Carbonated soft drinks are the single biggest source of calories in the American diet, providing about 7 percent of our total caloric intake. Adding non-carbonated drinks to this figure, it rises to a whopping 9 percent.
Is it any wonder that obesity and sugar diabetes has become such a serious concern to professionals working in the health sector?
The average daily intake of 10 to 15 teaspoons of refined sugar (mostly high-fructose corn syrup) typically in one can of pop, roughly equal the government’s recommended limits for sugar consumption from all foods.
In an effort to combat this trend, many people are switching to fruit drinks, sports drinks, and iced tea. Unfortunately, they also contain large amounts of sugar adding calories to the diet of unsuspecting consumers.
Soft drink manufacturers facing concerned parents and lobbyist began producing diet sodas in a variety of flavors and people watching their waistlines quickly jumped aboard the fast moving train. This was the panacea they were seeking: There was no need to give up the soda addiction!
However, soft drinks are a problem not only for what they contain, but for what they push out of the diet. As we move into adulthood, we tend to choose other beverages over milk. The drop in calcium can increase the risk of osteoporosis, which is a serious disease usually worsening as we age. Strong healthy bones built in our youth go a long way toward protecting us from this debilitating condition.
The next time you reach for soft drink, consider the following:
- The excess sugar contributes towards excess weight, which in turn can cause type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.
- People consuming soft drinks frequently may also be at a higher risk of kidney stones and a slightly higher risk of heart disease.
- Caffeine, which is added to many of the most popular soft drinks, is a mildly addictive, stimulant drug. It also slightly increases the excretion of calcium.
- Artificial colorings in sodas also cause hives, asthma, and other allergic reactions in a small number of individuals.
- Dental experts continue to urge that people drink less soda pop, especially between meals, to prevent tooth decay (due to the sugars) and dental erosion (due to the acids).
The empty calories of soft drinks are likely contributing to health problems, particularly overweight and obesity. Eliminating soda from your diet is a big step toward building a healthier body.