WASHINGTON - Just days after researchers warned of health risks from sugar-free diet soft drinks, scientists are sounding the alarm about regular sugary soft drinks.
Currently the formulas for Coke, Pepsi and other sugar-based drinks are unsafe, says Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
"Regular Coke or regular Pepsi is just pure junk but most people drink them," he says.
The consumer group is asking the Food and Drug Administration to order lower sugar levels in soft drinks.
A 20-ounce soda has about 16 teaspoons of sugar -- that's twice the daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association.
Jacobson's colleague, Walter Willett, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health says you'd make a better choice reaching for a diet soft drink.
"We can't say that we're absolutely certain of no harm, but they would absolutely be better off," Willett says.
That's contrary to the findings of French researchers who announced just days ago that they found a 33 percent increase in risk of Type 2 diabetes, reports French business daily Les Echos. The study was among those who drank one 12-ounce serving of artificially sweetened soft drinks a day compared to those who don't.
The study will be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Jacobsen offers some healthy alternatives for soda fans who need to kick the habit.
"There's good old tap water, there's seltzer water, regular bottled water, there are flavored waters out on the marketplace," he says.
WTOP's Dick Uliano contributed to this report.
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