A Scary Warning About Soda Pop

Soda drinkers, beware! Consume too many fizzy drinks and it could raise your risk of esophageal cancer, which is usually fatal.

A research team from Tata Memorial Hospital in India found a strong relationship between the rise in per capita consumption of carbonated soft drinks in the past 50 years and a documented increase in rates of esophageal cancer in the United States, reports Reuters.

Since 1946, consumption of carbonated beverages in the United States has risen a staggering 450 percent from 10.8 gallons per person each year to 49.2 gallons for each person by 2000. It may not be a coincidence that over the past 25 years, the rate of esophageal cancer has increased by more than 570 percent in white American men--and killed almost all who were afflicted with it.

The Indian researchers think this isn't a coincidence, citing a biological basis for the increase in esophageal cancer cases. Soft drinks cause the stomach to distend, which in turn causes the gastric reflux associated with esophageal cancer, reports Reuters.

The United States is not alone. Similar trends were found worldwide. Other countries with a per capita annual consumption of at least 20 gallons of soft drinks also had a rise in the rate of esophageal cancer. "The surprisingly strong correlation demonstrates the impact of diet patterns on health trends," study leader Dr. Mohandas Mallath said in a prepared statement.

Here's another reason to pay attention to how much soda you drink. It's what you drink--and not what you eat--that packs on the pounds. That's the surprising news from researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health in Chapel Hill who determined that, on average, we're consuming 83 more calories a day from caloric sweeteners than we did in 1977. And 80 percent of that--66 calories--comes from soft drinks and sugary fruit drinks, reports HealthDayNews.

If you think 83 additional calories a day isn't that much, think again. If you were to consume an additional 10 calories a day, in one year you would have gained a pound.

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