2009 - 2010 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
Background: One can of Coca-Cola (12 Fl.oz.) provides 39 grams, or 9.2 teaspoons, of sugar. According to MyPyramid.gov, sugar provides "discretionary calories," which are extra calories that a body doesn't require for energy production. These carbonated beverages are heavily marketed in the fast foods industry as part of their value meals, but what affect is this having on health?
Design: Analytical survey study
Participants/Setting: 200 participants randomly chosen from the University of Kentucky and the Army Depot. Subjects consisted of 125 females and 75 males.
Results: The females were 22 ± 6.19 yrs with an average weight of 138 ± 29.7 lbs and BMI of 23.0 ± 5.6 kg/m2. The males were 24 ± 7.05 yrs with an average weight of 184 ± 39.9 lbs and BMI of 25.5 ± 6.1 kg/m2. 37.5% of the participants consumed regular carbonated beverages, 26.5% consumed calorie-free carbonated beverages, 31% did not consume carbonated beverages, and 5% consumed both regular and diet carbonated beverages. Carbonated beverages consumers drank an average of 1.5 cans a day, ate out 3 times weekly, snacked between meals 1 to 3 times weekly, and ate 2.4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Those who did not consume carbonated beverages reported eating out 2.4 times weekly, snacking between meals 1 to 3 times weekly, and consumed 3.6 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Carbonated beverages consumers exercised 1 to 2 times a week while non-carbonated beverages drinkers exercised 3 to 4 times weekly. Moreover, regular carbonated beverages consumers gained an average weight of 1.6 lbs in a year, while those who consumed calorie-free carbonated beverages lost on average 1.3 lbs.
Conclusions: There was no correlation between carbonated beverages consumption and weight gain. Those who consumed carbonated beverages eat out more often than those who do not consume carbonated beverages. They also choose to consume fewer servings of fruits and vegetables than those who do not drink carbonated beverages.