So, How Unhealthy is Soda Really?

Well, it’s really not something you should drink a lot of every day.

I’m lucky because my preferred drink of choice is water, very cold, with ice in it. My second choice, which I might indulge in when dining out is, iced tea. Strong and black usually, but sometimes a little weaker, with lemon and sweetener. In my opinion, sugar doesn’t “melt” properly in iced tea so I use sweetener instead.

Soda has become a “the four-letter word” of beverages. It has a pretty poor reputation when you consider all the better drink choices out there. Medical research blames it for diabetes, hyperactivity, childhood obesity (I don’t drink soda so why am I overweight?), and tooth decay.

What’s really in most of the sodas we imbibe – carbonated water, coloring, flavors-natural and not, caffeine, high fructose corn syrup, phosphoric acid, and sugar. The coloring makes it look more appetizing, the phosphoric acid makes it tangy, the flavors add the taste, and the carbonated water makes it fizzy. Caffeine is known to be a stimulant which is addictive and is also a diuretic. That corn syrup is a less expensive type of sweetener and it provides almost no nutrition and a lot of calories.

There must be a good reason most diets or weight loss plans say no soda. Some people will rationalize if I’m not eating much, it’s ok to have sodas instead. I’ve always found it difficult to think a glass of wine, a soda, etc. can have many calories – after all, it’s JUST liquid. But, I do know it’s true there are a lot of calories in liquids. It’s not a proven fact but some nutritional scientists think the taste of something sweet triggers the body to release insulin even if there is no actual calories or sugar being consumed.

Look at the label on the can or bottle of your favorite soda – it will list something like “not a significant source of Vitamin A, calcium” and so on. Not much nutritional value there.

So, next time you’re at the store, why not look at juices? It’s not just orange juice any more – cherry, cranberry, black cherry, apple, grapefruit, and tomato are some of the flavors out there. They often have extra vitamins and calcium added. If you like the fizz, just add some club soda to the drink. Pour it over ice cubes, garnish with a piece of fruit and you have a refreshing drink that’s good for you.

I love tomato juice so I pour it over a couple of ice cubes, add some Worcestershire Sauce, a pinch of salt, some pepper and yum. Conversely, I hate V-8 juice. I’ll also add a bit of lemon juice to my ice water sometimes just for that tart taste. And, in the wintertime, my late afternoon drink is a mug of hot apple cider.

I’ll think I’ll go have a glass of my favorite beverage, water, chilled with ice cubes.

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