Nutrition 101: The Truth About Soft Drinks

Refreshing Ice Cold Soda PopDo you remember Coke’s ad campaign “Coke in the morning” from many many years ago? I’m certainly dating myself by saying this, but I was in high school when that campaign was running. And I was their target audience. I would be getting ready for school while that commercial cycled over and over and over. And sure enough on my way to school I got a Coke. I loved soda back in the day. My Dad would let us have soda, but we had to drink a big 32-ounce cup of water first. Didn’t matter how much water we drank before that point. By the time I finished that cup and my dinner drinking soda was the last thing on my mind. Besides I knew I could get one on my way to school and at school. As I started to learn more about what goes into making those fizzy drinks my addiction to them slowly fell away.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is famous for many things but perhaps infamous for his ban on soft drinks. Coke and Pepsi, along with other major soft drink makers, have been taking it on the chin for their contribution to the obesity crisis in this country. Fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s have not avoided scrutiny for their rather large servings of pop. What’s the big deal? It’s just sugar water, right? Yes and some other things. Let’s explore some truths about these drinks:

  • Soft drinks contribute to obesity due to their sugar content – it’s right on the label. On average there are 33 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce can of pop. That is the equivalent of 8 1/4 teaspoons of sugar. If you walked into your kitchen and scooped out 8 teaspoons of sugar that’s what’s going into your body.
  • Consuming sugary drinks ups the chance of type II diabetes by 26% – direct sugar consumption is one of the highest contributors to developing type II diabetes. A 2010 study published in Diabetes Journal found that just one to two drinks a day ups the chances of developing this deadly [preventable] condition.
  • Soda can be used as a cleaning agent – I’ve heard people who work on cars say they use soft drinks to clean the corrosion off of car batteries. If you search on the internet you can find all manner of cleaning tips using Soda, including cleaning your toilet. Now there are all sorts of things we consume that are also good cleaning agents that aren’t bad for us like lemons. What makes pop such a good cleaning agent is the phosphoric acid. This chemical has potentially been linked to osteoporosis, kidney disease and erosion of tooth enamel.
  • Diet soda may be making you sick or worse – it may not contain sugar, but it does contain aspartame which has been identified as a possible contributor to conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Also, the brain doesn’t distinguish between artificial sugar and real sugar. Once the brain senses something sweet the same processes are triggered as if it were real sugar. I’ll get into artificial sweetners in more detail in a later post, but it’s important to know now that the FDA recognizes aspartame poisoning as a legitimate threat to health as shown in this very dry, but informative document posted on the FDA’s website. It says right in the document aspartame poisoning can often be misdiagnosed as epilepsy, brain tumors, Parkinson’s, the list is long. This information has been out there since the mid 90’s.
  • High fructose corn syrup has the same effect as sugar – you may have seen commercials lately laying out the benefits of high fructose corn syrup. Again, I’ll get into this in more detail in a later post, but this is simply sugar in another form. It’s not better for you and it still mimics the effects of sugar on your body and in your brain.

An occasional soda isn’t harmful. Again, it’s all about moderation. If you’re drinking cans a day you should consider this information and break the habit. I used to loooove, pop. Every now and again, I enjoy one. After you break the habit it really doesn’t taste the same. It tastes like dirty water. Also, it’s better just to have the real thing…the sugar that is.

Real Talk | Real Things | Real Results


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