Here’s Why You Absolutely Need to Stop Drinking Soda Right Now

Let’s talk about the truth everyone knows but doesn’t want to hear.

Photo by Ja San Miguel on Unsplash

Try to take a moment to absorb this mouth shattering statistic:

In 2016, over 1.9 billion adults (18 years and older) were overweight. Of these adults, a massive 650 million were obese.

The U.S. adult obesity rate is 42.4% which represents an increase of 26% since 2008.

I don’t know about you but I refer to obesity as a pandemic and it’s only going to get worse.

Fast food, junk food, physical inactivity, etc. are only making it worse.

You can go to McDonald’s and order whatever on their menu and have it ready in around 5 minutes. There is very little minimal waiting.

In fact, the average American diet contains excess sodium, refined grains, saturated fat, and added calories.

There are so many factors that are contributing to this obesity pandemic and one reason is because people are prioritizing tasty food over healthy food.

Burgers, fries, sodas, cakes, etc. are too darn tasty and once you get hooked, it’s very hard to come off of them very much like drugs.

In this article, I specifically wanted to attack one thing that is very popular and that even kids get hooked onto at a very early age.

That thing is…

SODA!

Let me throw some statistics at you (since you already know how much I love statistics):

  • The average American drinks about 45 gallons of soda every year.
  • 48% of U.S. adults drink at least one glass of soda a day.

This is why soda is bad for you:

It is freakin’ high in sugar.

A 12 oz. Coca-Cola can contains 39 grams of sugar.

A 12 oz. can of Sprite contains 33 grams of sugar.

For reference, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that women don’t consume more than 24 grams of added sugar in a day while men don’t consume more than 36 grams of added sugar in a day.

A single can of soda puts you well over the limit.

Now why is too much sugar bad for you?

Excess sugar has been linked with an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Obesity

Weight gain happens when more calories are consumed than are burned. A 12 oz. can of soda contains between 125–180 calories and all of those calories come from the added sugar present. All of these calories literally have no nutritional value.

Excess sugar has been shown to result in the buildup of fat particularly around the abdomen and liver. Excess sugar can lead to insulin resistance where the cells in the body stop responding to the effects of insulin.

When you have a high sugar diet, your pancreas is constantly secreting insulin that allows the uptake of glucose into cells. Eventually, excess insulin secretion due to excess glucose may cause cells to become “resistant” to the effects of insulin. This is the pathogenesis for type 2 diabetes.

In turn, glucose can’t get into your cells to be used for energy. As a result, you may feel more hungry and be inclined to eat even more, thus contributing to weight gain and obesity.

People who regularly drink carbonated soda show increased levels of the hormone, ghrelin, which promotes hunger. This increases your appetite and stimulates your body to store more fat.

Heart disease

Soda greatly increases the risk of heart disease and the reason is because of its excess sugar.

Sugar is known to damage the inner linings of blood vessels. It does this by reducing the production of nitrous oxide that contributes to vasodilation and increasing the production of hormones that constrict blood vessels.

Additionally, it contributes to inflammation in blood vessels which impairs the balance between repair and damage.

All of this greatly contributes to the formation of atherosclerosis, which is a buildup of fats and cholesterol in and around the arterial walls.

Because of this, this reduces blood flow to heart muscle and over time, plaque rupture can cause the formation of a clot thus leading to a heart attack.

Drinking more than 12 ounces per day of sugary beverages has been associated with a 53% higher incidence of high triglycerides and a 98% higher incidence of low HDL (good) cholesterol compared to those people who drink less than 12 ounces of sugary beverages per month.

Diabetes

This is one thing that I am sure everyone knows pretty well. When you hear the word “diabetes”, sugar comes into mind.

It is no surprise that excess sugar contributes to the increased risk of diabetes. As I have already stated before, the major problem that too much sugar presents is an increased risk of insulin resistance.

Essentially, a majority of the cells in the body depend on insulin to mediate glucose uptake. However, when too much sugar is constantly ingested, the pancreas keeps secreting insulin so glucose uptake can occur. This constant secretion of insulin can lead to “insulin resistance” where cells stop responding to the effects of insulin and thus blood glucose levels become elevated.

