While statistics show that the number of people consuming soda is gradually declining, many people are still drinking this popular beverage every day.
But here’s the thing: Sodas have been linked to a number of health risks, and it goes beyond hurting your teeth and waistline.
Several studies reveal that regular consumption of sugary drinks such as sodas can lead to health problems such as diabetes, obesity, asthma, COPD, and even heart disease.
So, if you’re looking to lead a healthier lifestyle and reduce your risk of acquiring these diseases, read on. Discover the health risks posed by sodas that will convince you to nix them from your diet.
What is Soda?
Sodas or soft drinks are made by mixing carbonated water, sweeteners like sugar or high-fructose syrup, and natural or artificial flavor enhancers.
They come in different containers including glass bottles, cans, and plastic bottles. They can be purchased from convenience stores and supermarkets, movie houses, fast food chains and restaurants, and vendor machines.
Globally, soda consumption varies. According to World Atlas, the three countries that have the highest levels of soda consumption as of 2014 were Argentina with 155 liters per capita, the United States with 154 liters per capita, and Chile with 141 liters per capita.
Why is Soda Bad for Your Health?
It’s relieving to know that figures have dropped when it comes to soda consumption. However, certain groups including the blacks, Hispanics, and adolescents can’t put down the pop just yet.
These groups and other soda lovers aren’t likely to kick the habit until they know how soda intake influences their health. So, we’ve rounded up the top reasons why you should give up these sugary carbonated drinks:
It makes you gain weight
Soda isn’t for anyone who has weight loss goals. An equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar is what makes up a can of soft drink. Several studies found an association between soda intake and weight gain.
In one study, it was revealed that those who consumed sugary drinks increased their caloric intake by 17 percent. Separate research found that sugary drinks like soda increased the risk of obesity, especially among overweight children.
It is dehydrating
While sodas can quench the thirst for a while, they aren’t the ideal drink for hydration. Here’s the thing: Soft drinks taste refreshing but it actually dehydrates your body.
Aside from excessive sugar, sodas also contain sodium, and caffeine, which may cause chronic dehydration when consumed over a long period of time. So, if you’re thirsty, chug a glass of water instead.
It increases your risk of diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that affects millions of people around the world. People with elevated blood sugar levels are usually the ones at a higher risk for this health condition.
The excessive amounts of sugar contained in soft drinks cause your blood sugar to spike and lead to insulin resistance, which is a known driver for type 2 diabetes.
Science provides evidence that consumption of sugary drinks like sodas increases one’s risk of acquiring metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
One study found that women who consumed higher amounts of sugar-sweetened beverage had increased risk of weight gain and type 2 diabetes. The study points to excessive calories and sugar as the possible culprits.
It doesn’t contain essential nutrients
Unlike more natural beverages like homemade juices and smoothies, sodas lack essential nutrients. They don’t contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. All they give you are excessive amounts of sugar and unnecessary calories.
It increases your risk of heart disease
Sugary beverages have also been linked to several factors that increase the risk of heart disease. In one study, it was discovered that excessive sugar intake skyrockets bad cholesterol levels and triglycerides.
A separate study involving over 40,000 men found that those who drank sugar-sweetened beverages like sodas had a 20 percent higher risk of acquiring coronary heart disease (CHD) than those who rarely consumed sugary drinks.
It also increases your cancer risk
Sugary drinks are also associated with increased cancer risk. One study conducted on over 60,000 adults showed that those who drank sugary sodas twice a week had a higher risk of pancreatic cancer.
Some studies also discovered that sugar-sweetened drinks raised the risk of type 1 endometrial cancer among postmenopausal women.
Endometrial cancer is the most common type of uterine cancer. Symptoms include abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, enlarged uterus, pain during intercourse, pain in the lower back, and unexpected weight loss.
Sugary drinks have been linked to cancer recurrence and death in patients suffering from stage 3 colon cancer.
It damages your dental health
It is a well-known fact that regular soda consumption is bad for your dental health. Acids such as carbonic acid and phosphoric acid are used in the preparation of bubbly drinks like sodas, and other aerated beverages.
These acids, however, make your teeth more prone to decay as they create a highly acidic environment in your mouth. Researchers believe that health care providers should emphasize the risks associated with soft drink consumption.
It has been linked to mental decline
If you want to protect your mental health, stay away from sugary soft drinks. Research shows that elevated blood sugar is linked to an increased risk of dementia.
One study showed that high-sugar diets not only hikes the risk of diabetes but Alzheimer’s disease as well, which is the most common type of dementia.
Studies conducted on animal subjects also showed that high amounts of sugar can adversely affect memory and decision-making.
It is highly addictive
Sugary drinks may also be addictive. Animal studies found that sugar binging releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that gets blamed for addiction as it gives a feeling of pleasure and motivation.
Several studies show that sugar and highly processed junk foods produce the same addictive effect as drugs.
Healthier Soda Alternatives That Will Help You Put Down the Pop
It’s pretty easy to understand why it’s hard to kick sodas out of your diet. But with healthier alternatives, saying bye-bye to these sugar-filled beverages can be easier.
Take a look at the list of healthier beverages you can replace your sugary soft drinks with.
If you’re craving that sweet taste, you can fix yourself a nutritious yet delicious smoothie at home.
It’s important to note that homemade smoothies are the best way to go as store-bought smoothies are loaded with added sugar. Also, preparing your own smoothie fix allows you to control what goes into your glass, and your body.
With the right combination of fruits and veggies, you’re surely doing not just your taste buds a favor but your body and health as well.
Summer or not, coconut water makes a great beverage of choice! It is super refreshing, and good for your health, too. In fact, it is one of the best sources of electrolytes. Keep in mind, though, that raw coconut water is the best to drink.
Adding too much sugar to this drink will defeat the incredible coconut water benefits such as lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure, reduced risk of kidney stones, and better heart health.
Sparkling water with fruit
If you’re after the frizz in soda, sparkling water can be a great substitute. Sparkling water is water that has contains dissolved carbon dioxide gas. It is simply carbonated water without the fattening calories or added sugar.
If you want to perk up its flavor, you can throw in some fruits such as strawberries, lemons, and oranges.
Iced tea is another refreshing drink that can also satisfy your sweet cravings. And while it’s sweet, its sugar content is not as high as soda, although this depends on the brand.
If you want to reduce your sugar intake, though, it’s best to drink unsweetened iced tea. It’s also preferred to make your own iced tea at home so can control how much sugar your tea fix will have.
Tip: Swap sugar with honey. It will make your drink so much better and healthier!
Experts believe that the best way to keep yourself hydrated is by drinking water. Water contains zero calories and has no sugar. So, if you’ve got weight loss goals, chug that glass of water.
Water hydration has been linked with tons of benefits too, including balanced body temperature, weight loss, pain relief, better cardiovascular health, balanced PH levels, and healthier skin.
Quitting something you’ve gotten used to is a difficult challenge, but it will be rewarding in the end. Sodas may be one of your favorite drinks, but they come with adverse health effects.
Sugary soft drinks not only expand your waistline and damage your teeth but also increase your risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
They also lack essential nutrients, are highly addictive, and may hurt your mental health as well.
Now that you know how sodas influence your health and wellness, it’s time to make that healthy change. Put down that can of soda, and grab a glass of water instead. It’s a shift your body and health will thank you for!