It’s safe to say that a lot of people drink aerated beverages, more commonly known as soft drinks or sodas. This is due to their proliferation in society; every bar, restaurant, or place where refreshments are offered has them on their menus, often for a low cost, complete with free refills. Unfortunately, these drinks do come with an expensive cost, despite their affordability. Soft drinks may taste delicious, and they are certainly marketed as cool and refreshing, but there are some significant health concerns associated with them that are too often overlooked. Here are some reasons to rethink soda:
Because of the high levels of sugar found in soft drinks, excessive consumption of them can lead to obesity, especially in young children. This is because of the way that the body stores energy for immediate and later use. Generally, once your body has acquired all of a given nutrient it needs, the rest is typically discarded as waste (urine or feces). However, in the case of sugar, once the body’s caloric needs have been met, the rest is stored as fat to be used in an emergency. It’s easy for soda’s empty calories to become fat, leading to obesity.
10. Metabolic Changes
It’s possible for caloric intake to shape the body’s metabolism. The body adjusts its needs and behaviors based on how and when it receives nutrients, and when it must exert itself; that’s why starvation diets don’t work; the body then becomes trained to pack on the fat at every convenience. Where does soda come in? A study revealed that a regular intake of soft drinks made it more difficult for the participants to lose weight, because instead of burning fat, the muscles of the participants were burning sugar during activity, which is less efficient for both exertions and losing weight.
9. Weight-Related Illness
The problem with obesity is it oftentimes creates, or at least contributes to complications associated with an unhealthy lifestyle. Obesity is often associated with conditions such as diabetes, and heart disease. This is because an increase in weight usually comes with an increase in blood pressure too, because the heart must work harder to move blood. Excess fat can also be a problem, as it may lead to obstruction of the blood vessels, causing a heart attack. Obesity can also create chronic inflammation in parts of the body, which may contribute to serious illnesses like cancer.
Diabetes is a serious illness that can be brought on by factors such as obesity and high sugar intake. Essentially, diabetes is the inability for the body to regulate blood sugar levels; Oftentimes, the blood sugar levels of a person with diabetes will spike or drop wildly, and they must keep careful track of their blood sugar in order to know when and how much to eat, as well as when to inject insulin. The likelihood of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity are all linked, and diabetes itself can lead to a number of other complications within the body, too.Related: 7 Most Common Symptoms of Diabetes
7. Dental Problems
Excess fat isn’t the only issue that arises from soda consumption. Left unchecked, all of that sugar can end up rotting out the teeth. This is because of the relationship between sugar and bacteria; it’s their favorite food! Therefore, if the teeth are constantly exposed to sugar, and proper dental precautions aren’t taken, bacteria will multiply in the mouth, and the waste products they produce will eat away at the tooth enamel. Sodas themselves are acidic as well, and may directly contribute to tooth destruction in that way. If you must drink soda, be sure to rinse your mouth afterward.
6. Bone Density
There is research that indicates drinking a lot of soda can contribute to weaker bones. Normally, bones are made of a compound known as calcium phosphate. If commercials are any indication, milk is an excellent source of calcium; soft drinks, on the other hand, are not. An increased preference for soda as the beverage of choice means other, more nutrient-rich drinks (milk included) are consumed, leading to a depletion of important minerals. Soda may be high in phosphate, but without a reliable source of calcium, the bones grow weaker than they would be with an adequate supply of both minerals.
5. Kidney Complications
The job of filtering out wasted, excessive, or harmful elements falls upon the kidneys. They filter the blood to ensure that the body is running smoothly. However, when there is a constant excess of certain substances, most notably alcohol, sugar, or salt, it is possible for the kidneys to become overworked and otherwise suffer damage. This is especially true in the case of diabetics, whose inability to properly regulate blood sugar leaves excess glucose in the blood that must then be handled by the kidneys. Other kidney complications include kidney stones, which are about 20% more likely among soda drinkers.
4. Liver Complications
Like the kidneys, the liver plays a role in filtering the blood, though it deals more with digestion than the circulatory system itself. However, because of this shared role, the liver can also fall victim to problems caused by excess sugar. Because fructose, the sugar used in most soft drinks, is not as regulated by the metabolism like other sugars, it can build up much faster than say, glucose does. This creates a chain reaction in the liver that leads to the production of triglycerides and fatty acids. This might cause damage to the liver in the form of cirrhosis.
3. Benzene Intake
Benzene is a substance that can be found in sodas, particularly diet ones. Because of regulations by the FDA, there are limits to how much benzene is allowed in certain beverages, including tap water and sodas. Unfortunately, it was uncovered during testing that a significant portion of diet sodas had higher levels of benzene than the standard allowed. Benzene can form from benzoic acid, originally used as a preservative, in soda; this is problematic because benzene is a carcinogen, meaning that it could potentially contribute to cancer. In summation, significant levels of a cancer-causing molecule might be in your soda.
In addition to sugar, significant levels of caffeine are present in sodas. Caffeine is classified as a diuretic, which means it causes one to urinate more often. Because urine is composed primarily of water, frequent bathroom breaks can lead to dehydration. This is especially bad, considering the excess sugar also present in soft drinks, which the kidneys must then filter; the kidneys, and all organs do a much better job when they are hydrated. Without water, the soda will have an even more damaging effect on the body, contributing greatly to the aforementioned complications. You’re better off drinking water.Related: 8 Signs You Are Dehydrated
1. Diet Soda Solution?
Reading all this, you might be tempted to simply sub in diet sodas instead of regular ones. However, diet soft drinks are just as bad, if not worse than regular soft drinks. In fact, in a study, it was found that all of the negative health effects of metabolic syndrome associated with soft drinks, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc. were more prevalent in conjunction with diet sodas over regular ones. Similar results were found when testing the role of diet sodas in the development of vascular issues; once again, diet sodas caused more harm than regular soft drinks.
Because of their high sugar and caffeine content, along with the ease and affordability of them, soft drinks, both diet, and regular versions, are something of a health concern. While some aspects of their danger are unfounded, and others need more research, there are other still, especially factoring in the frequency of consumption, that point to very real, significant health complications. Drinking more water instead of soft drinks is the solution; water will not only hydrate the body, making it easier to filter waste, it will also put in less waste that needs to then be filtered out later on.