A recent study done by the American Journal of Public Health claimed that drinking soda would age you as much as smoking does. While this theory has been somewhat debunked, a couple conversations with nutrition experts around the area have given us some information on why soda is actually bad for you, even if it’s not as bad as smoking.
The one thing that Sarah Easlick, assistant director of food/nutrition and clinical nutrition manager for McLaren Flint said might cause a relation between cigarettes and soda is the addiction aspect of the two. “Like the cigarette, many people are ‘addicted’ to their pop of choice. I myself used to be a ‘diet cokaholic’ until I developed ulcers and could not tolerate the pop anymore,” Easlick said.
“The obvious negative health benefit would be the increased calories that these beverages provide,” said Easlick. Soda is full of simple sugar calories and it does not provide vitamins, minerals or protein. That makes it a source of empty calories.
“Another issue that many people also do not think about is the effect of the sugar on their teeth,” said Easlick. “Most people do not brush their teeth after drinking a pop and so the acid and acid sugar byproduct residue is in your mouth working on breaking down the enamel on your teeth.”
It’s not just the sugar in soda that is bad for your teeth. Even diet soda is acidic, and according to a blog on Linden area dentist Dr. Patricia McGarry’s website, the acids in all sodas erode teeth. In fact, she compared it to bathing your teeth in battery acid.
According to information on WebMD, both diet and regular soda cause a risk of obesity. That means that switching to diet soda to lose weight isn’t the answer.
Easlick also pointed out the affects of caffeine in soda. Caffeine is an addictive substance. “Intake of caffeine contributes to sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is linked to obesity. It is a vicious cycle,” she said.
Marjie Andrejciw from Marjie’s Gluten-Free Pantry also pointed out one of the troublesome ingredients in soda. Sweetened pop contains high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). “HFCS contains traces of mercury which is a heavy metal,” Andrejciw said. “HFCS really wreaks havoc with your blood sugar levels because it is such a simple sugar (just fructose) that it “burns” (is metabolized really fast) and causes oxidative stress (think free radicals) which age you.” She also pointed out that HFCS pull the nutrients from your body, which can age you prematurely.
Your body on sweetened soda
• Within the first 10 minutes, 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. This is 100 percent of your recommended daily intake, and the only reason you don’t vomit because of the overwhelming sweetness is that phosphoric acid cuts the flavor.
• Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat.
• Within 40 minutes, caffeine absorption is complete; your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream.
• Around 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain — a physically identical response to that of heroin.
• After 60 minutes, you’ll start to have a sugar crash.
Your body on diet soda
• Mood: Four or more cans of diet soda a day make you 30 percent more likely to develop depression.
• Teeth: Three or more diet sodas a day raises your risk of tooth decay.
• Heart: A daily diet soda increases heart attack risk by 43 percent.
• Metabolic Syndrome: Consumption of daily diet soda raises the risk of metabolic syndrome by 36 percent, which increases the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
• Kidneys: Drinking just two diet sodas a day doubles your risk of kidney disease, in women.
• Weight: Every daily serving of diet soda increases your risk of obesity by 41 percent.
• Diabetes: Just one diet soda a day increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by 67 percent.