I work with clients across all ages, many who are actually healthy already when they start seeing me, but often times they have a habit that quite frankly counteracts all of the benefits of their otherwise healthy diet—soda! It’s addictive—caffeinated or not, diet or not, soda destroys your health. If there is one “bad” food you want to challenge yourself to remove from your diet, I suggest soda! Here are some of the ways soda is harmful to your health.
Soda can make you gain weight, yes even diet soda.
Most people who see me are concerned about their weight. Some want to fit better in a wedding dress. Some have serious health problems related to being overweight or obese. As this is concern is probably at the forefront of peoples’ mind more than other serious concerns, I will address the weight issue first.
Soda causes weight gain. Sugar and even the artificial sugars in diet sodas can make you feel hungrier, leading you to eat more. This means you consume all that sugar or artificial sugar (which bot store as fat) in the soda, and more food than you would’ve eaten had you not had the soda! That all adds up, especially if it is a daily habit!
Let’s move on to more detrimental health concerns caused by soda.
Soda can cause diabetes.
Do you know that a can of soda has over nine teaspoons of sugar in it? That’s insane. Drink a can of soda and that already exceeds the American Heart Association’s recommended daily allowance of added sugar, which is nine teaspoons for men, and six teaspoons for women. All that sugar can spark diabetes. In fact, a 2010 meta-analysis of several studies found that people who consume 1-2 cans of soda a day or more are 26 percent more likely to get Type 2 diabetes than people who rarely drink soda.
Soda can make your bones brittle.
Most of my clients who are young to middle-aged rarely think of their bones. But get this, soda drinkers’ bones are more brittle. Soda has phosphate and when your diet has more phosphate than calcium, your bones suffer. Think about changing up your soda for milk, even chocolate milk, so you get that much-needed calcium for your bones!
Soda can break your heart.
Sugar was first linked to heart disease over 50 years ago, yet soda is still flying off the shelves! This saddens me because several studies have established that sugar-sweetened drinks increase several risk factors for heart disease. It can increase your blood-sugar levels, your triglycerides, and your LDL (Bad) cholesterol.
Studies have linked soda to an increased risk of heart attacks as well. One study for example followed 40,000 men for two decades and found that the men who had one sugary drink a day had a 20 percent increased risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart attack compared to those who rarely drank sugary drinks.
Soda can cause cancer.
I rarely write about the “C” word because it freaks people out, but in cases where a plethora of studies have shown correlations with eating/drinking a certain food and having an increased risk of cancer, I think it’s important to address.
Let me start by saying that cancer risk increases when you have a chronic condition like Type 2 diabetes or heart disease. This is one way that soda is linked to an increased risk of cancer.
And there are several studies that have shown soda drinking as directly linked to certain types of cancer. For example, one study found that men and women who drank two or more sodas a day had an 87 percent higher chance of developing pancreatic cancer than those who did not. Another study found that postmenopausal women who drank soda were at greater risk of getting endometrial cancer.
There are several more reasons not to drink soda, like damage to your teeth, increased risk of gout, and even increased risk of dementia. So, If there is one food addiction you are trying to defeat, try to kick soda out of your life. I promise, after a while, you won’t even miss it!
Image by Mae Mu