Once upon a time, a 12-ounce serving of soda was considered enough. Now, as Nestle notes, even the "small" soda at the movie theater is pretty darn big.
"People are not getting 20-ounce sodas, they're getting 40-ounce sodas that can have the same amount of calories as a meal," agreed Dudash, author of the upcoming book "Clean Eating for Busy Families." It's important, she added, to "prioritize" those calories to focus on good-for-you foods and drinks that provide nutrients, fiber, protein, vitamins.
Papa Bear's travails vividly connect soda drinking to being overweight to eventually getting diabetes. The film cites a 2010 article in the journal Diabetes Care, which reported drinking one or two sugary drinks a day can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 25 percent.
The other concern, Giancoli said, is heart disease. Metabolic syndrome, a precursor to heart disease, is a "cluster" of symptoms -- obesity, high blood sugar, hypertension, high triglycerides and low levels of so-called "good" cholesterol -- that can, if not caught in time, lead to both cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in people who don't have diabetes already.
Phosphoric acid gives soda that "zippy taste," Dudash said. But that acid can also be corrosive to the protective enamel found on your teeth; decay results.
There are other foods and ingredients, like citrus and citric acid, that can also be hard on the tooth enamel, but Dudash said at least these items offer something in return the body needs, be it fiber, vitamin C or folic acid.
"Soft drinks of any kind do not belong in young children's diets," declared Tina Ruggiero, a registered dietitian in Tierra Verde, Fla. Growing bodies and minds need lots of nutrients, she said, adding, "There's no room for that junk."
At most, Ruggiero said soft drinks could be an "occasional treat" for children ages 8 to 10. But, she said, it's best not to have soft drinks around at all.
Studies are mixed; some say these drinks may help with weight loss while others claim they can increase the possibility of stroke and metabolic syndrome. Ruggiero said men who drink diet sodas might be more at risk for cardiovascular disease.
"That doesn't mean one diet soda a day will lead to a heart attack, but there's some sort of connection," she said.