The Effects of Soda On Our Bodies
Updated: Mar 2
Considering that type 2 diabetes kills thousands of people each year and can be linked to consuming soft drinks people still drink them more often than they would care to admit. Cocoa-Cola products are consumed at a rate of more than 1.9 billion drinks per day! That doesn’t even count other soft drink brands like Pepsico. Even though people know it’s unhealthy they still consume them, many on a daily basis, mainly because they are addicted to them.
A Gallup poll recently revealed that fifty percent of Americans not only drink soda daily but have two and a half glasses per day. Worldwide statistics tell us that Mexicans drink the most soft drinks than any other country. They consume thirty-six gallons per person a year. Type 2 diabetes kills over seventy thousand a year and it’s expected to be higher if you look at the heart attacks, strokes, and cancers that stem from diabetes and soft drink consumption.
Unlike many foreign countries, in the United States, soft drinks are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. This is a more dangerous type of sweetener, much worse than sucrose which is used in other countries. You should know that any type of sweetener consumed in large amounts is hazardous to the body, but high fructose syrup is much more dangerous. It is taxing on our liver and blood sugar levels. Have you ever wondered what exactly these types of drinks do to our bodies?
In the first few minutes just 10-12 teaspoons of sugar hit your system much more quickly in liquid form. It’s the phosphoric acid, carbonation, and other flavors that mute the super sweet taste preventing you from vomiting.
Within fifteen to twenty minutes your blood sugar spikes to such high levels that it causes an insulin reaction. Now your liver quickly jumps to action trying to save you from all that sugar in your bloodstream by turning it into fat cells, especially when it comes from high fructose corn syrup. Then your body tries to store all the fat and it circulates throughout your bloodstream. The fat in your bloodstream causes you to have high triglycerides which is caused by too much sugar and refined carbohydrates in your diet. All that fat gets stored on the body, or in the liver, which is the primary cause of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Not to mention the primary cause of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and many cancers.
A half-hour later your body begins to absorb all the caffeine in the soda. Your pupils dilate, your heart rate increases, you feel energized due to your blood pressure rising, and your liver responds to the caffeine by dumping more sugar into your bloodstream. Now your insulin goes back up and you become hungry and the sugar gets stored as more fat.
In forty-five minutes, dopamine is released. This stimulates the pleasure center of the brain similar to how heroin does and is equally addictive. An hour after drinking the soft drink, the phosphoric acid in the soda binds onto your usable calcium, magnesium, and zinc in your digestive system. Now you are feeling the diuretic effect of the caffeine and liquid making you need to urinate. All those valued minerals are getting dumped as they attach to the phosphoric acid in the form of urine. So now if you had that soda to quench your thirst you will become thirstier and more dehydrated as you end up urinating more than you drank in the first place.
An hour after that soda with the caffeine and sugar wear off you will start crashing. The large sugar and insulin spike will leave you hungrier, thirstier, tired, irritable, and sluggish. Since the soda has all those addicting ingredients in it you will crave another one. Sound familiar to an addict? Even if you are able to control yourself to just one soft drink a day you will create horrible consequences to your health.
Now let’s discuss what happens to your brain. A 2002 UCLA study found that consuming excess sugar makes you dumber. BDNF “brain-derived neurotrophic factor” is a chemical in the brain that makes it tougher for you to remember things and even harder to learn new things. A study from the University of Copenhagen links low BDNF levels to depression and dementia. They are also connected to insulin resistance which brings on diabetes and makes you higher at risk for Alzheimer’s Disease.
According to a 2010 study from the University of Minnesota, chronic sugar consumption dulls the brain’s mechanism for knowing when to stop eating and making you more susceptible to obesity and weight gain.
A 2012 Harvard study found that one can of soda a day increases heart disease by twenty percent. This risk can also be associated with an increased risk of high blood sugar and diabetes and stroke.
The University of Miami found that those with a daily soda habit increased their risk of a “cardiovascular event” by sixty-one percent when compared to those who drank no soda and even with factors such as smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption and diet were controlled.
Even cancer in the gallbladder and bile ducts around the liver is a high risk that can develop from consuming these high sugar beverages. It really isn’t that surprising since many cancers feed on sugar. Even pancreatic cancer has been linked to drinking one or two soft drinks a day. It increases your risk by eighty-seven percent and that comes from researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. You can find that study in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. One of the biggest causes of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.
You would never guess that drinking soft drinks would cause lung issues but it does. A study by the University of Adelaide found that consuming too much soda increases your risk for asthma or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder).
It’s common knowledge that sugar leads to tooth decay but the acid in the soda is much worse. The damage to the enamel has been compared to drinking battery acid. In 2006, a study by the Academy of General Dentistry journal found that drinking soda was just as harmful to your teeth as drinking battery acid and the damage is comparable to what a meth user’s teeth suffer. The citric acid and phosphoric acid corrode the enamel right alongside the sugar. They also cause the formation of cavities and leads to tooth loss.
Remember when I mentioned that phosphoric acid binds to the calcium, magnesium, and zinc which are all vital for bone and teeth health? It pulls those minerals out of the body so not only do we erode our tooth enamel and the structure of our teeth but also our bones causing tooth decay and osteoporosis.
The best way to get rid of such an unhealthy habit is to quit cold turkey. Whatever you do don’t switch to artificially sweetened beverages because these are even worse than sugar-sweetened beverages. Diet soda causes weight gain as well as dangerous health consequences.
Don’t worry, I am not going to suggest you leave these beverages alone without giving you better alternatives. Kombucha is a fizzy, tangy substitute that will thirst your quench and has great health benefits. Benefits like fighting cancer qualities, low sugar, probiotics, antioxidants and much more. There are so many flavors to choose from and some that taste like soda but without all the harmful sugar or chemicals.
You can also try herbal teas hot or cold with stevia, or by adding fruit to a pitcher of spring water. You have a bit of flavor to the water without added sugar or calories. If you like the bubbles and fizz add it to sparkling spring water. Sparkling mineral water will also add electrolytes and minerals to your much healthier beverage.
So, the key point is there is no safe moderation in drinking any kind of soft drink. Stop immediately and find a healthier alternative and your body will thank you for it in the long run.
To read more about this topic check out the references below.
bit.ly/29ISzJV JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, online June 8, 2016.