We Americans weigh on average 30lbs more than we did 30 years ago. Our fat intake has actually went down over the years as obesity has risen. Since Calories in > Calories out = weight gain, the extra calories must be coming from our carbohydrate consumption. Many will tell you that sugar(fructose) is the main culprit. Most of the fad diets (atkins, japanese, etc) cut out fructose.
1 can of soda contains 150 calories x 365 days/yr x 3500 cal/lb(3500 unspent calories is 1 lb weight gain) =15.6 lbs a year!
So drinking a can of soda per day without burning off those extra calories will make you gain over 15 pounds in a year. And that's only the can, drink just one bottle of soda a day and it's good for 26 lbs of fat in a year.
What happens when you take away the soft drinks? Well in england they did a study where they removed the soda machines from some schools, while leaving the soda machines in other schools.
UCFS Center of Pediatrics Professor goes as far as to call fructose a poison in the amounts we consume.
The video is long but good if you're interested and have a free hour and a half. I'm basically giving you my cliff notes version. There's a lot of biochem in this video.
*warning-if you watch this you will probably hate yourself if you ever drink soda again!*
Lots of low-fat processed foods are pumped with sugar because low-fat processed food tastes terrible. So adding tons of sugar makes these foods palatable, and they can put low or no-fat on the label, yet they are terrible for weight loss or a healthy diet. All the sugar we eat is mostly converted to fat in our bodies, so a "low-fat" diet that is high in sugar is actually a high fat diet. Fructose IS a carbohydrate, but it is metabolized like fat
Here is what they do at UCFS to help the overweight kids lose weight and it works:
Do you drink a lot of soda or fruit juices? Do you think it's a form of child abuse or neglect to let our kids get obese?