Soda is the drink of choice for millions of Americans. In fact, the average American drinks 40 gallons per person per year. That’s down about 15 gallons per year from 20 years ago, but it’s still nearly a gallon per week.
A typical soda contains a LOT of sugar. Take a look at the nutrition panel, and you’ll see that a 12 ounce can contains 10 teaspoons. Those 10 teaspoons of sugar translate into about 160 calories. Given that 100 extra calories per day lead to a 10 pound weight gain in a year – that one can of soda can literally add 15 pounds to your weight in a very short period of time. Is it any wonder then that 2/3rds of US adults are overweight or obese, and the rates of obesity in children have nearly quadrupled in the last 30 years?
But weight gain isn’t the only reason soda is bad for us. The Harvard School of Public Health reports the following disturbing facts about soda consumption:
- People who consume sugary drinks regularly—1 to 2 cans a day or more—have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks.
- Those who average one can of a sugary beverage per day have a 20% higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart attack.
- Those who consume a can of soda every day have a 75% higher risk of gout.
- Soda is bad for your teeth and bones. I have seen patients who have completely destroyed their teeth this way. By the way, diet soda can be just as deleterious.
So why do we keep drinking stuff that makes us sick? Because these products have very complex effects on our bodies and are ultimately highly addictive.
Here’s what happens when we drink a 12 oz can of cola:
- In the first 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hits our system. The phosphoric acid in the soda cuts the sweet flavor so our taste buds don’t revolt.
- At 20 minutes: Blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. The liver responds by turning the 10 teaspoons of sugar into fat.
- At 40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Pupils dilate and blood pressure rises. The adenosine receptors in the brain are blocked, preventing drowsiness.
- At 45 minutes: Our body ups dopamine production, stimulating the pleasure centers of the brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.
- At over 60 minutes: Phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium, and zinc in our lower intestine making them no longer available to the body.
- At over 60 minutes: High doses of sugar or artificial sweeteners also increase the urinary excretion of calcium.
- At over 60 minutes: The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play, assuring that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium, and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, other electrolytes and water.
- At over 60 minutes: As insulin moves sugar out of the blood stream, you start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish.After that, you’ll experience the caffeine crash.
How to mitigate the sugar and caffeine crash? Have another soda.
The moral of the story is that everything we put into our bodies has complex effects. Just because it’s sitting on a store shelf or is heavily advertised or tastes great doesn’t mean we should just assume it’s harmless.
Soda is an obvious example, but many processed foods have compositions that are counterproductive to health and healing.
That’s why we make Step One Foods with only ingredients that have been extensively studied and documented to promote health. Because every bite or sip we take influences our wellbeing in profound ways.