Better Health: Soda Story Goes – Reasons to Quit Soft Drinks
In our hearts and minds we know it to be true that soft drinks or sodas aren’t good for us. They can seem really refreshing on a hot day, or just be a regular habit. Since they were first marketed way back in the early 1800’s, Americans have been sipping the fizzy drinks. Soda is one of the most consumed beverages in the United States, second only to water. Americans guzzle 57 gallons of soda per person every year.
A recent national Gallup poll found that 48% of Americans drink one or more glasses of soda per day, and 7% reporting that they drink four or more sodas per day.
Much has been written about the early “medicinal” ingredients of carbonated beverages, once mixed by pharmacists who added such things as strychnine, cannabis, morphine, opium, heroin, and a new miracle compound called cocaine. During Prohibition, as temperance groups rallied against alcohol, the backlash against booze helped drive tee totaling customers into American soda fountains. In 1919, the year before Prohibition took effect; there were already 126,000 soda fountains in the United States, far exceeding the number of bars and nightclubs today. These days, those drugs are no longer in commercial sodas, but with all the chemicals in them, how bad could they be?
Here are some good reasons to kick the habit, at least mostly.
New research suggests that too much soda can shorten our lifespan. A recent study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has revealed that drinking soda frequently can shorten the length of telomeres within white blood cells, which can be used as a predictor for human lifespan.
“Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence disease development, not only by straining the body’s metabolic control of sugars, but also through accelerated cellular aging of tissues,” Dr. Elissa Epel, professor of psychiatry at UCSF and senior author of the study, said in a statement.
Most commercial sodas use high fructose corn syrup, which is a cheap replacement for regular cane sugar. High fructose corn syrup has been associated with increased risk of metabolic syndrome, which leads to diabetes and heart disease.
Bones and Teeth
Phosphoric acid is a corrosive agent found in fertilizers, soaps, polishes and dyes. It’s also found in cola! You can even use cola to clean your car’s chrome. Generally, people who drink soda get less calcium and more phosphorous, heading drinkers toward osteoporosis (bone density loss).
Sugary drinks also contribute to plaque buildup, cavities, gingivitis and can dissolve teeth if you leave one in a glass full.
Sugary sodas incrementally increase blood sugar, increasing risk for dementia and interfering with the brain’s ability to create memories. If you’re a diet drinker, the aspartame in your soda can contribute to headaches, blurry eyes and memory issues.
The FDA has linked aspartame to severe depression. Clinical depression affects about 6.7 percent of adults in the U.S. every year. Aspartame increases this risk by up to 36 percent! If you persistently feel sad or worthless and lose interest in activities that once held interest for you, it may be time to give up the soda — and seek medical guidance.
When we eat sugar, the pleasure hormone dopamine is released in the brain. Your brain is hardwired to seek out activities that release dopamine. Activities that release huge amounts are obviously especially desirable. This is actually how addictive drugs like cocaine work, and the reason people can become dependent on them. Many studies suggest that sugar, and processed junk foods in general, can have similar effects.
For certain people with a predisposition to addiction, this causes reward-seeking behavior typical of addiction to abusive drugs. This is also known as food addiction. While addiction is harder to pinpoint in people, many folks consume sugary drinks in a pattern that is typical for other addictive, abusive substances.
Researchers have shown that replacing sugary sodas with water will decrease that bulge around your middle. For those who drink diet soda, a study from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center found that people who drink diet soda have a 70 percent greater increase in their waistlines than non-drinkers. Over the course of 9.5 years, those who drank frequently — two or more diet sodas per day — experienced 500 percent more growth in their waistlines than those who didn’t.
Time to give it a break. Soda is rotting your teeth, making you depressed and forgetful, and cutting years off your life. Try some iced tea (non-sweetened), milk or just some clean, cool, clear water. You’ll be glad you did.
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