Mmm…you take a sip of your soft drink and enjoy the childish feeling of bubbles on your tongue. You swallow and follow it up with a blissful lip-smacking “ahhh.” Another sip, another swallow, another can bites the dust.
Ten minutes later 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system spiking your blood sugar and insulin levels. Then the caffeine kicks in, pupils dilate, blood pressure rises, and BAM; say hello to a sugar high and goodbye to sleep! Suddenly that little can of soda pop isn’t sounding like such a great idea after all.
We know that soft drinks aren’t good for us, but with the introduction of Diet and Zero options we’ve been turning a blind eye. As obesity becomes a rapidly increasing epidemic among adults and children alike, it’s time to face the facts.
In Canada alone, 59% of adults are considered obese. Nearly one third of Canada’s children aged 5-17 years are obese; 31.5% to be exact. Canadian adults drink down approximately 35% of their daily sugar but children are consuming nearly 85% of their sugar from beverages alone.
It’s scary to think that such a large percentage of our population is sipping their way to serious health problems. But what exactly are they at risk for if they keep this behavior up?
Kidney damage is among the top 4 health risks with soft drink consumption. Increased soda consumption reduces kidney blood filtering by nearly 30%. The high levels of phosphoric acid in cola have also been linked to the development of kidney stones and other renal problems.
Beware! If you are male, Caucasian and overweight, you are the most likely to get kidney stones. Ouch!
When you were a kid, did you ever put a penny in a cup of soda and leave it over night? By the time you woke up the next morning your penny was grossly dissolved. Now, apply this knowledge to your tooth enamel.
Citric and phosphoric acid (used to preserve the carbonation) and sugars in soft drinks eat away at your enamel. If you allow it to decay down to the nerve, root or base of the tooth it can cause an abscess to grow or worse, your tooth to die.
Got Osteoporosis? You very well could if you consume lots of pop. Your body maintains a certain level of calcium in the bloodstream in order to keep your bones strong and healthy. Phosphorus from soft drinks leeches calcium from your body when you urinate which deprives your bones of this important mineral. Ladies, think twice before popping that tab; 80% of those affected by osteoporosis are women.
If you think that a zero calorie soda won’t increase your risk of obesity, you better think twice. The high levels of fructose and artificial sweeteners found in diet sodas interfere with your metabolism by messing with your natural gut flora. What this means is, you are likely to overeat because your body is being tricked into thinking it is eating sugar, which increases your craving.
The risks don’t stop there though. Heart disease, reproductive issues, diabetes and asthma are all possible side effects from drinking soda.
Curb your Craving
For avid soda drinkers, curbing the craving can seem like a daunting task. The good news is it is more than do-able. Swap out soda and start slurping back water. Water is not only a major component of every cell in your body, but also a necessity.
*Fun fact: Fruit drinks are NOT a healthy alternative to soda. One cup of orange juice has nearly the same amount of sugar as a can of soda.
If you think water sounds boring add a few sprigs of mint to your glass. Slices of lemon, lime, oranges and cucumber are also great additions to water. If you want to get fancy, freeze raspberries in ice cubes and add to your glass.
Being aware of the unhealthy repercussions of soft drinks can help change your attitude and ultimately, your behavior. Help spread the word and let’s start saving the world from a risky sip, one less soft drink at a time!