soda and health

Soda and Health

With obesity rates rising in North America and other parts of the world, good nutrition is becoming a hotter topic than ever.

At the center of the debates about good health and nutrition is one long-time culprit – soda pop.

Despite the insanely high levels of sugar in the original brands, the recent advent of “diet” and “zero calorie” soda options has kept the debate about soda alive and well.

So what’s the truth about soda and health? Should you be concerned? And if so, how concerned should you be?

The Bottom Line on Soda and Health

When it comes down to it, there’s no doubt about it that the original soda options on the market are inconsistent with a healthy lifestyle.

And the reason for this is sugar. In one can (12 oz / 355 mL) of Coca Cola, for example, there are a whopping 39 grams of sugar. Grab one of those 590 mL (20 oz) bottles instead, and you’re looking at 65 grams of sugar. Like Mountain Dew? Well, you’re looking at about double this amount of sugar. And here’s the real killer people – there are 4 calories in 1 gram of sugar!

I’m not going to beat around the issue – this is a staggering amount of sugar for such a small part of your daily intake. Think about it. Combine this amount of sugar with the rest of your meal (or whatever you’re drinking your soda with), and you’re up to a crazy amount of calories. The problem is that most of these sugar calories, in such a large quantity, are just going to be converted to fat.

Government health departments are finally catching on to this problem. A number of public health campaigns have been launched all over Canada and the United States, aimed at exposing the high-calorie and high-sugar counts in soda, many juices, and even sports drinks. Although the beverage companies are obviously ticked off, experts note that some age groups (like teenagers) get up to 20% of their daily calories from soft drinks and soda alone!

A deeper explanation on this is that sugar causes a spike in your insulin and endorphin levels.  This causes our body to store the sugar as fat, and also causes an addiction in the sugar to keep our endorphin levels high.  From this alone you can see just how damaging soda can really be.

What about Diet Soda?

Many of you may think that going with diet or zero calorie soda options is the obvious solution to this problem. And it’s true that you’ll avoid the calories and high amounts of refined sugar, but the problem with diet soda is a funny one. All those artificial sweeteners? Well, research is showing that they’re pretty bad for you too.

In addition to finding connections with cancer, mood disorders, vision problems, and birth defects, artificial sweeteners have also been shown to hinder weight loss. The problem with aspartame and similar products is that they make it more difficult to control sugar levels (meaning it’s also bad for people with diabetes). In the end, they’ll increase feelings of hunger and cause havoc on your dieting efforts.

Soda and Health – Conclusion

You get where I’m going here – cut out the soda, diet or otherwise. If your goal is to lose weight or simply live a healthy lifestyle, soda is going to get in the way of those efforts.

If you’re looking to replace your daily soda with something healthy and nutritious, consider this whole foods protein supplement – Vega Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer. It’s full of healthy vitamins and minerals, fiber, and protein to support a healthy lifestyle.

Here is one trick I also like, mixing a ton of ice and water with the zero calorie amino acid recovery drink Scivation Xtend just like a slurpee, so yummy and a good break away from water.

Another smart alternative is just cutting up some cucumber and fresh mint and filling a pitcher with ice water for the fridge.  You can be even more creative and add lemon or lime juice or even a splash of fresh orange juice.  In the end the number of calories you save will be very much worth the effort.

Have any questions or feedback about soda and health? Please leave a comment below…