Dr. Joseph Mercola says that reducing your intake of sugar is one of the simplest steps you can take to improve your health. But the simplest steps are often the hardest, especially if you’re fond of sugary beverages like soda.
Americans chug about 49.78 billion liters of soft drinks per year – that’s about 216 liters or 57 gallons per person. It’s easy to give in to the temptation to drink soda because carbonated drinks are everywhere – fast food drive-thru’s, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, and vending machines.
Soda is one of the worst drinks you can consume. It takes only an hour for your body to feel the harmful effects of drinking a Coke or Pepsi. Within 10 minutes, 10 teaspoons of sugar – in the form of high fructose corn syrup – hit your bloodstream. This is already 100 percent of your recommended daily intake. The sugar overload doesn’t make you vomit because soda contains phosphoric acid, which cuts the flavor.
Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes. Your liver reacts to the resulting insulin burst by converting massive amounts of sugar into fat. In another 20 minutes, your body finishes absorbing caffeine. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your liver pumps more sugar into your bloodstream.
In about 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain – similar to the effect of heroin. But then after 60 minutes, you start to have a sugar crash.
This is what happens within an hour. Dr. Mercola warns that regular consumption of soda may lead to more serious health concerns. Here are 12 more reasons why you should quit drinking soda:
1. Cancer – A study showed a strong link between the growing number of soda drinkers and the accelerated rate of throat cancer. Plus, soda is loaded with sugar, which feeds cancer, Dr. Mercola points out.
2. Diabetes – Soda impairs your body’s ability to process sugar, increasing your risk of diabetes by 85 percent.
3. Digestive issues – Drinking soda, especially on an empty stomach, can upset the fragile acid-alkaline balance of your digestive system. This can lead to inflammation of your stomach and duodenal lining and gastrointestinal distress.
4. DNA damage – Sodium benzoate, a common preservative found in many soft drinks, can switch off vital parts of DNA, which could lead to Parkinson’s disease.
5. Heartburn and acid reflux – Carbonated beverages are very acidic and deliver a lot of air in the form of carbon dioxide, which is associated with reflux.
6. Heart disease – Research shows that drinking more than one soft drink per day may increase your risk of developing metabolic syndrome–a group of symptoms including central obesity, elevated blood pressure, fasting blood sugar, and fasting triglycerides, and low levels of high-density lipoprotein. You increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes when you have three or more of these symptoms.
7. High blood pressure – Both regular and diet soda can cause an increase in blood pressure. African American teenagers who consume soft drinks are at risk from hypertension.
8. Kidney problems – Soda contains high amounts of phosphoric acid which is known to cause kidney stones.
9. Liver damage – Drinking too much soda increases your risk of liver cirrhosis. Drinking two or more sodas per day may double your risk of chronic liver disease.
10. Obesity – There’s no question about it: soda is a contributor to obesity. If you drink a 12 ounce can of soda per day, you’ll gain a pound of extra weight every month. Studies show that for every additional soda consumed, you increase your risk of obesity by 1.6 times.
11. Osteoporosis and weak bones – Phosphoric acid may also lower calcium levels and increase phosphate levels in the blood. When phosphate levels are high and calcium levels are low, your bones are depleted of calcium. High soda consumption can also impair the calcification of growing bones in children.
12. Tooth decay – Soda destroys your tooth enamel. The acidity of soda is more harmful to your teeth than the sugar found in candy.