to eat less food later in the day, as you have compensated for your total caloric load at lunch.

Unfortunately, when you drink 1500 calories in pop in a day, a number of studies show that we humans cannot compensate for the liquid calories. Why?  I will mention a couple reasons, but I won’t dive too deep here:  Evolutionarily speaking, we never developed the ability, as sugar/caloric filled beverages are rather new on our human time line.  Second, liquid calories are absorbed too quickly for hormonal reparation.  Your hormones never have a chance to respond to the calories and tell your brain you have had enough.

What does this all mean?  The intake of liquid calories (primarily sweetened drinks) does not reduce your intake of solid food! Some studies have even shown an increase in calories consumed in solid food with sweetened beverages in your diet!  Next article I will cover how diet drinks are likely co-conspirators in the demise of health.

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