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8 Reasons Why People Drink Soda & 16 Reasons To Give Up Soda Drinking

Most of us drink soda. Some drink more than others. And probably many regular soda drinkers are aware that soft drinks are bad for the health. At the same time, United States ranks first among countries in soft drink consumption.

I think we need to know more about this drink that we love so much. And so here are 8 reasons why we drink soda:

1It's Very Tasty!

The taste could be one thing that gets us addicted to drinking soda, it is delicious. In fact, it is so good, that many people drink it with every meal!

2It's Everywhere!

Even if you wanted to drink something else, you would be hard-pressed to find it as prominently displayed in vending machines, at fast-food chains, and supermarket checkouts. You might not realize how ubiquitous Coke, Pepsi, and the like are in our society until you try to stop drinking soda.

3Convenience, "Grab-n-Go"!

The most addictive thing about soda is the convenience. If you want something quick or are in a hurry, it is so easy to grab and convenient to drink.


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4Promotion and Advertising

Soft drinks are heavily consumed in part because companies promote them vigorously - Billions of dollars are spend on advertising sodas - and market them everywhere - in stores, restaurants, gas stations, museums, and even schools.

5Soda Habit

For some people, drinking several sodas a day is a force of habit. You know drinking soda is a habit when you find yourself going to the grocery store at 10 p.m. because your refrigerator is tapped out.

6It Is Cheap

Soda may be pretty inexpensive when compared with fruit juice and milk. With combo meals, a large soda is only an extra dollar, and you get fries!

7Thirst

Often people drink soda to quench the thirst. However, this is probably the worst time to drink soda, because when you are very thirsty or dehydrated you have low levels of saliva. And saliva helps to neutralize acids (soda is the most acidic beverage you can buy) and wash your teeth clean.

8Caffeine Addiction

Many soft drinks contain caffeine and caffeine is mildly addictive. This fact is part of the reason soda is such a hard habit to break. If you're addicted to the caffeine in soda, you're really having two habits - the soda habit and the caffeine habit.


16 Reasons To Stop Drinking Soda

These were reasons why we drink soda and here are 16 powerful reasons to give up soda drinking.

Do you know the extent to which drinking carbonated, caffeinated, sugared, or artificially sweetened beverages harms your body? Giving up soft drinks can be one of the best things you can do to improve your health.

1Soda Is Useless.

First of all, there are no nutritionally beneficial components in soft drinks. Soft drinks mostly consist of filtered water and refined sugars. Yet the average American drinks about 57 gallons of soft drinks each year.

2Weight Gain & Obesity

Many people either forget or don't realize how many extra calories they consume in what they drink. Drinking a single 330 ml can a day of sugary drinks translates to more than 1lb of weight gain every month.

Several scientific studies have provided experimental evidence that soft drinks are directly related to weight gain. The relationship between soft drink consumption and body weight is so strong that researchers2 calculate that for each additional soda consumed, the risk of obesity increases 1.6 times.

According to the results of high quality study3 reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages helped reduce body mass index in the heaviest teenagers.

3Diabetes

This is a consequence of #2. Anything that promotes weight gain increases the risk of diabetes. Drinking soda not only contributes to making people fat, but it also stresses the body's ability to process sugar5. Some scientists now suspect that the sweet stuff may help explain why the number of Americans with type 2 diabetes has tripled from 6.6 million in 1980 to 20.8 million today.

Rapidly absorbed carbohydrates like high fructose corn syrup put more strain on insulin-producing cells than other foods. When sugar enters the bloodstream quickly, the pancreas has to secrete large amounts of insulin for the body to process it. Some scientists believe that the unceasing demands that a soda habit places on the pancreas may ultimately leave it unable to keep up with the body's need for insulin. Also, insulin itself becomes less effective at processing sugar; both conditions contribute to the risk of developing diabetes.

Interestingly, women who consumed a lot of fruit juice--which is high in natural fructose--were not at increased risk of diabetes, leading researchers to speculate that naturally occurring sugars may have different metabolic effects than added sugars. They also speculate that vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals in fruit juices may have a protective effect against weight gain and diabetes, counterbalancing the adverse effects of sugar.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School4 analyzed data from the Nurses' Health Study II, a trial tracking the health of more than 51,000 women. None of the participants had diabetes at the onset of the study in 1991. Over the following 8 years, 741 women were diagnosed with the disease. Researchers found that women who drank one or more sugary drinks a day gained more weight and were 83% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who imbibed less than once a month.

4Weakened Bones And Risk Of Osteoporosis

Frequent consumption of soft drinks may also increase the risk of osteoporosis,6 especially in people who drink soft drinks instead of calcium-rich milk7. High soda consumption (particularly cola15) in children poses a significant risk factor for impaired calcification of growing bones.

