Soda: The Candy We Drink

Millions of Americans are literally drowning themselves daily in what some have called “liquid candy.” We spend over 54 billion dollars a year on carbonated soft drinks – and this amounts to about fifty-four gallons a year per person! A report by the Center for Science in the Public interest has discovered that soft drink consumption has nearly tripled since 1967. The negative effects of these drinks, whether they be regular pop or diet soda, are devastating to our bodies and our overall well being.

Obesity is a common problem in the U.S. and abroad, and it increases the risk of more serious conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and social and psychological problems. Research has shown that obesity rates have actually risen in conjunction with the rising amount of soft drink consumption. Soda pop adds unnecessary calories of no nutritional value. For anyone who is fighting the battle of the bulge, it is obvious that we need to reduce our calorie intake, particularly of empty (non-nutritional) calories such as those found in soda pop.

Tooth Decay
Most soda pop is nothing but a combination of sugars, acids, and artificial flavors and colors. The combination of these acids, as well as the massive sugar found in most sodas has a remarkably dismal affect on dental health. Regular soft drinks literally bathe your teeth in refined sugar for long periods of time. This is a major factor in the appearance of cavities and tooth decay and other periodontal diseases. The amount of sugar in one can of soda is equivalent to ten sugar cubes, and soft drinks now provide the average American with seven heaping teaspoons of sugar daily – all of which must pass over your teeth at some point.

Heart Disease
Research has shown that heart disease is the number one killer in this country. In many adults, a diet high in sugar promotes heart disease. In people who are resistant to insulin, taking in a high amount of carbohydrates such as those found in the refined sugar in soda pop causes their Triglyceride and insulin levels to rise, and the rising of these levels are contributors to cardiovascular disease.

Weak Bones & Osteoporosis
One of the main ingredients in many popular sodas is caffeine. A major problem with caffeine is that it causes the body to excrete extra calcium in the urine. This is why people who drink soft drinks likely will have low calcium levels, which can lead to osteoporosis, or weakened and fragile bone structure. Drinking only one 12-ounce can of caffeine-containing soda causes the loss of about 20 milligrams of calcium.

Kidney Stones
Kidney or urinary stones are a very painful disorder, but they are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract. Specific research linking this condition with soda pop has found that men who have had kidney stones in the past tend to have a recurrence if they are frequent drinkers of soda. For this reason, many health professionals agree that cola-type beverages should be avoided.

Chemicals & Additives
Besides the caffeine and sugars found in soda pop, there are also many allergens and chemicals that can be harmful to the body when ingested chronically. For instance, Yellow 5 dye can cause asthma, hives, and even a runny nose. Cochineal and Carmine, natural red colorings, have even been found to cause life-threatening allergic reactions in some people, and many dyes used in soda and other commercial foods can cause hyperactivity in our children.

Diet sodas sweetened with substances other than sugar are also dangerous in large amounts. Saccharin has been linked in studies to urinary tract or bladder cancer and cancer of other organs. Saccharin has been replaced by Aspartame in many brands, and Aspartame also poses many health risks. Experts in the study of cancer are questioning even the safety of Acesulfame-K, which was approved in 1998 for use in soft drinks.

So, for better overall health and the benefit of your body, STOP THE POP and reach for healthier drinks like purified water and healthy juices.

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