Many times, we passively order a soda when we go out to eat or down a bottle while watching our favorite Dutch win MIAA championships. A large CocaCola with our McDonald’s burger; why not? Let’s unpack some of the reasons that maybe a soda really isn’t your best option.
The majority of people already know that soda is not the healthiest thing and contains lots of sugar, but most don’t realize just how bad soda is. Now, it’s one thing to drink a soda every once in a while, and it’s a whole different thing to be consuming this sugary beverage daily or even weekly. These sugar-filled beverages account for the largest amount of added sugars in the country. And, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, 25,000 obesity-related deaths were linked to sugar-filled drinks. Plus, the American Journal of Public Health says that a soda a day can age you by over four years.
The consumption of sugar is not just in regular soda drinks, but weight gain is also connected to diet drinks, according to the University of Texas Health Science Center. Even the coloring of some sodas contains dangerous toxins linked to cancer.
Have you ever heard of a substance called brominated vegetable oil or BVO? Probably not. But BVO is what they use in drinks like Mountain Dew to keep the flavor from separating from other ingredients in the drink. It’s also used as a flame retardant in plastics. Look at that: multi-functional! It also can have negative impacts on memory and nerve functioning.
Likewise, within the first few sips of soda, we have already consumed over 100 percent of our daily value of sugar, which means that we can’t consume any more sugar all day if we want to stay in a healthy range of sugar consumption. Plus, we would actually vomit from the amount of sugar consumed in such a short period of time. If you don’t believe this, imagine eating about 10 teaspoons straight of sugar. However, thanks to added phosphoric acid, our bodies are able to down the sugar without even thinking much about it.
Drinking soda also causes our body to release insulin to combat the elevated levels of glucose. It’s actually pretty cool how our bodies are able to quickly recognize and respond to the increased spike in glucose levels from the added sugar, but the problem is that insulin is not a one-job hormone. Unfortunately, in this case, insulin also tells our body to store glucose as glycogen if we already have enough energy. Therefore, those nine other teaspoons of sugar are now stored in our bodies as glycogen. However, once the body stores as much glycogen as it needs, excess turns into fat.
So the next time you reach for a bottle of soda, maybe rethink that option. Even a fruity sports drink or juice box is a better alternative to soda. Every so often a soda won’t do too much damage, but when in doubt, your best option is to order something else.
Although soda can taste super yummy, and sometimes filling up on a nice slurpee in the summer is what we really want on a hot day, there can be many negative impacts in the longrun. Really, health is a lot about portions. That much sugar will never be good for us, but if you don’t find it to be part of your regular or daily diet, it’s okay to have something not-so-healthy every so often. Just like anything else we ingest, it’s important to be aware of the potential problems that could result if the junk becomes a habit.
To kick the habit, slowly start replacing the super sugar-filled drinks. Even juice is a healthier option, but a lot of juice can contain tons of added sugar and artificial sweeteners. Read the labels and be conscious that even though not all sugar is bad sugar, it’s probably safer to buy a drink that contains less grams. Maybe it’s time to start saying bye to soda.