In the 1950s, children drank 3 cups of milk for every 1 cup of sugary drinks. Today that ratio is reversed: 3 cups of sugary drinks for every cup of milk. Tellingly, osteoporosis is a major health threat for 44 million Americans. Most experts now say that the real culprit is soda's displacement of milk in the diet, though some scientists believe that the acidity of colas may be weakening bones by promoting the loss of calcium.

5Dental Caries And Erosion

Soda eats up and dissolves the tooth enamel8. Researches9 say that soft drinks are responsible for doubling or tripling the incidence of tooth decay.

The acidity can dissolve the mineral content of the enamel, making the teeth weaker, more sensitive, and more susceptible to decay. Soda's acidity makes it even worse for teeth than the solid sugar found in candy.

Dental experts continue to urge that people drink less soda pop, especially between meals, to prevent tooth decay and dental erosion.

6Kidney Damage

People who down sugary drinks don't feel as full as those who consume the same amount of calories in solid food.
This theory was born out by researchers at Purdue University who, in 2000, gave 15 volunteers 450 calories a day of either soda or jelly beans for a month and then switched them for the next month, while monitoring their total calories. The candy eaters compensated for the extra calories by eating less food and maintained their weight; during the soda phase, the volunteers ate more and gained.

There is good evidence that cola beverages can increase the risk of kidney problems, more so than non-cola sodas.

Researches clearly demonstrated that large quantities of cola result in enhanced kidney stone formation16-17. If you're wondering exactly how soft drinks cause kidney stones, it's because of their acidity and radical mineral imbalances. Your body must buffer the acidity of soft drinks with calcium from your own bones. As this calcium is eliminated through your urine, it slowly forms kidney stones.

In a study published in the journal Epidemiology14, the team compared the dietary habits of 465 people with chronic kidney disease and 467 healthy people. After controlling for various factors, the team found that drinking two or more colas a day (whether artificially sweetened or regular) was linked to a twofold risk of chronic kidney disease.

7Increased Blood Pressure

Experts have reasons to believe that overconsumption of fructose, particularly in the form of soft drinks, leads to an increase in blood pressure22.

8Likely To Cause Heartburn

Soft drink consumption is a strong predictor of heartburn20-21.

9Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factor

Soft drink consumption is a significant risk factor for developing of metabolic syndrome18, a combination of the symptoms such as high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

10Harmful Effects On Liver

There is evidence that consumption of too many soft drinks puts you under increased risk for liver cirrhosis similar to what chronic alcoholics have19.

11Impaired Digestive System

Soda, no matter who makes it, is the most acidic beverage you can buy, with a pH of about 2.51, about the same as vinegar, but the sugar content disguises the acidity. To put that into perspective, consider that battery acid has a pH of 1 and pure water has a pH level of 7.

Interesting fact: A pH below 4 or above 10 will kill most fish and very few animals can tolerate waters with a pH below 3 or above 11.

Why does that matter? Throughout the digestive system, that starts from the mouth and ends up at the anus only the stomach can resist an acidic environment up to pH 2.0. But before the acidity of soft drink reaches the stomach it passes through all the other organs involved in the digestive system thus causing an abnormal acidic environment. The linings of the mouth, pharynx and esophagus are highly sensitive to acids.

The phosphoric acid present in soft drink competes with the hydrochloric acid of the stomach and affects its functions. When the stomach becomes ineffective, food remains undigested causing indigestion, gassiness or bloating (swelling of stomach).

12Dehydration

Another problem with sodas is that they act as dehydrating diuretics. Both caffeine and sugar cause dehydration.

Caffeine is a diuretic and causes an increase in urine volume. High concentration of sugar is drawing off water because your kidneys try to expel the excess sugar out of the blood. When you drink a caffeinated soda to quench your thirst, you will actually become thirstier.

13High Caffeine Content

Another advantage of avoiding sodas is that you will avoid the unnecessary caffeine. Soda drinks are a major source of caffeine in the American diet.

High doses of caffeine can cause irritability, restlessness, tension, insomnia, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disturbance, excessive urination, irregular heartbeat and other side effects.

14Toxins - Aspartame

If you think diet soda is better think again. The poison in diet soda is an artificial sweetener aspartame. Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. It is used because it's about 200 times sweeter than table sugar.

Despite US FDA approval as a "safe" food additive, aspartame is one of the most dangerous substances added to foods. After you drink an aspartame-sweetened product, aspartame breaks down into its starting components: phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol (that further converts to formaldehyde and formic acid, which are known carcinogens.). There are over 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption10-13.

15Possible Cell Damage Ability

A new health scare erupted over soft drinks recently amid evidence that they may cause serious cell damage. Research from a British university suggests a common preservative E211, known as sodium benzoate, found in drinks such as Fanta and Pepsi Max has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA.

