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EAT: The Sip to Skip

For many of us, soda is a past time. We recall a parent or grandparent popping the lid for us as a kid and enjoying the sweet fizz, or sharing an after school soda with friends, and the familiar taste of the U.S. while in a foreign country. For many of us, soda has become a part of our daily lives. However, research shows that drinking soda daily is increasing the risk of developing obesity, diabetes, cancer, and other serious (and costly) health issues.

Here are some things you may want to consider before your next sip:

1. Research suggests that soda contains cancer-causing carcinogens. Caramel color and potassium benzoate found in soda could possibly increase your risk of cancer.

2. Research has shown that drinking dark colored cola is linked to a loss of bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis.

3. Countless studies conclude that the acids and sugars in soda can lead to dental cavities and enamel erosion over time.

4. The National Institute of Health reports that soda can make you gain weight, and increase your risk of Type II diabetes. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) makes your body secrete your hunger hormone (Ghrelin) therefore leading to a correlation in increased body fat, and increased cholesterol and triglycerides.

5. Artificial sweeteners in diet soda confuse the link between sweetness and calories in our bodies. When we drink something sweet, our bodies expect many calories to accompany that sweet taste. Diet sodas have no calories, so our bodies become confused and begin to crave the calories to accompany the sweet taste (it is a survival mechanism). Because of this, diet soda drinkers crave more sweets and calories. Research shows this can lead to weight gain visceral fat (fat around your internal organs in particular). Visceral fat is the most dangerous to your health and the hardest to fat to lose!

6. Research shows that excessive sugar consumption (like in soda) can lead to premature skin aging, rashes, and eczema. Skin dehydration, aging and a decrease in skin cell production are side effects of increased sugar consumption in heavy soda drinkers. Drinking soda that is laden with high sugar content may cause skin conditions to become more problematic.

7. Research shows that the unnatural chemicals and sugar mixture in most sodas can contribute to painful kidney stones. High levels of phosphoric acid (found in soda) in the body have been linked to kidney stones and other concerning maladies.

So what now?

  • If you aren’t ready to give up soda, practice moderation or try to supplement your soda habit with a healthier beverage like a natural soda.
  • If you love the caffeine boost from soda, try switching to black tea, green tea, or coffee.
  • If it’s bubbles you crave, try sparkling fruit water. Make it at home to avoid high fructose corn syrup or harmful artificial sweeteners. Add small fruit pieces to sparkling water; sweeten with raw sugar, honey or stevia.
  • If you are drinking soda to curb sweet cravings, try drinking a real fruit smoothie, or eating a piece of fruit.

Put your health first and put down the soda!