In today’s world American’s have been criticized for the huge increase in obesity in children and adults, some calling it an epidemic. Nearly 2/3rd of all adults and 1/3rd of children are overweight and continuing on to obesity which will lead to many negative health consequences in their life. Do you care about your overall general health and what you put in your body? Well then you should listen to me as I explain why drinking soda is detrimental to your health and provides no nutritional benefit.
Each year more than 15 billion gallons of liquid candy are purchased by Americans. Based on that fact alone, that works out to mean every single man, woman, and child are drinking at least one 12 ounce can of soda per day. That would mean the average American consumes around 35 gallons of soda per year. Teenage boys and girls consume more soda than anyone. Current research shows that over 50% of a US child’s daily calories are supplied by the soda and sweetened juices they drink. Every 12 ounce can of soda you consume is the equivalent of taking 10 teaspoons of sugar and pouring it down your mouth, the only difference being it’s not liquid. Does that sound like something you would want to do? Soda has been scientifically linked to obesity, tooth decay, bone weakening, and caffeine dependence. As you can see, this is a major problem for the health of the American general public.
Americans are consuming more than twice as much soda as they did 25 years ago, spending around $55 billion dollars each year for soda. The problem with soda is it contains empty calories, lots of sugar and caffeine with no significant nutritional value. People who consume these beverages replace healthier substitutes that contain vitamins and other nutrients that the body needs. A recent study in 2002 of children ages 7 to 11 have shown a link between soda and obesity. In Christchurch, England, investigators studied 644 children in schools and setup a program to discourage use of soda and stress the benefits of a healthy diet. Half of the students being studied participated in this program, while the other half did not. Not surprisingly, at the end of the year-long study, the percentage of overweight and obese children who did not participate in the educational program jumped by 7.5%, while the kids in the program showed a slight decrease in obesity.
Not only do these empty calories add unnecessary weight to your body, they also can cause you to have cavities and weaken your bones. People who consume 3 or more cans of soda daily have 62% more dental decay, fillings, and tooth loss. It’s not just the sugar that’s bad for your teeth, but the acids included in many soft drinks that eat away the enamel of your teeth in just 20 minutes. The pH balance in our mouth is normally around 6.2 to 7, slightly more acidic than water. At a pH of 5.2 to 5.5 or below, the acid begins to dissolve the hard enamel of our teeth. Nearly all sodas have a pH ranging from 2.5 to 4.5, Pepsi being the most acidic of them all. Diet Soda does not contribute to cavities, but is still acidic and still has the potential to contribute to enamel decay. Saliva in your mouth helps neutralize acids and wash your teeth clean, so the worst time to drink soda, ironically, is when you are very thirsty or dehydrated due to low levels of saliva.
Drinking soda can also lower your bone density, which makes your bones weaker. A very common ingredient in all sodas is phosphorous. Animal studies demonstrate that phosphorous can deplete the bones of calcium. People who tend to choose soft drinks instead of milk or natural fruit juices are more likely to have lower calcium intake. Low calcium intake and levels contribute to osteoporosis, a disease leading to fragile and broken bones. Calcium intake is very important in your younger years, especially for girls. Girls build 92% of their bone mass around age 18, and if they do not consume enough calcium in their younger years they cannot catch up. A Harvard study of bone fractures in teenage athletes found a strong correlation between soda consumption and bone fractures in 14 year old girls. The girls who drank soda were about five times more likely to suffer bone fractures than girls who did not drink soda.
So you must be thinking, well I will just drink diet soda to avoid these empty calories and negative side effects. Unfortunately, diet soda is not very healthy for you either. Diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners, such as Aspartame or NutraSweet. Aspartame itself is not very sweet, but it is a drug that stimulates your brain into thinking the food you are eating tastes sweet. This also causes your body to crave carbohydrates, defeating the purpose of the “diet” soda. Aspartame breaks down to its poisonous chemicals at 86 degrees. Keep in mind your stomach is 98.6 degrees, well above the level needed for this reaction to occur. The breakdown products of Aspartame attack bodily tissues and create Formaldehyde which builds up in the tissue forever. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, can cause retinal damage, interfere with DNA replication, and causes birth defects. The breakdown chemicals of Aspartame are also proven to cause brain tumors in animals. Diet sodas have also been the cause of migraine headaches for many Americans,
Fortunately for you, the solution to all of the problems I mentioned can be easily solved. The solution is simple, don’t drink soda! If you routinely drink soda, eliminating it from your diet is one of the simplest and most profound health improvements you can make. Instead of drinking soda, drink some water, or some milk, drink some fruit punch, or orange juice, or apple juice, or grape juice…the list goes on. All of these alternatives have vitamins and nutrients that your body can utilize. Every second that passes by is another opportunity to change your lifestyle and eliminate soda and other unhealthy foods you choose to put in your body. The change might seem difficult at first for some, so setting small goals in steps is a much easier way to accomplish your task. If you do drink a lot of soda, start off slow by limiting your soda intake to one can per day. Gradually overtime you could limit yourself to weekends only, and then maybe further on limit yourself to special occasions such as going out to dinner, or seeing a movie. Soon you will realize that you have no desire to drink soda at all. Your body will feel much healthier and if it could, it would thank you for the intelligent decision you have made to not drink soda!