What Unhealthy Food Does to Your Body: Soda
Other than taste and carbonation, good reasons to drink soda, or “pop,” are hard to come by.
Those who have diabetes may avoid drinking regular (sugared) soda, but if anyone you care about indulges in it, consider sharing how these drinks affect the body.
A single can of regular soda dumps about 10 teaspoons of sugar, 30-55 mg of caffeine and 150 non-nutritional calories into the body, and floods the system with artificial carcinogenic food coloring and yummy sulphites.
An average soda drinker consumes about 20 ounces of soda each day, or 16 teaspoons of sugar – nearly three times more than the daily sugar intake suggested by the American Heart Association.
The Body on One Can of Soda
Let’s say you finish a can of soda at noon. Here is what goes on in your body for the next hour.
- At 12:20 your blood sugar will spike, the pancreas kicks out insulin to manage the sugar, and the liver reacts to the insulin rush by changing sugar into fat.
- At 12:40 you would have absorbed all of the caffeine. Your pupils dilate, blood pressure goes up, and the liver unloads more sugar into the bloodstream.
- At 12:45 the body raises its dopamine production. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that activates the brain’s pleasure center, much the way heroin does.
- At 1:00 your blood sugar begins to crash. This, and the dopamine pleasure response, tempts us to drink more soda.
Regularly drinking soda creates chronically elevated insulin levels in the body, eventually causing insulin resistance that can lead to diabetes, heart disease or other serious illnesses.
Soda and Weight Gain
Soda is usually sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Though both table sugar and HFCS are a mix of glucose and fructose, HFCS contains a higher percentage of fructose – a problem because of the way our body responds to it.
If you consume 120 calories of glucose, less than one of those calories will be stored as fat. When you ingest 120 calories of fructose, 40 calories will be stored as fat. This is why the addition of HFCS to so many of our beverages and processed foods is associated with weight gain and obesity.
Drinking two sodas a day may add a pound of body fat in just one week.
If you drink diet soda, though you eliminate sugar calories, you are not off the health-hook. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are linked to nearly 100 adverse health effects such as birth defects, brain tumors, emotional problems, seizures and even diabetes.
Making Pure Water Less Boring
The healthiest beverage for us is pure water, though water may seem like a bland substitute for the sweet fizz-bang provided by soda. However, if you crave carbonation, sparkling mineral water splashed with fresh lime or lemon juice has a bit of kick to it.
Flavoring water with cucumber or melon slices is quite refreshing. You might add one or two drops of natural peppermint extract or a few crushed mint leaves to your water. For a sweet treat, add some natural stevia, an herbal sweetener, and enjoy.