Is Soda Damaging Your Health?
We all know that sugar is bad for our health, yet studies have found that in the United States, adults still consume an average of 25 teaspoons a day in sugary beverages alone. That equals just over three cans of cola a day, which is just a drop in the bucket for some soda lovers.
According to Sudha Seshadri, neurology professor at Boston University School of Medicine and a faculty member at the universities Alzheimer’s Disease Center, and author of several articles on sugar’s effects on the body, “it looks like there is not very much of an upside to having sugary drinks, and substituting the sugar with artificial sweeteners doesn’t seem to help.”
Researchers have found that sugary drinks, such as soda, fruit juices, and energy drinks cause a number of health issues that go well beyond tooth decay and obesity.
It may be surprising, but there are links to:
► High blood pressure
► Cardiovascular illness
► Poor brain function
► Metabolism issues
► Depleted mineral levels that affect bone health
► Non-alcoholic fatty liver illness
One of the big problems with sugar is that when ingested, it releases dopamine in the brain much like drugs do. Health professionals agree that sugar is highly addictive, which makes it tough to limit consumption. So, what can you do to quit sugar and regain your health?
How to Ditch the Sugar Habit
According to Barry Popkin, Ph.D., and the director of the interdisciplinary obesity program at the University of North Carolina, switching from regular soda to diet soda isn’t the answer. According to experts, quitting comes down to a few steps.
Choose to quit. Just the simple act of making a choice can be enough for some soda drinkers, but others may also need to include getting educated on the adverse effects of soda on their health. There is no limit of information out there that can help you to learn more.
Reduce or eliminate caffeine. Many soda drinkers will tell you that their soda habit is how they get their caffeine. Like sugar, caffeine is an addictive substance so eliminating it or getting it through unsweetened tea or coffee can help you ditch soda and the sugar that comes with it.
Choose healthy alternatives. Sparkling waters are gaining popularity because there are some excellent ones that don’t include added sugars or sweeteners and they come in a variety of flavors as well. Switching out soda and replacing it with sparkling water is a big step toward choosing health.
Add fruit slices to your water. Fruit infused water tastes refreshing and adds a hint of fruit flavor to water. The best part is that it’s inexpensive and easy and by changing up the fruit, you change the taste of the water.
Getting real with sugar consumption is the first step in letting it go.
No one said it would be easy, but the many studies available show that there is no benefit to consuming it, especially in the large quantities that we do. Living a long healthy life comes down to the choices we make every day.
The health risks that come with consuming sugar are startling, to say the least. Tooth decay, heart problems, and weight gain are just a few of the issues you may face. Let me ask you, is it worth it?
Maria Pease, Health & Wellness Writer
Maria Pease is a freelance health & wellness content writer based in Southport, North Carolina. She has written about health & wellness for more than twenty-five years and has partnered with a variety of companies doing the most amazing work. She loves being able to write about health topics that can change lives for the better.