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How Soda Affects Your Health

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Once ingested, your pancreas rapidly begins to create insulin in response to the sugar. The rise in blood sugar is quite rapid. Here’s a play-by-play of what happens in your body upon drinking a can of soda:

  • Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat.
  • Within 40 minutes, caffeine absorption is complete; your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. As you could see in the report above, DeNies’ blood glucose level was 79 at the outset of the experiment, and after 40 minutes it had risen to 111!
  • Around 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain – a physically identical response to that of heroin, by the way.
  • After 60 minutes, you’ll start to have a blood sugar crash, and you may be tempted to reach for another sweet snack or beverage.

As I’ve discussed on numerous occasions, chronically elevated insulin levels (which you would definitely have if you regularly drink soda) and the subsequent insulin resistance is a foundational factor of most chronic disease, from diabetes to cancer.

Fructose Turns into Fat Far Faster than Other Sugars, and Fats

Lately, the media has finally begun reporting on the science of fructose, which clearly shows it is far worse than other sugars.

Fructose is processed in your liver, and unlike other sugars, most of it gets shuttled into fat storage. This is why fructose is a primary culprit behind obesity—far more so than other sugars. According to the news report above, drinking two bottles of soda per day can make you gain a pound of fat per week!

Aside from the weight gain, eating too much fructose is linked to increased triglyceride levels. In one study, eating fructose raised triglyceride levels by 32 percent in men! Triglycerides, the chemical form of fat found in foods and in your body, are not something you want in excess amounts.

Intense research over the past 40 years has confirmed that elevated blood levels of triglycerides, known as hypertriglyceridemia, puts you at an increased risk of heart disease.

Meanwhile, one of the most thorough scientific analyses published to date on this topic found that fructose consumption not only leads to insulin resistance but also decreases leptin signaling to your central nervous system. Leptin is responsible for controlling your appetite and fat storage, as well as telling your liver what to do with its stored glucose.

When your body can no longer “hear” leptin’s signals, weight gain, diabetes and a host of related conditions may occur. So, as you can see, fructose contributes to poor health through a number of mechanisms…

4 Surprising Effects of Fast Food

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Dr. Mercola

Dr. Mercola has been passionate about health and technology for most of his life. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, he treated many thousands of patients for over 20 years. In the mid 90’s he integrated his passion for natural health with modern technology via the internet and developed a website, Mercola.com to spread the word about natural ways to achieve optimal health.

144 comments

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6:01PM PST on Jan 11, 2012

WOW! Unbelievable the many aspects of our health attributed to soda!! Which I'd none this years & years ago. Thanks so much for this information in a clear, concise & compact article.

10:18PM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

oh why does all the tasty stuff have to be so bad!

9:05AM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

The best thing to drink is purified water. So far I have found 3 alternatives. The best would be a Reverse Osmosis filter. Also a water distiller and the "Zero Water" pitcher that come with a TDS meter and one special filter. All three of these are great. Don't confuse these with plain old filters, which only remove some of the contaminates. I started with a distiller , then switched to Reverse Osmosis. My wife uses the Zero Pitcher at work. These three are especially good for anyone who has a problem with kidney stones which are caused by inorganic minerals dissolved in the water.

12:26AM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

Thanks for the article. I stopped drinking all soda recently and am glad I did. The only thing I had to see was that Coca-Cola will totally dissolve a t-bone steak overnight, remove corrosion from battery terminals and shine a penny if soaked in it. Plus, I feel great now!

7:42PM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

Hmmm.

10:50AM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

Another item to check for on ingredient lists. Fructose. Who new? I don't drink soda but I do eat food that has fructose. I'm overweight and I've been trying to eat better, so now I will be looking for fructose. Thanks for the article.

8:33AM PDT on Sep 20, 2011

Hmmm, just got the the end of this article and it has an absolute howler. Recommending people not to drink tap water (and by corollary not soft drinks as they use it). What do you suggest instead? Bottled water?!? What a load of rubbish on the dangers of tap water - in most developed countries this is the most regulated drink you will find.

4:53AM PDT on Sep 20, 2011

LOL...if this is true i should be uber fat by now...from just drinking soda...
which i am not...

3:28PM PDT on Sep 19, 2011

I found out the hard way many years ago what coca cola addiction was all about --- I went into withdrawal for 3-4 days and it was ugly. I switched to diet coke and never had that addiction again, thankfully. Relatively recently, I discovered that if I drank diet coke in the evening, I had to get up during the night. If I drank plain spring water, I didn't. This lead me to believe that caffeine is a diuretic. I have now cut my diet coke consumption by 95%. Since I am allergic to coffee (coffee oil), not thrilled by tea unless I'm sick, shouldn't have fruit juice and limited milk intake because I am diabetic, I drink water almost exclusively. And of that, I usually drink 3-4 liters per day.

12:43PM PDT on Sep 19, 2011

Watch out for juices out there too. Natural soda can be a good temporary replacement. They are not made with HFCS, but ather natural cane sugar. Obviously, onsuption should be moderated still, but it's still better than most sugar substitutes. I'm not sure I totally agree with the "Don't drink tap water". As, tap water is usually clean and there are pleanty of bottle waters that are just tap water. Flitered tap water would be best, but just tap water is still better than soda.
I didn't see where any of the "studys" were sourced. It would be nice to see some of the citings.

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