Listen to the audio
I remember as a kid I was told that if you poured cola on a car, it would rust the paint. Boy was my dad livid when I tested that theory on his car!
While drinking soft drinks is bad for the waistline and the teeth, regular consumption of soda can also be linked to diabetes, heart disease, asthma, COPD and obesity, as well as a litany of other health issues including, but certainly not limited to:
- Placing fat in weird places, but most commonly, the stomach.
- The caramel coloring in many soft drinks can cause cancer as it is an artificial food dye.
- All sodas (diet or regular) contain phosphates which can lead to heart and kidney failures, muscle loss and even accelerated aging.
- The phosphoric acid in soda can lead to osteoporosis (bone density loss) because it messes up the calcium/phosphorus buffer system in the body, making it more difficult to absorb calcium in the body.
- Brominated vegetable oil, found in many sodas, is known to cause memory loss and nerve disorders.
- The BPA in many soda cans can lead to a host of health issues including hormone imbalances.
What is BPA?You have probably seen aluminum cans and plastic bottles with labels that read “BPA Free.” Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical compound that is used to line plastic and aluminum containers. It has been linked to many health issues, including cancer, birth defects, heart disease, obesity, asthma, type II diabetes, infertility and behavior/neurodevelopmental disorders, including but not limited to ADD/ADHD. If you are buying canned foods and it does not have a “BPA Free” label on it, do not purchase that item. In a 2017 report, “Kicking the Can, Major Retailers Still Selling Canned Food with Toxic BPA” produced by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH), they found that 40% of the cans they tested contained trace amounts of BPA. That is down from 67% found in a 2015 study . . . but it is still way too risky! So what about cans that claim to be BPA free and even have the fancy label? There have been independent studies (none of which I have personally verified) where cans that have been labeled as “BPA Free” still had some trace amounts of BPA found in them. Additionally, there are other can linings in these BPA free cans that are also considered to be potentially harmful, including acrylic and polyester resins and polyvinyl chloride, better known as PVC.
- And… if the acidity in soda can rust paint, what do you think it will do to your gut?
Soda with Sugar
For regular sodas with sugar, keep in mind that there is an average of 10 teaspoons of table sugar in every can . . . and that is if you’re lucky! Most soda manufactured in the United States these days uses high fructose corn syrup . . . which is even worse.
Many people think that diet soda is much healthier for them since it does not contain sugar. However, there are good arguments for why these zero calorie beverages with artificial sweeteners can actually be worse for you, which I explain in great detail in my book.
To better understand the dangers of sugar, corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, click here to download Chapters 5-12 and 5-13 from my book for free. (I will eventually create a Wellness Wiki on these important topics.)
If you are drinking soda because you need a caffeine boost, click here to get my free guide on Freeing Yourself from Caffeine Addiction.
People ask me about whether or not they should drink non-flavored carbonated water. It appears that current research does not support the notion that it poses any health risks. That said, carbonated water is more acidic (pH of 4.5) than tap water, which is regulated at a more alkaline pH, ranging from 6.5 to 8.5. Research also indicates that consuming acidic beverages will not affect the body’s internal pH, which hovers around 7.4 because the kidneys and lungs help regulate pH levels. While I do not have the research to back up my “gut” feeling on this, I prefer to consume water in its most natural form and not require my body to work any harder than it needs to. After all, it is understood that disease thrives in acidic environments, so why take the chances? All in all, I do not think that drinking plain carbonated water regularly will cause anyone harm. However, if it is the predominate form that water is consumed for an individual, I would raise a caution flag for that person and recommend non-carbonated water as well.
7 Strategies That Help You Break Free from Soda Addiction
Soda habits are difficult to conquer because sugar and high fructose corn syrup are highly addictive. Whether you feel it is a good idea to quit soda for yourself or your child, these strategies can get you there. And good luck if you drink soda yourself and you want your kid to stop… remember, kids play follow the leader!
1 Evaluate your soda habit. How often do you reach for your favorite pop drink? Do you have it with every meal and snack? The first step to breaking an unhealthy soda habit is to evaluate your drinks throughout the week to discover how much of your liquid intake is soda. With this information, you can create a plan to make some changes.
2 Understand the health risks. Studying the health risks (some of which are shown in this Wellness Wiki) can encourage you to stop drinking soda. Studies have linked soda directly to obesity, diabetes, and tooth enamel erosion. These sweet drinks also have a negative impact on your bones. If you drink a large amount of soda, then you’re more likely to have brittle bones.
3 Start with realistic expectations. It’s easier to eliminate soda with a slower process. Although you may be tempted to try going cold turkey, studies show that this is more likely to make you cheat and start drinking soda again. The addictive power of soda means it’s easier to eliminate by using a process that cuts it down slowly. If you have soda three times a day, then start the process by cutting it down to two times a day. Then, drink it once a day. Next, you can drink it every other day until it’s gone.
4 Mix your soda with water. As you work on eliminating it completely from your diet, you can fight the soda habit by mixing it with water. This makes the drink less sugary, so your body will start to get used to drinks with a smaller amount of sugar.
5 Find tasty alternatives. It’s easier to break a soda habit if you replace it with a delicious and different drink. Water is usually recommended as the alternative to drinking soda. However, if you can’t stand the taste of water for whatever reason, then you can dress it up with fruit, flavor drops, powders, and mixes. Non-caffeinated herbal teas can even be a fun change. Another example of a beverage that can substituted for soda is Treo. I learned about Treo from my brother in law who works for the company. Treo is all organic, low in sugar, non-caffeinated and tastes great! (And no, I don’t receive any commissions if you buy from them – maybe I’ll get some extra hugs though.)
6 Fight soda cravings. These cravings aren’t easy to handle, but you can work on them. If you have a craving for soda, try drinking an entire glass of water to fight it. Water can make you feel full and may eliminate the craving. At first, you can also try natural fruit juices and smoothies to fight the craving because it may be based on your addiction to sugar. Although these alternatives also have sugar, they’re healthier options and have vitamins.
7 Avoid the usual triggers. Do you always drink soda with your favorite takeout meal or while at the movie theater? Do you buy a soda each time you go past your favorite vending machine? To change your habits, it’s important to avoid the triggers that motivate you. Instead of ordering a soda with your usual takeout, consider making a healthy smoothie at home. If avoiding the vending machine is difficult, then try buying bottled water instead of soda or ask a friend to hold you accountable.
You can overcome a soda habit by taking control of your lifestyle. Soon, you’ll be used to the change and feel better than you may have in years! Your body will thank you for making such a healthy decision.