Sodas, Pop & Energy Drinks
The average American drinks 300 bottles of soda per year, each of which contains between 7-14 teaspoons of sugar. Most sodas contain no nutritional value - they simply contain empty calories.
Sodas and energy drinks that are low or zero-calorie are not much better, and typically contain artificial sweeteners that add to their health depleting effects.
Did you know...
- Drinking 1 soft drink each day increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by 20%
- Soda contributes to heart, liver & kidney disease, cancer, & dementia
- Soda contributes to osteoporosis, reducing the calcium supply of the body
- 1 can of soda contains enough sugar for an entire day’s sugar calorie needs
Energy drinks also contain the addition of chemicals and stimulants to artificially stimulate the central nervous system. Most of the vitamins and minerals that have been added are synthetic.
Energy Drinks - Just Another Soda
Many of us have done it... We have a long drive through the night ahead of us and need to stay awake, or we have a test we need to study for. We guzzle a few energy drinks, and voila! We made it! The odd energy drink is not the problem (even though a good quality strong coffee is a much better alternative), but for many people, energy drinks play a much greater role when drank on a daily basis.
The average 16 oz. can of energy drink can contain 13 teaspoons of sugar and the caffeine equivalent of 4 or more colas. Despite what flashy energy drink labels say, there is very little difference between a soda and an energy drink. Most of them are glorified sodas containing a different array of chemicals. The main difference is the use of a stimulant such as caffeine. If an energy drink advertises "no caffeine" it is because other stimulants are used instead such as taurine, guarana, ephedra, or similar substances. The end result is artificial stimulation of the body, regardless of which stimulant is used. Energy drinks can often contain multiple stimulants to increase their effects.
Needing an artificial energy boost on a regular basis from energy drinks is a warning sign. Take a look at the millions of workers in corporate America who simply cannot function without a cup of coffee in the morning. It is an addiction that can and will take its toll on the body. The chronic artificial stimulation caused by caffeine and energy drinks on the body, especially the adrenals, contributes to a general weakening of the system, thyroid imbalances, and the onset of adrenal and chronic fatigue.
Stimulant drinks are not healthy or natural, and they do not offer us any health benefits. Quit the chemicalized energy drinks, and get high on life, not chemicals!
False Advertising & the Health Conscious
The false advertising of energy drink manufacturers lull many people into believing their drinks are healthy, but especially target the health and fitness, and weight loss industry. Energy drink manufacturer's blaze all sorts of misleading words on their labels to give the illusion their products are healthy. Ingredients are made to sound high-tech that are actually a concoction of artificially made chemicals that are foreign to the body. The FDA does not define the term "energy drink" and manufacturers are left to their own devices to determine what that means and what ingredients they can use. False claims such as "natural" and "lose weight" and "energize" and "improved performance and concentration" along with other catch-phrases shamelessly draw the public to their products.
When taken before and during workouts, energy drinks can overstimulate the entire system causing internal stress. A fit, healthy, vibrant body never need any artificial jolt to exercise or get through the day.
Sodas & Our Health
How exactly do sodas and energy drinks affect our health? Let's take a look at some studies:
- Harvard School of Public Health researchers found that drinking just 1 sugary drink per day was associated with a 20% increase in a man's risk of having a heart attack over a 22 yr. period. This risk increased along with the amount of sugary drinks consumed, regardless of factors such as family history, tobacco use, and BMI.
- Data from the Nurses' Health Study show that sugary soda consumption has been individually linked to overall heart disease rates for women.(1)
- A study of 2,600 adults found that those who drank diet soda regularly were 40% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
- A study conducted by the Imperial College of London concluded that drinking 1 can of soda or sugary drink each day is likely to raise your chance of getting type 2 diabetes by 20%. Researchers concluded that it is not just weight gain that soft drinks cause, but they could also be causing an increase in insulin resistance.
- A study published in 2008 tracking the health and diet of over 9,500 men and women over 9 years showed that participants who drank 1 soda per day had a 34% higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome than those who drank none.
The Nurses' Health Study data on 90,000 adult women revealed that those who drank one or more sugary soft drinks (such as soda or juice) were twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes.(2)
- Women who drink sugar-sweetened beverages are more likely to develop high levels of triglycerides (a fat found in the blood stream that can indicate metabolic syndrome at high levels). In a review of data from a long-term study of heart health of both men and women, researchers on the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis found that women who drank at least 2 sugary drinks each week were 4 times more likely to have dangerously high triglyceride levels as those who drank only 1 sugary drink. Both metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease can contribute to a higher risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.(3)
- Danish researchers discovered that drinking non-diet sodas leads to a dramatic increase in fat build-up around the liver and skeletal muscles, both of which can contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes. The study revealed that people who drank a regular soda every day for 6 months saw a 132-142% increase in liver fat, a 117-221% jump in skeletal fat, and an approximate 30% increase in both triglyceride blood fats and other organ fats. Their consumption also led to an 11% increase in cholesterol, compared with those who drank other beverages such as water or milk.
- Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine in San Antonio monitored 475 adults for 10 years, and found that those who drank diet soda had a 70% increase in waist circumference over the 10-year study, compared with those who did not drink any soda. Those who drank more than 2 diet sodas per day saw a 500% waist expansion (and no, that is not a spelling error...!). The same researchers conducted a study on mice and discovered that aspartame raised blood glucose levels, causing weight gain (when the liver encounters too much glucose, the excess is converted to body fat).(4)
"Data from this and other prospective studies suggests that the promotion of diet sodas and artificial sweeteners as healthy alternatives may be ill-advised," study researcher Helen P. Hazuda, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center said in a statement. "They may be free of calories, but not of consequences."
- A separate study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that sugary drinks increased the level of fasting glucose and insulin resistance - two signs of pre-diabetes.(5)
- A study from Tufts University found that women who reported drinking just 3 colas per week had an average of 4% more bone loss in the hips than women who drank any other beverage. The study concluded that phosphoric acid causes greater acidity in the blood, and in order to restore balance, the body releases calcium from bones and teeth to neutralize this excess acid. The Tufts study noted that cola-based drinks, such as Pepsi or Coke, are the ones highest in phosphoric acid and are more likely to lead to osteoporosis as compared to sodas without cola.
- The Framingham Osteoporosis Study found that the intake of cola specifically is associated with low bone mineral density in women.(6)
- Harvard Medical School researchers found that drinking 2 or more diet sodas daily was associated with a 200% increase in kidney problems.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned the FDA to ban both of these substances, and soft drink manufacturers have committed to removing these chemicals from their sodas. But why the FDA allows such chemicals to exist in our food chain to begin with, knowing the health dangers, is just as concerning.
Learn about how diet plays an important role in jaw structure and teeth health, both during pregnancy, and in the diets of infants and children.
BPA is a dangerous chemical that has been linked to many health issues ranging from hormone disruption to infertility, reproductive cancers, and neurobehavioral effects such as autism and ADHD. The CDC has stated that soda cans, along with restaurant, school, and fast-food meals, are a major source of exposure to the chemical. Both Pepsi and Coke may be looking to develop a 100% BPA-free plastic bottle, but neither is focused on using BPA-free aluminum cans.
For younger women, soda may be linked to a reduction in fertility, which could be the result of BPA contamination.
- Danish and American researchers discovered that women who drank 3 sodas per day were half as likely to get pregnant as women who avoided soda.
- The CDC National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey found that those who drank more soda had higher levels of BPA in their urine.
Head on over to the GMO section to learn more about what GMOs are. Read about the 8 big GMO myths, including the various studies conducted outside of the US showing the risk of serious health consequences linked to eating GMO food, and how the biotech companies work tirelessly and spend millions to smother and discredit these reports.
- Data from the Nurses' Health Study of 79,000 American women found that women who drank 2 sodas per day had more than double the risk of gout as compared to those who did not drink soda.
- A 12 yr. study of 46,393 men with no history of gout was conducted to examine the relationship between the intake of sugar-sweetened soft drinks and fructose, and the risk of gout. The results showed 755 confirmed incidences of gout, and that increasing the intake of the soft drinks was strongly associated with increasing the risk of gout.(7)
- Choosing natural sweeteners
- Health dangers of artificial sweeteners
- Refined sugar
- Refined sugar & chronic disease
- Soda's, pop & energy drinks
- Additives & chemicals in our food
- What are processed & refined foods
- The Dirty Dozen: What they are & why you should avoid them
- Addicted to sugary foods? Kick that addiction now
- Get off the diet merry-go-round
- Healthy food choices for children
- Healthy food choices for pets
- The FDA: Failure to protect human & pet food
- Food pyramids & food politics
- (1) Sweetened beverage consumption & risk of coronary heart disease in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Apr;89(4):1037-42.
- (2) Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, & incidence of type 2 diabetes in young & middle-aged women. JAMA. 2004 Aug 25;292(8):927-34.
- (3) Low to moderate sugar-sweetened beverage consumption & inflammation. AJCN.111.013540v1 94/2/479
- (4) Waistlines in people, glucose levels in mice hint at sweeteners' effects
- (5) Sugar-sweetened beverages may increase cardiovascular risk in women
- (6) Intake of cola associated with low bone mineral density in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Oct;84(4):936-42.
- (7) Soft drinks, fructose consumption, and the risk of gout in men, BMJ 2008;336:309
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