Some people admit to drinking more soda than water each day, or no water at all. Soft drinks are a multi-billion dollar product, and they account for a quarter of all drinks consumed in the United States.
With people consuming this large amount of soft drinks each year, it becomes important to evaluate how soft drinks can influence a person’s health. With a little research, it becomes clear that even moderate consumption of soda can be dangerous.
- The Sugar – A single can of soda contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar. This amount of sugar, especially in liquid form, skyrockets the blood sugar and causes an insulin reaction in the body. Over time, this can lead to diabetes or insulin resistance, not to mention weight gain and other health problems.
- Phosphoric Acid -Soda contains phosphoric acid, which interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to osteoporosis, cavities and bone softening. Phosphoric Acid also interacts with stomach acid, slowing digestion and blocking nutrient absorption.
- Artificial Sweeteners– In diet sodas, aspartame is used as a substitute for sugar, and can actually be more harmful. It has been linked to almost a hundred different health problems including seizures, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, diabetes, and emotional disorders. It converts to methanol at warm temperatures and methanol breaks down to formaldehyde and formic acid. Diet sodas also increase the risk of metabolic syndrome, which causes belly fat, high blood sugar and raised cholesterol.
- Caffeine– Most sodas contain caffeine, which has been linked to certain cancers, breast lumps, irregular heart beat, high blood pressure, and other problems.
- The Water– The water used in soda is just simple tap water and can contain chemicals like chlorine, fluoride and traces of heavy metals.
- Obesity– Harvard researchers have recently positively linked soft drinks to obesity. The study found that 12 year olds who drank soda were more likely to be obese than those who didn’t, and for each serving of soda consumed daily, the risk of obesity increased 1.6 times.
- Extra Fructose– Sodas contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, which obviously comes from corn. Most of this corn has been genetically modified, and there are no long term studies showing the safety of genetically modified crops, as genetic modification of crops has only been around since the 1990s. Also, the process of making High Fructose Corn Syrup involves traces of mercury, which causes a variety of long term health problems.
- Lack of Nutrients– There is absolutely no nutritional value in soda whatsoever. Not only are there many harmful effects of soda, but there are not even any positive benefits to outweigh them. Soda is an unnatural substance that harms the body.
- Dehydration– Because of the high sugar, sodium and caffeine content in soda, it dehydrates the body and over a long period of time can cause chronic dehydration.
- Bad for the teeth– Drinking soda regularly causes plaque to build up on the teeth and can lead to cavities and gum disease.
Healthy Alternatives to Soda
I’ve heard that it can be really difficult for those who consume soda daily to just stop drinking it. This actually makes sense when you think about how soda affects the body and creates positive feedback loops thanks to its sugar content.
If you’re a soda drinker and are looking for some healthy alternatives, here are a few suggestions:
- Club soda flavored with a squeeze of fresh fruit juice or some fresh ginger root
- Homemade water kefir– this has the same fizz and sweetness but with a boost of probiotics!
- Kombucha– Like kefir, you can make this at home and it is naturally fizzy and packed with vitamins
Soda may taste good and it certainly seem to have some addictive properties (ask any self-proclaimed Diet Coke addict!) but the bottom line is that soda isn’t healthy in any amount and there is absolutely no reason or justification for consuming it.
Sure, some will argue that anything in moderation is ok, and in most cases, I’d agree. When it comes to soda, the amount of sugar and additives is so high that I don’t think “moderation” even exists, and it certainly doesn’t exist in the 20 ounce or larger bottles that are so common.
We are talking about a substance that is often consumed in place of water (which most of us don’t drink enough of), contains no nutrients or beneficial properties whatsoever, and is packed with sugar and artificial additives that make it harmful.