When this occurs, eventually, it can progress to type 2 diabetes.

Research has shown that people who consume 1–2 cans of soda each day have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who don’t consume them as often.

It provides no nutritional value.

We eat food because we need it to live. It provides us and our body with a source of energy.

Same goes with drinks. We also need an optimal concentration of fluids mainly water in our body to live and grow.

The right kind of food coupled with the right kind of fluids keep our bodies healthy.

This exact statement can’t be said for soda.

Here is what a single 12 oz. can of Coke provides you.

  • 140 calories
  • Total Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 45 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 39 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0 g
  • Sugars: 39 g
  • Protein: 0 g

Essentially, what a can of Coke provides you with is a ton of calories with a majority of them coming from the excessive added sugars.

All sodas just have a ton of sugar dumped into them combined with other ingredients that provide absolutely no nutritional value to your body.

Additionally, many people fall into the trap of thinking a can of soda will help quench their thirst on a hot summer day.

It turns out it doesn’t and this has happened to me.

While I don’t drink soda anymore, I did have a can about 2 years ago and at that time, I was extremely thirsty. I drank it all and about 30 minutes later, I was feeling thirsty yet again.

But this time I drank a proper glass of water.

It turns out that soda is less hydrating than water because of its caffeine and sugar content. Caffeine is a diuretic meaning that it promotes urine production so over time, you will lose water which will make you more thirsty.

Some sodas are caffeine and sugar-free but these sodas have artificial sweeteners in place of sugar that also cause dehydration.

Sugar also causes dehydration and if you have so much sugar packed into one drink, it makes sense that even if it does satisfy your thirst for a small amount of time, you will feel thirsty again.

It can lead to an addiction.

Wherever you go, you are bound to be at a location where you can purchase a soda.

Almost every store that has a section of food and drinks always has a section dedicated to soda.

At fast-food chains, there are huge machines offering a variety of drinks and sodas to choose from.

Watching a movie at a theater has become synonymous with eating popcorn and drinking soda.

Food without drinks doesn’t sound so appealing and when drinks are available, very few people grab a water bottle. Instead, everyone rushes to pick up a can of soda.

Soda has become such a daily part in our lives that even if you try staying away from it, you are bound to notice it every once in a while.

Soda is so damn tasty and it’s this tastiness that has fueled an addiction amongst many people.

Soda is very high in sugar and it’s this sugar that causes the release of dopamine in our bodies when we consume soda. Dopamine is a hormone associated with reward and pleasure and it’s this same hormone that causes us to repeat behaviors to make us “feel good.”

That’s how soda addiction occurs.

The cycle keeps getting worse and worse until you literally can’t think of not drinking soda.

In fact, research on rats has shown that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. There are similarities between eating sugar and its drug-related effects such as craving, tolerance, withdrawal, etc.

Sugar has been shown to alter mood and lead to pleasure/reward just like drugs such as cocaine. When these rats were deprived of sugar, they also experienced sugar withdrawal symptoms.

Sugar addiction is real.

About 30% of U.S. adults drink sugar-sweetened beverages every day.

Takeaways

If there is one thing that I want you to understand, it is that soda is extremely bad for your health.

Sure, drinking it once in a while is okay but it should never be your primary beverage for consuming fluids.

If you find yourself reaching for that can of soda many times, then it’s time for you to stop and reevaluate what you are doing.

The only fluid you should be regularly putting in your body is water and that could include coffee, tea, etc.

But soda only exists to get your brain dependent on that dopamine rush so you can “feel good.”

That is the only reason why we as humans would spend money on something that is downright horrible for us but makes us feel good.

In fact, Americans spent a total of $65 billion on soda in 2012.

My best advice to people that are “addicted” to soda is to slowly reduce your dependence on it until you are totally free from it or you only drink it rarely.

To the people who don’t drink soda at all, keep doing your thing.

Your body will thank you.

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Samir S.

Samir S.

Writing to Inform, Educate, & Teach | Obsessed with Health & Wellness | https://samir-s.medium.com/subscribe