A Soda a Day Keeps the Doctor at Bay

Taking a soda a day is now like a culture in many places.

‘Soda’ which is also known as carbonated water, is one of the most alluring of all drinks. Soft drink companies utilize the effects of almost all five human senses in a bid to make anyone who takes a sip to keep coming back for more. From the way it is packaged, the fizz or pop that we hear on attempting to open its container, the irresistible scent that emanates from it to that gratifying taste we get from a sip of it.

It is no wonder one of the top companies that manufacture soft drinks makes approximately US$ 1 Billion from each of its twenty brands in a year. But behind these packagings are elements of serious health concern, and you will get to know some of them after reading this.

Nutritional Facts of Soda and Carbonated Water

The basic components of soda include; carbonated water, a sweetener, and a natural or artificial flavoring. The sweetener may be a sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice, a sugar substitute, or some combination of these.

One bottle of 16 fl oz (35 cl) of coke contains 44grams of sugar. This is beyond the guideline of the American Heart Association (AHA), which recommends 36grams of sugar for males, and 25grams for females. 

Apart from sugar, there is no other significant nutritional value gotten from taking soda. Assuming you take a bottle daily, it contributes only to about 15% of your sources of sugar, meaning that you are likely still going to take in sugar from many other food sources. This amount of sugar from one source then poses a great health risk.

Soda may also contain additives like caffeine and sodium benzoate, which among others pose greater risks to health.

Health Risks from Excessive Consumption

NOTE: By excessive, I mean regular consumption of an average of one bottle of Soda or more daily.  

It is common knowledge that excessive consumption of sugar is dangerous to health. The health risks however are often underemphasized. Some notable health costs include:

  1. You Risk Being Obese 

We may already know that excessive sugar consumption can predispose to diabetes. This is because it overwhelms the pancreas; an organ in the body that is responsible for mopping up excessive sugar in the body through the action of insulin.

Also, it could lead to a group of symptoms known as Metabolic Syndrome, which include; increased blood pressure, high blood sugarexcess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.  

Metabolic syndrome is linked to insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps sugar that enters your cells to be used as fuel.

In people with insulin resistance, cells don’t respond normally to insulin and glucose can’t enter the cells easily. As a result, the blood sugar levels rise even as the body churns out more insulin to try to lower the blood sugar.

2.  Dental Decay

Our oral cavity contains harmless bacteria that could ferment the large concentrations of simple carbohydrates: glucose, fructose, and sucrose contained in the soda we take. The product of such fermentation is acidic, which may dissolve tooth enamel and induce dental decay.

Therefore sweetened drinks may increase the risk of dental caries. It has also been suggested that brushing right after drinking soft drinks should be avoided as this can result in additional erosion to the teeth. (Wikipedia).

But there are some health products which have been carefully researched and reviewed and found to prevent dental decay and increase teeth whitening.

One of these products is called the Dental Smile whitening kit. You can find the detailed health review of this product, and possibly make your own purchase after reading the reviews here.

3. Benzene Toxicity

Although soft drinks may contain sodium benzoate in small quantities, excessive consumption of such, especially over a long time has been investigated by researchers at the Univerity of Sheffield as a possible cause of DNA damage and hyperactivity. (Wikipedia).

Long term exposure to benzene also damages the bone marrow; decreasing red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can also cause excessive bleeding and can affect the immune system, increasing the chance of infection. 

Some women who breathed high levels of benzene for many months had irregular menstrual periods and a decrease in the size of their ovaries. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that benzene causes cancer in humans. Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene in the air can cause leukemia, cancer of the blood-forming organs. (Source: CDC: Facts about Benzene).

4. It Could Impair Your Mental Health.

Caffeine is contained in a good number of soft drinks, although in small quantities. Most people argue that they take soda to improve mental performance because of the caffeine, but the effect may not be worth the risks it poses to health.

I wrote another post on fighting depression and PTSD but only read them after this one.

Although it can improve mental performance up to a point, a study published in 2012 shows that caffeine improves performance on a range of different tasks, including vigilance, response times, information processing, and some, but not all proofreading tasks. The improvements are quite small and don’t get better with more caffeine. 

Moreover, they may end up being dependent on caffeine which predisposes them to addiction, anxiety, and sleeps disruption. Even though such people who use a lot of caffeine every day show improved performance with more caffeine, it may be that they are simply counteracting the effects of caffeine dependence so by taking more caffeine, they are getting closer to what their performance would be if they weren’t addicted to caffeine in the first place. (Source: Very well Mind).

Sugar is also very addictive. Both sugar and caffeine activate the brain reward system, which releases dopamine, leading to intense feelings of reward that can result in cravings and addiction. (Source: Health+Medicine – The Conversation).

5. Kidney Failure

A study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology in 2013 concluded that consumption of soft drinks was associated with a 23% higher risk of developing kidney stones (Wikipedia).

Also, Read; Fighting Depression Through Fitness and Exercise

The point is not to rebuke soda or its production companies but to create awareness of the need to reduce excessive intake of it. It is good to have some once in a while for fun, leisure, or when in desperate need of a quick source of energy, but remember not to consume it in excess, as the saying goes; ” A soda a day keeps the doctor at bay”.

All these are health effects are too much for a drink that also takes away your money daily. You can as well find healthier ways of keeping yourself hydrated like using water therapy.

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