Pretty much everyone knows soda pop is bad for us; however many still drink it. Knowing something isn’t good for us isn’t always motivating enough to quit doing it, especially when its something as addictive as pop. Specific facts about what it does to our bodies can help us to make the commitment to quit.
Soda leads to obesity. There are 11 tablespoons of sugar in just one 12 oz can. Our bodies can’t burn off that much sugar all at once, so it stores it as fat. One can of pop a day can equal an additional 15 pounds a year. Want to lose weight? Skip the soda.
Pop erodes our teeth and our bones. The acidic content of soda removes minerals from our enamel leaving us prone to cavities and other dental problems. The high phosphorus content depletes our bodies of calcium, weakening bones. Harvard did a study of female teenage athletes and found that girls who drank soda were five times more likely to get bone fractures than those who did not.
A study from 2007 showed people who drink soda have a 40% higher likelihood of having metabolic syndrome. This was true even of those who drink diet pop. Someone with metabolic syndrome has three of the following symptoms including high triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, high fasting blood sugar, and extra abdominal fat. People with these symptoms have a higher risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Those who drink soda have a higher cancer risk thanks to the carcinogenic chemical benzene. 5.5 parts per billion (ppb) is the federal limit of benzene in drinking water. Levels as high as 79 ppb have been found in soft drinks.
Pop is full of nasty chemicals. The preservative sodium benzoate has been shown to damage DNA. Another preservative, polyethylene glycol, is used as an oil solvent and anti-freeze in cars. The chemical dyes can cause cancer as well as many other problems.
So, if diet pop is not a good alternative what is? Iced tea can be a good choice. You can start with it sweetened and then slowly lower the amount of sugar you use as you get used to the taste. When I want to experience the tickle of the bubbles I mix a small amount of juice in with soda water. There are also many flavored sparkling waters on the market. Plain water is also a healthy and convenient choice.
Whether you call it soda, pop, or cola, our beverage choice can have a big impact on our health. If you’ve tried quiting cold turkey before and ended up going back to it, don’t give up hope. Read my post here on taking baby steps to a healthier lifestyle. I’m rooting for you!