THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
People often make two mistakes in their search of inner peace... focusing on things they cannot change, and ignoring things they can change."
Q: Lots of my friends and I drink a couple of sodas a day. Is it really such a bad deal? I mean everywhere we go you can always get a soda, and it's usually the cheapest drink available. My girlfriend likes bottled water and that often costs more than the soda. Thanks, Matt
A: Hey Matt, thanks for asking a very important question. It might seem that a few sodas a day aren't such a big deal, but they actually are, and if you do it every day the cumulative effects are even more harmful. Studies show that one extra drink a day can raise your chance of being overweight as an adult is increased by 60%. Part of the reason for this is that most soda is made with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a very unhealthy source of sweetener. HFCS is often made from genetically modified sources and it gives your body calories without the message that tells your body that you have eaten, so you still feel hungry and will most likely drink even more soda.
To give you a little perspective, the American Heart Association recommends a daily intake of sugars of all kinds of no more than six to nine teaspoons per day. The average American takes in an additional six teaspoons a day and more than half of it is from sugary drinks, soda, juices, and sports drinks.
Another risk of soda is the artificial brown coloring, which is made from high temperature interaction of sugars that create cancer causing agents and has been linked with several specific types of cancer. According to a recent Harvard University study, drinking one additional soda per day will increase your chance of getting diabetes by 25%, and the side effects of diabetes are not pretty. For instance a common diabetes side effect is erectile dysfunction, not something you might usually think about as you are guzzling down a large size cola at the ball game.
The acidic and sugar content of soda also affects the health of gums and teeth, increasing the creation of cavities and gum disease. Cola specifically also affects the bone density in teens and women, decreasing it to much earlier lower levels.Several other recent studies show that regular use of soda significantly increases your blood pressure over time.
While diet soda may not have as great an impact on the sugar side effects, there is another whole set of dangers with artificial sweeteners, the coloring, acidic content, etc. Studies indicate that artificial sweeteners actually increase body mass.
If you want to kick the habit, and going cold turkey is too drastic, here are a few simple techniques to make the adjustment easier. Start by drinking less at one time, share the can with someone else and maybe use more ice. You can also use part of a can and gradually add seltzer to your drinks. Seltzer has all the carbonation without the sugar content. Eventually switch to all seltzer and perhaps iced tea for flavored drinks. If you drink juice, use only fresh squeezed without sugar added, and limit your daily total juice intake. Adding a little seltzer to your juice is also a healthy twist.