There are always plenty of articles and news clips about sodas, usually, sandwiched in between other the latest tidbits about your health, dieting, and whatever the current fitness fad is, but they don’t often go into the details that provide a real enough purpose for quitting altogether. Whether you’re focused on regular soda or diet beverages, each of these variations of some of the worlds most popular beverages have health risks that aren’t always discussed — but they should be.
First off, when it comes to both types of soda, regular and diet alike, they both contain a significant amount of acid. This acid is bad for your teeth and can cause premature deterioration of the enamel, as well as cause problems with your gums. In addition, excess acid contained in sodas can cause stomach and gastrointestinal problems; and, while a little indigestion may not seem like a serious issue, the excess acid may actually end up giving you ulcers or persistent problems with acid reflux. Once you have these conditions, they may become permanent, even if you quit drinking what started it all in the first place. In addition, when the acid is paired with the carbonation in the sodas, it can contribute to serious IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) problems over the long term.
Aside from the health conditions cause by excess acid and carbonation, there are a number of diseases that may be exacerbated by the consumption of significant amounts of sugar — one of the primary ingredients in regular sodas. While people may think that avoiding the chemical sugar substitutes is better, regular sodas still contain loads of sugar that can lead to problems with obesity (where heart disease, risk of stroke and joint problems arise), as well as put you at risk for developing diabetes. Of course, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is also increased risk of gallbladder and liver diseases, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, infertility (mostly in women), sleep apnea, and some cancers, like breast, colon, and endometrial cancer, and that’s just a few of them.
Then there is the false sense of security that you get by drinking diet sodas. The truth is, that chemicals in the sugar substitutes actually trick the brain into thinking it is actually getting sugar. So, even though you are not physically consuming the calories you might when you consume regular soda, your body still thinks it is getting it. This causes increased food cravings, and causes an imbalance in your bodies natural processes when it releases additional insulin to help balance out your blood sugar, which actually hadn’t increased at all. The ironic thing about diet sodas is that often diabetics will drink them occasionally in lieu of a sugary drink, however, diet drinks may also be a contributing factor to obtaining type 2 diabetes later in life. You can’t win either way there. Plus, man-made sugar substitutes have a whole host of problems of their own, including: for aspartame, it has been linked to fibromyalgia, attention deficit disorder, brain cancer and arthritis; for sucralose, it has been linked to issues with pregnancy in lab animals, as well as the fact that it may contain a significant amount of arsenic; and for saccharin, it has been know to cause cancer in laboratory animals.
Soda might take refreshing and delicious, but there are so many reasons not to drink it that it’s hard to make an argument in favor of continuing the habit. Whether you decide to quit to help your weight loss, or for your overall health, it may be time to give up soda for good.
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