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Four Area Hospitals Ban Sugary Drinks

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A bottle of Coca-Cola, left, and Dr. Pepper are displayed in Palo Alto, Calif., Monday, Sept. 27, 2010. (Credit: AP)

A bottle of Coca-Cola, left, and Dr. Pepper are displayed in Palo Alto, Calif., Monday, Sept. 27, 2010. (Credit: AP)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Do you know just one sugary drink a day can make you fat? Medical experts say they’re the biggest culprit when it comes to obesity.

CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez has details on a first-of-its-kind medical conference, right here in Chicago.

The idea of Wednesday’s symposium was to find ways to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks.

Vanguard Health Systems – which operates MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn and three other Chicago area hospitals – went so far as to announce a total ban on soda and other sugary drinks at all four of their Chicago area sites.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody Reports

Coffee drinks, sodas, sports drinks, and fruit juices are all loaded with sugar. Doctors gathered in Chicago on Wednesday said, if we’re serious about fighting obesity, we need to start there.

“There’s really no reason for so much sugary beverages to be present in our diets, especially for children,” said pediatrician Dr. David Ludwig. “They have no redeeming nutritional qualities.”

Ludwig also said the average soda or fruit juice has eight to ten teaspoons of sugar. That’s a lot of sugar.

One study found 46% of the added sugar in our diets comes from soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, and sugar-sweetened fruit drinks.

Drink just one of those each day, and adults increase their likelihood of being obese by 27%. But it’s a whopping 60% increase for kids who drink sugary beverages every day.

The health risks don’t end there.

“Heart disease, diabetes, tooth decay,” Ludwig said.

But people love to drink them, and have a tough time trying to stop.

If you’re a regular soda drinker and you drink a few sodas a day, Ludwig said there’s good news.

“This habit is one of the easiest to give up, allowing them to learn how to stop binge eating as well,” he said.

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