It was only a matter of time, till I wrote a blog post on this. It seems so many people are still naive to the serious consequences that come from consuming soda. As a San Diego personal trainer I am shocked at how many clients start my San Diego weight loss program and log in their food journals soda! Especially with a recent report in 2005 stating soft drinks are the number one source of calories in the American diet! I keep repeating that statistic because I find it so incredible. According to recent statistics, Americans consume close to 50 billion liters of soda per year, which equates to about 216 liters, or about 57 gallons per person. Holy Crap Batman!!
So what makes soda so bad for you. Let’s start with the amount of sugar found in a can of soda, 16 teaspoons. This is nearly three times the maximum daily sugar intake recommended by the American Heart Association.
Once soda is 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.
* 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.
High fructose corn syrup is processed in your liver, and unlike other natural 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 available.
Aside from the weight gain, eating too much fructose is linked to increased triglyceride levels in the body. In one study, eating fructose raised triglyceride levels by 32% 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 puts you at an increased risk of heart disease.
Not only does fructose consumption lead to insulin resistance but it 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. This interference can lead to over-eating since your brain does not receive the signal from your stomach that you are full until much later.
Soft drinks are a big contributing factor to obesity in our country. An independent study published in the British medical journal The Lancet found that 12-year-olds who drank soft drinks regularly were more likely to be overweight than those who didn’t. In fact, for each additional daily serving of sugar-sweetened soft drink consumed during the nearly two-year study, the risk of obesity jumped by 60%! That is why there is such a big push to get the soft drink vending machines out of schools. If you are allowing your children to consume these beverages regularly you are really jeopardizing your child’s health.
As mentioned earlier, soda clearly elevates your insulin levels, and elevated insulin levels are the foundation of most chronic disease. Not only does drinking just one soda per day increase your risk of diabetes by 85%, it also increases your risk of:
* Heart disease
* Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
Eliminating soft drinks is one of the most crucial factors to address many of the health problems you or your children suffer. Because normalizing your insulin levels is the best step you can take to improve your health and lower your risk of disease and long-term chronic health conditions.
Substitute soda with pure water, tea, or if you must drink a carbonated beverage, try sparkling mineral water with some lime or lemon juice.
While you are at it. Look at all the other processed foods you consume and make sure under ingredients it doesn’t list high fructose corn syrup. You would be surprised at how many items contain this ingredient. Including yogurt, breakfast bars and cereals, crackers, etc. Get rid of this garbage! Read my blog Processed foods and your health, to learn more about why these items are bad for you too.
Andrea King is a certified San Diego fitness trainer offering health and wellness solutions to her clients through holistic methods. Andrea helps her clients find a true healthy lifestyle for themselves through participating in her San Diego weight loss programs.