We all know soda and diet soda aren’t exactly good for us. Pretty much in the same way that any sugar filled treat isn’t good for us right? Fatally wrong. Soda, yes, even diet soda, is one of the most harmful substances that you could possibly fill your form with, yet people still down the stuff like a dehydrated cactus lapping at a single drop of water. Even the cans that soda normally come in are incredibly harmful. The truth is that even a single gulp of soda is like a 120 mph head on collision with a brick wall for your organs. Need an extra push to kick your soda habit? Do yourself a favor and read on.
Why do People Drink Soda?
If everyone knows soda is bad for them, why do millions of people still tilt their heads back and indulge? The answer is simple: it’s easy. Soda is tasty, cheap, convenient, and EVERYWHERE! No matter where you go you’re bound to see an advertisement for some type of can or bottle of sugary satisfaction. There’s a reason advertisements exist, and it’s not for aesthetics: Advertising works!
Your brain is constantly processing every minute detail of information that your senses even remotely capture. Whether you remember it or not, all of this information is stored in your brain. If a Mountain Dew advertisement steps into your peripheral vision for even a moment it seeps into the murky depths of your mind and the next time your friend even mentions the word ‘mountain’ or ‘dew’ – BAM! Your synapses fire, a connection is made to the instantaneous glance of the Mountain Dew advertisement you saw earlier and your mouth begins to water. Why does your mouth water? Because you are addicted.
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Soda is almost entirely water, sugar and caffeine, and sugar and caffeine happen to be two of the most addictive substances on the planet, nearly equal in their biological sway to heroin and meth. Consumption of sugar and caffeine are associated with a whole slew of attractive words like ‘binge,’ ‘craving,’ and ‘withdrawal.’
But that’s okay, people can become addicted to anything, whether it be carrots, television, or sex, so what’s the big deal?
The Big Deal: Soda Vs. Diet Soda
Soda and diet soda each have their own disgusting face that the advertisements hide, but let’s start with good ol’ regular soda first.
Dr. Mercola explains what happens within an hour of drinking a soda:
Within the first 10 minutes,10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. This is 100 percent of your
recommended daily intake, and the only reason you don’t vomit as a result of the overwhelming sweetness is because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor.
Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat.
Within 40 minutes, caffeine absorption is complete; your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream.
Around 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain – a physically identical response to that of heroin, by the way.
After 60 minutes, you’ll start to have a sugar crash.
Drug goes in, pleasure comes out, then CRASH! So you drink some more. Compared to the physiological effects of a simple serving of soda, cannabis suddenly doesn’t sound so bad after all.
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The long term effects are far more startling. Let’s take a look at the specifics and scare your desire for soda back into the pit of future diabetes where it came from!
1. What makes soda so deliciously sweet is a huge serving of high fructose corn syrup, a clever name for organ-destroyer. HFCS has been linked to diabetes more than a few times. Your chances of developing type 2 diabetes is practically guaranteed with a regular intake of soda. On top of the whole diabetes fiasco, soda is absolutely useless biologically. Which brings us to our next point.
2. Soda is useless. There are absolutely no nutritionally beneficial components to soda, with the exception of a measly 4mg of potassium. Soda excels in one area: expanding your waistline.
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4. Due to a lack of calcium in the diets of people who habitually consume soda, osteoporosis is a serious risk associated with soda consumption. Even minor soda consumption can lead to bone loss as the large amounts of phosphoric acid found in soda hinders the body’s ability to effectively use calcium.
5. If Mountain Dew can dissolve a rat think about what it does to your body, especially the enamel of your teeth. Soda is about as good for your enamel as staring directly at the midday sun is good for your eyesight. It is even worse for your teeth and causes more tooth decay than traditional hard candy. Sure, soda is cheap, but when’s the last time you only spent a few dollars at the dentist?
6. Drinking soda leads to kidney disease. All it takes is 2 servings of soda a day and you are automatically added to the long line of people more than likely to be diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Soda also dramatically increases the rate of formation of kidney stones. It doesn’t take much either. Just a slight amount of soda consumption is a sure path leading to pain worse than child labor. As a person who has passed a kidney stone before, listen to me and not your tongue; the soda isn’t worth it!
