Soft Drinks: Liquid Poison?

In Texas, we call Coke, Sprite and all other fizzy, canned sugary drinks “soft drinks.” Why we call them “soft drinks” when they can completely eat away at a penny or a tooth if left in a cup of it, I will never know! The bottom line is never, ever drink cokes, diet cokes or any other soft drinks. They are poison in a can. I am a former diet coke addict and used to drink literally 6 cans of diet coke a day and come from a family where my mother lived off Tab! But, have you ever looked at the label? If you can’t understand the majority of the ingredients you should not be putting it into your mouth!

The United States per capita consumption of soft drinks has risen to 49 gallons per year and the per capita sugar intake per person has risen to 149 pounds per person per year! Never have we seen such a record number of cases of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer and other degenerative diseases not only in adults but in children!

Not only does the sugar and calories in all this soda lead to weight gain but the sugar contained in these drinks erodes teeth. Additionally, the caffeine in these drinks contributes to sleep problems and also acts as a diuretic shepherding yet more beneficial nutrients out of the body.

Ok, so you say, I will just drink “diet” or I will drink “diet and caffeine-free.” I have a few clients who fess up to using diet cokes as a way to stave off eating. The problem with this is that in both diet and regular cokes, the phosphates block the absorption of calcium and leach alkaline minerals from the body. It is very important for women that we get adequate amounts of calcium in our diet so that our bone density levels do not erode, which can ultimately lead to osteoporosis. It is also crucial for children to get adequate levels of calcium and other vital minerals while their bodies are growing and developing!

Drinking diet drinks is no better for you (and may be even worse)! Aspartame found in diet soft drinks has been linked to birth defects, brain cancer, arthritis, emotional disorders, diabetes and epilepsy. When methyl alcohol, a component of aspartame, enters your body, it turns into formaldehyde, a toxic and carcinogenic substance. Sure you would have to drink a lot to have those consequences but just think of the effect that these drinks still cause to your body.

Researchers have also found a correlation between drinking diet soft drinks and metabolic syndrome- the collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes that include abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and blood glucose levels and elevated blood sugar.

Lastly, the more soft drinks you drink, the less water and other healthy drinks such as fresh fruits and vegetable juices that you will consume! And, water helps flush toxins out of the body and keeps us hydrated and healthy.

Most of have difficulty giving up cokes for a variety of reasons such as an addiction to caffeine, patterns of behavior, and what I call the “fizzy factor.” Try to pinpoint why you are reaching for the coke. If it is out of habit, perhaps another healthy snack or beverage will do. If it is because you need the boost of caffeine in the afternoon, perhaps you can substitute a green tea latte or, even better, find ways to slow down. Are you fueling your day with a caffeine or soft drink addiction? If it is just out of habit or you need a snack at a certain time, try having a fresh fruit or vegetable juice, a cup of yogurt or even a few squares of chocolate for your afternoon lull. Read my article on “How to Give Up the Afternoon Latte or Sugar Binge and Stop Your Fluctuating Blood Sugar Levels and Mood Swings to learn more about why you are reaching for one in the first place. And, lastly, if you are craving a fizzy drink mix your favorite fruit juice or crush fresh berries and mix with Perrier- a very refreshing and uplifting alternative!

There is nothing healthy or nutritious about soft drinks and they are something I recommend everyone eradicate from their diets!



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