Ever since I’ve made a conscious effort to start living healthy, one of the hardest things for me to do was to stop drinking soda.
Let’s face it: carbonated drinks are everywhere. Coke and Pepsi are not shy when it comes to flooding your television with advertisements. Ginger Ale, A&W’s root beer, Mountain Dew, Sprite, Dr. Pepper’s and the list goes on – they’re all over the supermarket in bottles and cans and are in vending machines and fast foods! In the year 2000 alone, 15 billion gallons of carbonated drinks were sold in the United States – that’s about one 12-ounce serving for every man, woman and child.
It’s not the first time you’ll be reading or hearing this but soda is one of the worst beverages you can consume. You’ll probably agree that soda doesn’t really satisfy your thirst but you’ll drink it anyway. Soda addiction is a habit that’s hard to kick. But what are the dangers of soda to your health?
Here are 10 diseases linked to too much soda consumption:
- Obesity – Many people put on extra pounds in a hurry because they often don’t keep track of how many calories they consume when they drink soda. If you drink a 330 ml can of soda per day, you’ll gain a pound of extra weight every month. Studies show that for every additional soda consumed, you increase your risk of obesity by 1.6 times.
- Diabetes – Not only does soda make you fat, it also inhibits your body’s ability to process sugar, increasing your risk of diabetes. Some scientists believe that the soda addiction has TRIPLED the number of Americans suffering from type 2 diabetes.
- Heart disease – Soda addicts are more likely to develop risk factors for heart disease because research shows that drinking more than one soft drink per day may increase your risk of developing the metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms including central obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugar, elevated fasting triglycerides, and low levels of high-density lipoprotein. Your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes increases when you have three or more of these symptoms.
- Liver damage – It’s not just alcohol that’s bad for your liver. You also increase your risk of liver cirrhosis by drinking too much soft drinks.
- Kidney damage – All carbonated drinks contain high amounts of phosphoric acid, which is known to cause kidney stones. You increase your risk of developing kidney stones if you drink around three 12-ounce cans of soda per week. A new study featured in Epidemiology also reported that drinking two or more colas per day doubles your risk of chronic liver disease.
- Osteoporosis and weak bones – Phosphoric acid is also linked to osteoporosis or the weakening of the skeletal structure because it may lower calcium levels and increase phosphate levels in the blood. When phosphate levels are high and calcium levels are low, your bones are depleted of calcium. (Coca-Cola and Pepsi contain virtually no calcium and are high in phosphate) High soda consumption in children is also linked to impaired calcification of growing bones.
- Hypertension – Studies suggest that soda, whether it’s regular or diet, leads to an increase in blood pressure, and that black teenagers who consume soft drinks are particularly at risk from hypertension.
- Digestion problems – If you drink sodas, especially on an empty stomach, you can upset the fragile acid-alkaline balance of your digestive system, creating a continuous acid environment which can lead to inflammation of your stomach and duodenal lining and gastrointestinal distress.
- Tooth decay – Did you know that the acidity of soda is more harmful to your teeth than the sugar found in candy? Because soda eats up your tooth enamel, soft drinks are tagged as the culprit in increasing the incidence of tooth decay.
- Heartburn and acid reflux – Drinking too much soda can cause heartburn because carbonated beverages are very acidic and deliver a lot of air in the form of carbon dioxide.
Besides these 10 diseases, numerous studies have also linked sugar and the increased rates of cancer. Soda contains high amounts of high fructose corn syrup, which is basically sugar from corn.
How to kick that soda addiction out of your system
Reducing or eliminating sugar intake is one of the best things you can do for your health because it will normalize your insulin levels and reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases. Getting rid of your soda habit will be a giant step towards that direction.
- Decide to stop drinking soda – First things first: you have to decide to give soda up. It will take a strong commitment on your part to make it happen but it’s not impossible.
- Use Emotional Freedom Techniques to resolve and determine issues related to the soda addiction – Click here to learn about Turbo Tapping and deal with your soda habit.
- Drink water – As I’ve said in my last post, nothing beats water. Gradually decrease the number of carbonated drinks you take each day, replacing them with water as you work towards your goal of completely kicking the soda habit. Have patience. It may take weeks, months or even a year or two to truly forget the craving. Water may be boring for you at first if you’re really big on carbonated drinks but you can make your water more exciting by adding non-caloric flavors like a sprig of mint, a slice of lemon or a frozen strawberry.