Soda pop dominates our culture. The average American drinks 57 gallons a year. It’s served in nearly every restaurant, stocked in the cooler of every gas station, you’ll find it in vending machines in hospitals and on posters adorning the walls of almost every athletic event. But the stuff has a ton of calories and is bursting with artificial sweeteners and doesn’t really quench thirst very well. And if it can’t even quench thirst well, why in the world would you drink it? It defeats the purpose of having a drink.
When you are very thirsty or dehydrated you have low levels of saliva. Saliva helps to neutralize acids, but soda is the most acidic beverage you can purchase. Drinking soda actually makes you more thirsty, which makes you want to drink more.
I feel kind of blessed that I can’t stand the way it tastes, so I’m not tempted by its omnipresent fizzy sweetness. If you are, here are five reasons to quit drinking the stuff.
1. Linked to Obesity
Drinking a can of soda every day can lead to one pound of weight gain per month.
2. Linked to Strokes
Today, the Cleveland Clinic tweeted that drinking a soda a day can increase your risk of stroke by 16%. They also did a 2012 study with Harvard where researchers found that soda consumption was correlated to stroke risk.
3. Linked to Depression
A recent study out of Emory University found a link between depressive behavior and high fructose corn syrup, especially in teens. Fructose can stimulate neural pathways that affect the way that the brain reacts to stress. And the stress can turn into depression or anxiety. You may say “hey, juice has fructose.” And you’re right. Here’s some pertinent information about that.
High-fructose corn syrup and sucrose are both compounds that contain the simple sugars fructose and glucose, but there at least two clear differences between them. First, sucrose is composed of equal amounts of the two simple sugars — it is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose — but the typical high-fructose corn syrup used in this study features a slightly imbalanced ratio, containing 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose. Larger sugar molecules called higher saccharides make up the remaining 3 percent of the sweetener. Second, as a result of the manufacturing process for high-fructose corn syrup, the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and unbound, ready for absorption and utilization. In contrast, every fructose molecule in sucrose that comes from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized.
This creates a fascinating puzzle. The rats in the Princeton study became obese by drinking high-fructose corn syrup, but not by drinking sucrose. The critical differences in appetite, metabolism and gene expression that underlie this phenomenon are yet to be discovered, but may relate to the fact that excess fructose is being metabolized to produce fat, while glucose is largely being processed for energy or stored as a carbohydrate, called glycogen, in the liver and muscles.
It’s like nitrate. If you eat nitrate in a plant it’s good for you. But if you stick it in meat. It gets all angry.
4. Linked to Endothelial Damage
Again, the Cleveland Clinic, those soda-pop haters, had this to say about what soda does.
The sugar in sugar-sweetened sodas may increase blood glucose and increase insulin. Over time, these may lead to glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and inflammation. Those changes in turn influence atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in arteries), plaque stability and thrombosis (clot formation), a risk factor for strokes caused by blockage of an artery.
5. Healthier Things to Drink
There are healthier things to drink out there. Stuff that quenches thirst and builds you up instead of tearing you down. If you like energy, try Peak Endurance. If you want to get a large battery of vitamins and mineral, then BarleyLife is your drink.