Photo: Julep67, Flickr
Will there come a time when buying a case of soda will inspire the same nagging sense of guilt that skulking into your local c-store for a pack of cigarettes causes today?
It may sounds farfetched, but a strangely familiar script seems to be playing itself out as a multibillion-dollar American industry (soda makers) finds itself put on the defensive by a barrage of disquieting health news.
The latest story? As NPR reports, a new study conducted by researchers in Britain finds that drinking more than one soda or other sugar-sweetened beverage per day increases your blood pressure, and the more you drink, the higher it goes.
Scientists at the Imperial College in London examined the diets of nearly 2,700 people in both the U.S. and Britain. Not only did they find that increased soda consumption caused higher blood pressure, but people who drank more soda consumed nearly 400 calories more per day than those who didn't, yet their diets were more likely to lack important nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and calcium.
This comes after a public advocacy group petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month to ban the use of the caramel coloring added to many colas, saying that the additives have been shown to cause cancer in lab animals and may be responsible for thousands of cancers in the U.S.
The American Beverage Association, which represents soda makers, called the cancer claims a "scare tactic," while it responded to the new British study by saying: "Regrettably, this study does nothing more than distract the public from widely accepted and clinically proven approaches to lowering the risk for hypertension and heart disease."
It seems like health experts may be moving ever closer toward "clinically proving" a link between drinking too much soda and a number of health concerns, though. If and when that happens, we might just see those cute, Christmastime Coca-Cola polar bears go the way of Joe Camel.