Sodium benzoate occurs in small amounts naturally in berries, but is used in large quantities to prevent mould in soft drinks.

16There Are So Many Healthy Alternatives!

Soda replaces healthier drinks. By drinking soda, you cut the intake of fresh juices, milk, and even water and deprive yourself from essential vitamins and minerals.

  • Water. Water is the best drink in the world.
  • Tea. Any kind of tea - herbal, green or black - is rich in antioxidants, which were shown to protect the body form many health problems.
  • 100% Juice. Fruit juice can be also useful for flavoring your water and teas.
References
  • 1. Acids in Popular Sodas Erode Tooth Enamel LiveScience.com
  • 2. Harrington S. The role of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in adolescent obesity. J Sch Nurs. 2008 Feb;24(1):3-12. PubMed
  • 3. Ebbeling CB, Feldman HA, Osganian SK, Chomitz VR, Ellenbogen SJ, Ludwig DS. Effects of decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption on body weight in adolescents. Pediatrics. 2006 Mar;117(3):673-80. PubMed
  • 4. Schulze MB, Manson JE, Ludwig DS, Colditz GA, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Hu FB. Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in young and middle-aged women. JAMA. 2004 Aug 25;292(8):927-34. PubMed
  • 5. Montonen J, Ja"rvinen R, Knekt P, Helio"vaara M, Reunanen A. Consumption of sweetened beverages and intakes of fructose and glucose predict type 2 diabetes occurrence. J Nutr. 2007 Jun;137(6):1447-54.
  • 6. Tucker KL, Morita K, Qiao N, Hannan MT, Cupples LA, Kiel DP. Colas, but not other carbonated beverages, are associated with low bone mineral density in older women: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Oct;84(4):936-42. PubMed
  • 7. Kristensen M, Jensen M, Kudsk J, Henriksen M, M?lgaard C. Short-term effects on bone turnover of replacing milk with cola beverages. Osteoporos Int. 2005 Dec;16(12):1803-8. PubMed
  • 8. Owens BM, Kitchens M. The erosive potential of soft drinks on enamel surface substrate: an in vitro scanning electron microscopy investigation. J Contemp Dent Pract. 2007 Nov 1;8(7):11-20.
  • 9. Sohn W, Burt BA, Sowers MR. Carbonated soft drinks and dental caries in the primary dentition. J Dent Res. 2006 Mar;85(3):262-6. PubMed
  • 10. Walton RG, Hudak R, Green-Waite RJ. Adverse reactions to aspartame. Biol Psychiatry. 1993 Jul 1-15;34(1-2):13-7. PubMed
  • 11. Van den Eeden SK, Koepsell TD, Longstreth WT Jr, van Belle G, Daling JR, McKnight B. Aspartame ingestion and headaches. Neurology. 1994 Oct;44(10):1787-93. PubMed
  • 12. Gulya AJ, Sessions RB, Troost TR. Aspartame and dizziness. Am J Otol. 1992 Sep;13(5):438-42.
  • 13. Reported Aspartame Toxicity
  • 14. Saldana TM, Basso O, Darden R, Sandler DP. Carbonated beverages and chronic kidney disease. Epidemiology. 2007 Jul;18(4):501-6. PubMed
  • 15. Ma D, Jones G. Soft drink and milk consumption, physical activity, bone mass, and upper limb fractures in children. Calcif Tissue Int. 2004 Oct;75(4):286-91. PubMed
  • 16. Weiss GH, Sluss PM, Linke CA. Changes in urinary magnesium, citrate, and oxalate levels due to cola consumption. Urology. 1992 Apr;39(4):331-3. PubMed
  • 17. Rodgers A. Effect of cola consumption on urinary biochemical and physicochemical risk factors associated with calcium oxalate urolithiasis. Urol Res. 1999;27(1):77-81. PubMed
  • 18. Dhingra R, Sullivan L, Jacques PF, Wang TJ, Fox CS, Meigs JB, D'Agostino RB, Gaziano JM, Vasan RS. Soft drink consumption and risk of developing cardiometabolic risk factors and the metabolic syndrome in middle-aged adults in the community. Circulation. 2007 Jul 31;116(5):480-8. PubMed
  • 19. Zelber-Sagi S, Nitzan-Kaluski D, Goldsmith R, Webb M, Blendis L, Halpern Z, Oren R. Long term nutritional intake and the risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). J Hepatol. 2007 Nov;47(5):711-7. PubMed
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  • 22. Brown CM, Dulloo AG, Yepuri G, Montani JP. Fructose ingestion acutely elevates blood pressure in healthy young humans.

Published: 2009
Last updated: March 01, 2014

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