I have been on a personal war with soda for years. It’s something my kids beg for and I feel like some food Nazi when I deny them. “You will thank me for this someday!” echos through my house as they stomp down the halls. The fact is, I really do think they will thank me some day. Now, it’s not as though the never get pop. I just limit their intake.
Why? I am not trying to make soda “evil” or equate it with poison, but lets take a look at the facts…
*According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database, a 12-ounce can of cola has 33 grams of sugar (think 8 as in E-I-G-H-T teaspoons of sugar!) and about 136 calories. That sugar intake is equal to:
*three servings of Frosted Flakes breakfast cereal
*one slice of pecan pie
*one cup of chocolate ice cream
FYI – A typical 16-ounce bottle of cola – That bottle has 44 grams sugar, or about 11 teaspoons of sugar.
*Consuming large amounts of rapidly digested sugar and high fructose corn syrup causes a spike in blood sugar and insulin, which can lead to inflammation and insulin resistance, both of which may increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer.
*The “Diabetes Care” journal revealed that drinking just one sweetened beverage per day also increases the risk for type 2 diabetes by more than 25 percent, as reported by “U.S. News & World Report.”
*The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 450 calories from sugar sweetened beverages per week (the amount in three cans of cola). Again…that is a maximum of 3 cans a WEEK.
Judy Greer and her guest break down diet sodas and options you can kick the habit with on her web series, Reluctantly Healthy.
What about Diet Pop? Good question! I asked. It’s currently a matter of opinion. Regular cola is packed with sugar, diet sodas are packed with other additives and chemicals that cause other major health issues. “It’s like trying to decide which is worse: stroke/cancer or heart disease/kidney failure. One is not “better” for you than the other. They are both harmful to your health.”
*In an 11-year-long Harvard Medical School study of more than 3,000 women, researchers found that diet cola is associated with a two-fold increased risk for kidney decline.
*University of Minnesota study found that even just one diet soda a day is linked to a 34% higher risk of metabolic syndrome which drastically increases your risk for heart disease.
*University of Texas Health Science Center study deduced that drinking just two or more cans a day increased waistlines by 500%. Thank the power of artificial sweeteners. They can disrupt the body’s natural ability to regulate calorie intake and encourage you to overeat.
*They also contain mold inhibitors (labeled as sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate) that cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it. The preservative has also been linked to hives, asthma, and other allergic conditions, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Water, milk, green tea, and natural fruit juices are your best bet. Yes, I know they are packed with sugar but they are packed with antioxidants your cola doesn’t have. Limit fruit juices and avoid the word “cocktail” when at the grocery. Look at the labels! If there are additives and things you can’t pronounce on that ingredients list…put it back. You can also water down natural juices to limit your serving intake of sugars.
Water is the best by far. Smash up a lemon, float a slice of cucumber or crush some fresh mint to give yourself a real treat! Tea is another great alternative. Just don’t load it down with sugar. Try a sweetener. I can hear my Aunt Yetta crying out, “BUT IT DOESN’T TASTE THE SAME!”
The answer – detox your taste buds. You may have grown a tolerance by loading your teas, coffees and other beverages with so much sweetener or sugar. Studies suggest that regular consumption of artificial sweeteners like aspartame (found in diet sodas) may actually lead to weight gain, says Rachel Beller, RD, founder of the Beller Nutritional Institute. Slowly wean yourself off of adding multiple packets of your sugar substitute. Start by eliminating a pack per drink for a week, then eliminate another pack per drink for a week and continue until you are using a healthy amount.
My friend recently quit pop and suffered headaches and grouchiness. You might go through the same thing, but as suggested. Detox. You are going through withdrawal and it is normal. Keep it up and soon…this too shall pass.
Trust me, you’ll thank me later.