Enjoy a cold soft drink or two during the day? You are not alone. I too crave and can down a can in no time. More recently, though, my partner started to subtlety encourage me to dramatically decrease my consumption or to give it up altogether. My response?
“But it tastes so good!”
I know the drawbacks to the drink, but it has me hooked. A Diet Dr. Pepper in the morning instead of coffee. A few more during the day to keep me going. Pepsi rolled out the old school Throwback with real sugar last year and I continue to find it on the store shelves. Tough to ignore such a sweet taste.
I’ve gained a little weight, don’t drink enough water and consume that terrible phenylalanine that might not do good things to my body. So what? I am awake and alert while typing this out. Diet Dr. Pepper by my side.
Well, Rodale’s Emily Main wrote about nine nasty side effects of soda.
Drinking regular soda, or pop depending on your word of choice, causes weight gain. No shock there, but the areas of the fat build up should give you pause.
But I drink the diet stuff and just the occasional regular stuff (at least when I am being good). I should be fine. Nope.
Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center monitored 475 adults for 10 years, and found that those who drank diet soda had a 70 percent increase in waist circumference over the 10-year study, compared with those who didn’t drink any soda. Those who drank more than two diet sodas per day saw a 500 percent waist expansion! A separate study the same researchers conducted on mice suggested that it was the aspartame, which raised blood glucose levels, that caused the weight gain; when your liver encounters too much glucose, the excess is converted to body fat.
Crap. I have the diet soda belly. While I don’t believe I have seen a 500 percent waist expansion, it sure is something I am not proud of right now. Hmmm.
That carmel coloring in most soft drinks causes cancer in animals. In fact, a nonprofit asked the FDA to ban it because it contains 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole. Main notes that just 16 micrograms per day can be a cancer threat. Yet most of the popular soft drinks have 200 micrograms per 20 ounces.
Oh my. I certainly do not want to give myself cancer. Maybe I will be lucky and not get it. Moving on then.
Another study on the phosphates in soft drinks suggests they might accelerate the aging process. The rats in the study died five weeks earlier than rats with normal phosphate levels. Phosphoric acid, the fourth listed ingredient in the can sitting to my right, can potentially cause heart and kidney problems, muscle loss and possibly osteoporosis.
I have a young-looking face, especially when I shave my beard. A little worrisome but I should be good on that front.
The artificial sweeteners like saccharin do not break down when they go through our bodies. Evidently these then end up in water systems because treatment plants do not catch them either. This leaves them to mess around with the natural feeding habits of the food chain. Now we are getting into the environmental impacts. Dang. I already feel guilty about the aluminum cans themselves.
If you like the more citrus-based drinks, then this next one might freak you out. Brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, can cause memory loss and possibly nerve disorders. Industries use this as a flame retardant in plastics while Pepsi puts it in Mountain Dew so the flavoring does not separate from the drink. Wow. Not to be out done, though, the chemical can also cause infertility.
Parents of young children should be familiar with bisphenol A (BPA). They chemical made headline news because manufacturers used it to line plastic baby bottles even though it can leach into the liquid and cause long-term problems. Those include hormone levels, infertility and obesity. While most baby bottles no longer contain BPA, the aluminum cans filled with the soft drink of your choice sure do.
Now I am getting a little hesitant. Maybe I should switch to buying two liter bottles.
Nope. Emily takes that one away from me too by highlighting another devastating environmental impact through the photographic works of Chris Jordan. Go head and take a look. They speak for themselves.
Last but not least, the corn-based ingredients like high fructose corn syrup probably come from genetically modified corn. We have no real idea what GMOs do to our long-term health. Scary.
Now it’s time to put the can down and read 22 more reasons why I should quit drinking this stuff.
Photo by Steve Snodgrass