Soda has been the favorite beverage for millions of people all over the world for a long time. At some point, each of us has heard or read something about bad soda. In the back of our minds, we all know it is not good for our bodies.
But how bad exactly is it?
As soon as we swallow a sip of soda, our pancreas begins to release insulin rapidly in response to all the sugar soda contains. Insulin moves the sugar from our bloodstream into the cells ready to use it for energy.
Unfortunately, while insulin is necessary at the right amount, it is also very inflammatory and leads to weight gain.
Within 40 minutes of drinking a single soda can, your body fully absorbs the caffeine from the drink, and as a result your blood pressure rises. At the same time, your body produces more dopamine, which stimulates the pleasure centers of our brain. Once the pleasant feeling starts to fade, we experience a “crash” – which corresponds to the same time a person craves for another sugary beverage or sweet or a simple carb rich snack. You’ve guessed by now that this often leads to obesity.
What the main problems with soda?
Harvard researchers have come to a conclusion that each additional soda you consume increases the risk of obesity by 1.6 times.
In addition to obesity, researchers have also found that people who drink soda every day have a 20% increased risk of having a heart attack.
The high fructose corn syrup used for production of many popular soda beverages has been associated with increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome, leading to serious diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Regular soda drinkers have an 80% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Drinking soda has also been associated with kidney problems, osteoporosis, asthma, reproductive issues and loss of tooth enamel.
Soda and diabetes
The consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks has been linked to the development of diabetes in many studies. A Nurses’ Health Study performed between 1991 and 1999 included 91,249 women who weren’t affected by diabetes or any other chronic disease at the study’s starting point in 1991.
Women with low soda consumption patterns had no difference in weight gain, nor has their risk of diabetes risen.
However, over a 4 year period, weight gain was exceptionally high among women who increased their sugary soda consumption from 1 or fewer drinks per week to 1 or more per day.
The smallest weight gain was among women who decreased their soda intake.
The study has clearly shown that higher consumption of sugary soda is associated with an increased risk for development of type 2 diabetes in women. Soda contains rapidly absorbable sugars and excessive calories which lead directly to obesity and diabetes.
The Framingham Heart Study has shown that both men and women who consumed one or more sugary soda drinks per day were 25% more likely to have trouble managing blood sugar levels and almost 50% more likely to develop the metabolic syndrome.
Soda and heart disease
The Nurses’ Health Study has tracked 88,520 women aged 34-59 without previously diagnosed heart disease of any kind. They were followed from 1980 to 2004, and during this 24 year of follow-up, the study has found that women who drank two or more soda beverages each day had as much as 40% higher risk of heart attacks or even death from heart disease, than women who rarely drank soda.
A majority of people who drink sugary beverages tend to eat less healthfully and they also tend to weight more. However, the study has shown that even if people obtained an otherwise healthy diet, but still drank soda, the risk of heart disease diminished only slightly.
This clearly suggests that it’s not the calories from soda alone that put you at risk. Some of the risk might be connected to the metabolic effects of fructose which is often used to sweeten these beverages. The effects of the high glycemic load on blood glucose, along with cholesterol fractions and inflammatory factors also contribute to the higher risk of heart disease in people who drink soda.
What about diet soda? Is it okay?
You might think diet soda is good for you because it doesn’t contain as much sugar as regular soda does, but think again.
Soda, including diet soda, contains high levels of phosphate. Consuming too much phosphate can have an excessive impact on bone health.
Instead of sugar, diet soda is sweetened with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, acesulfame-k or sucralose. These sweeteners have no nutritional value whatsoever, and on top of that, they even increase appetite and food intake in the short-term.
If you thought drinking diet soda means you’re maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding risks of many metabolic syndrome diseases, you were wrong.
Drinking artificially sweetened beverages is associated with as much as 34% greater risk of developing the metabolic syndrome.
Another study has shown that diet soda drinkers have a 36% increased risk of metabolic syndrome and an excessive risk of developing diabetes.
Diet soda has also been associated with depression. The association was even stronger for people who drank diet soda than people who drank regular sugar-sweetened soda. In a study of 263,925 adults aged 51-70, people who drank diet soda were 30% more likely to be diagnosed with depression over a period of no more than 10 years.
Another study that included pregnant women in Denmark has shown that drinking diet soda can lead to preterm delivery. Only 1 serving of a diet soda per day can increase the risk of preterm delivery for as much as 38%. Four servings a day increase the risk by 78%.
Daily consumption of diet soda increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by 67%, especially in women.
Tags: beverages diabetes metabolism soda