Soda- Just How Bad is it?

Posted on March 27, 2015

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1424896799By Mimi Butler

Whether you’re strolling down the soda isle at your local grocery store trying to decide between Coke and Pepsi or driving through the nearest fast food joint because you just have to have that large Diet Coke with ice and a straw, you might have that nagging voice in the back of your head yelling “DON’T DO IT!  SODAS ARE BAD FOR YOU!”  Even though you hear that annoying little voice…you go ahead and get that 12-pack of your favorite soda or that wonderfully cold and bubbly fresh drink straight from the fountain anyway.

Just how bad are they?  Well, recent studies show us that the news is not good if you’re a soda fan. According to a new study, downing just eight ounces of the bubbly stuff a day can age your cells by nearly two years.  Researchers at the University of California San Francisco analyzed data from over 5,000 adults by looking at numbers from the National Health and Nutrition Survey.  In particular, the study looked for a correlation between drinking soda and shorter life spans, higher stress, heart disease, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer.  Researchers found that drinking just eight ounces of soda each day increased cell age by 1.9 years and drinking 20 ounces increased cell age by 4.6 years- the same aging affect as smoking.  However, according to the study, the link between soda and cell aging only exists for the sugary, regular variety, not for diet soda.  Nor does a link between exist between cell aging and sugary fruit juices.

High rates of soda consumption are additionally linked to weight gain, poor dental health, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.  Doctors at Mount Sinai Medical Center and UH Case Medical Centers released details on how the body responds to soda.  The average American consumes 45 gallons of soda every year.  Many experts are quick to blame soda consumption for the obesity epidemic in the United States.  If everything else a person does daily were to remain the same, a person who has one can of soda everyday adds an extra 14.5 pounds per year just from the calories alone. While many nutritionists espouse the theory that a “calorie is a calorie,” new studies indicate that is not the case.  Some research now indicates that sugary calories turn into fat more easily than fat calories turn into fat

The three main ingredients in a 12-ounce soda include 41 grams of sugar, 30 milligrams of sodium, and 38 grams of caffeine.  According to Dr. Mary Ann McLaughlin at Mount Sinai, the latter two do the most damage to the heart. Caffeine can increase your heart rate and blood pressure while too much sodium can increase food retention.  The combination of the two has a dehydrating effect.  Studies have shown that people who consume soda tend to develop metabolic syndrome, which includes symptoms such as abdominal girth, high blood pressure, elevated glucose and triglycerides and low HDL

But those of you who drink diet sodas are not off the hook.  Even diet drinks can negatively impact your health.  While some health experts are still on the fence about diet soft drinks as they do provide a zero calorie alternative, there is more and more evidence surfacing that these drinks have equally damaging health consequences.   According to a recent study from Purdue University, artificial sweeteners in soft drinks trick the body into reacting differently when it tastes something sweet, ultimately throwing off metabolism.

So, if you’re still popping the top on that soda or pulling up to the fast food joint for an cool one, its time to settle on a new drink choice.

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Posted in: Health