7. Consumption of soda leads to harmful effects on the liver similar to the effects that alcohol has on the liver. When it comes to the liver, soda junkies are no better than alcoholics.
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8. An additive in soda called sodium benzoate causes irreparable cell and DNA damage, leading to accelerated aging and age related diseases.
9. Finally, there is a high addiction potential when it comes to soda. As stated above, caffeine and sugar are insanely addictive. Many researchers are suggesting that sugar to be as controlled as alcohol and tobacco due to its harmful effects on the body and incredibly addictive nature.
At this point you might be thinking “I’m no fool, I dropped soda years back and replaced it with diet soda, the healthy alternative to all my sugary-sweet woes.” Think again, diet soda is even worse.
A lot of what you read about soda still applies to diet soda. A common misconception is that diet soda is better for you than regular soda due to being calorie free as it does not contain high fructose corn syrup. Allow me to explain to you how diet soda is even worse!
1. Although diet soda doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup, it does contain artificial sweeteners so that your tongue can still get excited. The most common artificial sweetener used is aspartame, which is closer to a toxin than anything else. People from all over the world have reported adverse reactions to aspartame and double blind studies verify the results. The toxicological dangers of aspartame are well documented and the general rule of thumb that you will hear from medical professionals regarding the substance is to treat aspartame like a desperate Louis Vuitton wielding female and, “stay far, far away!”
2. Just like regular soda, diet soda is nutritionally useless, containing carbonated water, caramel color (depending on the soda), aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium citrate, natural flavors, citric acid, and caffeine. There is no conceivable benefit to consuming soda or diet soda besides the fraction of a second pleasure your tongue devilishly persuades your brain is worth the well documented risks.
3. Diet sodas actually make it even MORE likely than regular sodas that you will become obese. There are multiple theories for why this occurs, but the most likely reason is the cravings that diet soda leaves us with.
How could a zero-calorie drink raise your risk of obesity? Researchers have a few theories. Some people may feel that drinking diet soda gives them a “free pass” to eat more foods that may not be so low in calories, thereby leading to weight gain. Another theory posits that the sweet taste of diet pop alerts our digestive system that high-calorie foods are coming. When they don’t, our bodies are confused and our appetite increases in anticipation of the food it’s expecting.
4. Keep in mind that diet soda still contains phosphoric acid so the risk of bone loss is still ever present for diet soda drinkers.
5. Although the pH level (acidity) of diet soda is not as strong as regular soda, it is still extremely acidic, and leads to enamel loss in the same way that soda does.
6. Remember the kidney problems that were associated with regular sodas? Same applies to diet sodas. Sorry ladies and gentleman, diet soda is not going to fix the kidney stone problem.
7. If you’re fond of dark sodas, I have bad news for you. Researchers have found that the seemingly harmless caramel coloring found in dark sodas may lead to an increase risk of multiple forms of cancer.
8. Diet sodas even more commonly contain that wretched chemical sodium benzoate. Again, sodium benzoate causes irreparable cell and DNA damage, leading to accelerated aging and age related diseases. If you’re part of the YOLO fad, maybe soda is for you, otherwise, stop burning your wick at both ends, put down the soda, and ‘live long and prosper.’
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9. To sum up, diet soda involves all the same risks as soda, and is also associated with a higher risk of obesity, greater toxicity due to aspartame, and even greater DNA damage.
So what should you drink?
Water, tea, and every so often 100% fruit juice, but not too much as fruit juice contains a hefty amount of sugars, even if they are natural. Seem like a boring list? Well guess what? Doing a crossword puzzle in the comfort of your home might be boring but it beats dying of cancer as an obese diabetic 50 year old on a semi-sterile hospital bed.
Besides, tea is a world of variation regarding taste and physical effect. I guarantee there are at minimum 100 diferent types of tea out there that you will discover and fall eternally in love with, if only you make a conscious effort and kick the soda habit. One of my favorite brands of tea is Yogi.
Make no mistake, soda is an addictive drug, and it will take time to wean yourself off of it. Once you do though, you will wonder how you ever stomached the horrid junk in the first place.