We are learning more and more about nutrition and the impact of certain foods on our health. Recently, soda has been found to have negative effects on our health. Essentially, soda is high in sugar usually corn syrup (with the exception of diet sodas), carbonic and/or citric acid, and water.
Here are some of the negative effects that we know so far.
- Carbonation along with sugar leads to tooth decay and cavities. It can also erode dental enamel which can lead to tooth loss.
- Sugars, particularly corn derived sugars such as corn syrup, have been linked to obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.
- Acid reflux or silent reflux. Carbonated beverages, particularly when consumed ice cold can cause acid from the stomach to rise up into your esophagus causing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) commonly called “heartburn”. You may also get a cough or worsening of asthma resulting from this.
- Caffeine induced insomnia. Some sodas contain massive amounts of caffeine, which can result in caffeine overdose symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, palpitations, and irritability.
- Increases risk of stroke and dementia. A recent study published in STROKE with a huge population showed very convincing evidence linking the fizzy beverage with these deadly brain diseases. This association was also seen in diet sodas containing artificial sweeteners.
- Soda worsens conditions such as gout or kidney disease. Drinking soda can alter your blood pH, making it more acidic. Many medical conditions are worsened when your blood become more acidic.
- Soda can be addictive. Soda is available almost everywhere and sometimes in the case of movie theaters and convenience stores, can be found in huge cups. It is no surprise that people can become hooked and turn to soda when they should be drinking water. You would be surprised how much money you can save from cutting soda from your grocery bill.
What can you drink instead?
- Water. Simple, inexpensive, delicious
- Water infused with fruit. If you need a hint of flavor, place some fruit such as watermelon or cucumber in a pitcher and fill with filtered water and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. The water will have a hint of fruit flavor, without sugar.
- Unsweetened tea. I can’t say enough about the benefits of tea. If you usually drink soda for the caffeine, this is a good replacement
- Coconut water is high in potassium with very little sugar. It quenches your thirst.
- Milk (soy, almond, cow, etc.) is very high in protein and calcium for building bones. Just be careful not to drink too much as it can be high in calories. For cow milk, drink skim or 1% milk as even 2% milk is still very high in fat (2% is actually a misnomer as it is not double the fat of 1%, but is actually much higher).