I absolutely love the taste of a good soda. Not too long ago, my favorite weekend treat was a trip to a good diner with a handful of friend. Once there I would order an ice cold fountain soda, a juicy hamburger on a soft bun, and crispy French fries.
What an iconic American meal! My taste buds water just thinking about it.
But I haven’t had a Coke, Pepsi, or Dr. Pepper in the last 10 years.
Why have I decided to give up a beverage I enjoyed so much? Because I discovered a few facts about my favorite treat that made me rethink my habit.
Mose sodas uses high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as a sweetener. Each year, this cheap and highly processed sweetener accounts for an extra 75,200 calories in the average American’s diet. For many people this can translate to a startling 22 pounds of extra weight!
In spite of this, our dependence upon sodas continues to rise. Sodas and energy drinks now compete with coffee or tea as American’s favorite way to start the morning.
Concerns about high fructose corn syrup
All sweeteners are not equal. Even though HFCS is derived from corn, it is a refined substance that does not occurr naturally. HFCS works differently in our body than regular table sugar.
Research done by a Princeton team of scientists proves this fact. During their study on the effects of high fructose corn syrup, two groups of rats were given the same amount of calories. Some received high fructose corn syrup while the second group received table sugar. The rats that received the HFCS gained significantly more weight than those who ingested the white table sugar.
Comparatively, the rats in the study received a much smaller dose of high fructose corn syrup than a human might receive when drinking a soda.
In addition, there are many indicators that HFCS leads to an abnormal rise in triglycerides (circulating fat cells). An MD at Duke University, Dr. Mana Abdelmalek, also reported that high intake of high fructose corn syrup may result in scarring of the liver.
Although the focus of this article centers upon sodas, high-fructose corn syrup is found in many different foods and beverages, including condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise, cereals, breads, and even yogurt.
Many major soda manufacturers have gotten wise to our increasing awareness of these dangers. Consequently some now boast new versions of sodas made with pure cane sugar.
Does that mean we can eat or drink these new sodas without worry?
More dangers of sodas
Glucose, or table sugar, is associated with a number of negatives as well. Chief among them is its impact on insulin and blood sugar balance.
When insulin levels are raised, the body’s immune system is depressed. Just one teaspoon of sugar will lower your immunity dramatically — up to 50% for as long as 24 hours.
It is also an established fact that cancer cells feed on sugar. Who needs that worry?
Sodas linked to calcium depletion
Sodas, whether sweetened with HFCS or cane sugar, also contain high levels of phosphorus. In the body, phosphorous binds with other minerals, like calcium, and funnels them out of the blood stream. Therefore, frequent soda intake can lead to calcium depletion and can have a marked effect on bone density and your bones, teeth, nails and hair!
The next time you have a craving for a soda, think about trying a substitute. You can infuse water with citrus fruits or a combination of berries for a clean refreshing taste. Iced herbal teas can also be a pleasant change of pace.
Although you may not choose to drop your soda habit altogether, modest changes may lead to major health improvements!
If you’d like more information about our nutritional counseling and Science Based Nutrition programs, please contact us at (972) 840-2520.