LAURENTINE TEN BOSCH, FILMMAKER (FOOD MATTERS AND HUNGRY FOR CHANGE)
Despite public health campaigns spreading the anti-sugar message, soda is still a favored drink of our nation. The average US citizen guzzles an average of 57 gallons per year, with no sign that soda’s going out of fashion!
In fact, a whopping 16% of calories in the American diet come from refined sugars. Yet over half of those refined sugar calories aren’t actually coming from food. We’re drinking these calories in the form of soda!
Most of us know that drinking soda pumps our body full of sugar and artificial additives. Yet once you’ve taken that sip of sweetness, do you know what soda is really doing to your body?
Soft drink bottles and cans are made from cheap materials that leach toxins into your bloodstream. These toxins hitch a ride through your blood vessels and are thus able to infiltrate major organs, the brain, and body tissues.
This can impact the health of your reproductive system. In particular, bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that is used in the manufacture of plastic bottles, has been linked to hormonal issues, lower fertility and an increased risk of miscarriages.
Furthermore, some evidence suggests that a low glycemic index may improve fertility. Therefore, steering clear of high GI products such as soda may also help if you’re trying to conceive.
With 92% of adults estimated to have some form of tooth decay, dental health is a widespread issue in America. While many factors contribute to dental caries, soda consumption has several side effects on the health of our teeth.
The acid within soda literally dissolves tooth enamel. The pH of our mouth is designed to protect the coating around our teeth, and is sensitive to prolonged, artificial changes in acidity (ie a daily dose of acidic soda!).
The sugar content of soda further encourages dental decay. Sugar is like fast food to the bacteria in our mouth that cause tooth decay, and promotes bacterial growth and activity.
Toxic Water Sources
Most soda companies use regular old tap water to produce their product. This water may contain added fluoride, chlorine and traces of toxic heavy metals, such as lead.
Metabolic Mayhem & Tissue Issues
Just about every ingredient in a can of soda has the potential to disrupt metabolic activity in your body:
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) – HFCS has been associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, which can ultimately lead to extra abdominal fat, diabetes and heart disease.
Higher Risk of Obesity – Research has shown that each extra daily can of soda increases your risk of obesity by 1.6 times.
Kidney Chaos – Many soda drinks are high in phosphoric acid, which has been associated with renal issues and kidney stones.
Asthma – Soda drinks often contain a preservative called sodium benzoate, which is added to prevent bacterial growth and food spoilage. While it may keep away microbes, sodium benzoate has been linked with asthma.
Brittle Bones – The phosphoric acid in soda breaks down bone, leading to an increased urinary output of calcium. Over time, this can lead to a weakening of bones and even osteoporosis.
Compromised Heart Health – Soda can increase your risk of heart disease through several disrupted metabolic pathways. A high sugar intake makes the liver produce more triglycerides, which increases risk of heart attack. A daily soda has also been shown to increase cholesterol by 11%.
Furthermore, many soda drinks contain caffeine, which can increase blood pressure and put strain on the heart. In fact, some research indicates that males who drink a daily soda experienced a 20% increased risk of having a heart attack. Other research has shown that the combined increased risk for heart attack and stroke from a daily soda may be as high as 48%.
Carcinogenic Compounds – The artificial colors used to make cola brown (2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole) have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
Rollercoaster Blood Sugar Levels! (And diabetes.) – When we drink a can of soda, our body gets a big hit of sugar (approximately ten teaspoons, in fact). As our blood sugar levels surge, our pancreas gets the message to send out a big dose of insulin, which acts to bring our blood sugar levels down again.
This dose of insulin also signals our liver to start turning sugar into fat, so that our body can store all the excess energy to use later on. Within an hour, this insulin spike has diverted the sugar in our blood so that blood sugar levels drop right off. This can make us feel tired and grumpy, and drives your appetite so that you want another can of soda for a sugar hit.
With soda companies pouring over 3 billion dollars every year into marketing schemes, it’s up to us to find out what’s really in that sugary can they are trying to sell us, and what soda really does to our health!