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10 Ways Soft Drinks Wreck Your Health

that could totally be Sprite®

By Cheryl Steinberg

Soft drinks are highly popular, highly addictive, and highly bad for you. I get it, there are just some times when a cold, sugary drink sparkling over ice is where it’s at. However, if you care about your health in the slightest, continue reading. Soda is basically the worst thing for you (there are other things but, for all intents and purposes, let’s focus on soda for now).

Some of these points will not be too surprising (#s 5 and 9, for example) and others might shock you…Here are 10 ways soft drinks wreck your health:

#1. Wrecks your lungs

A common ingredient in soft drinks is something called sodium benzoate, which is a preservative also found in packaged foods. Preservatives like this one increase your sodium intake drastically and reduce your body’s potassium availability, a process that has been associated with the development of asthma.

The fallout:

Asthma costs our healthcare system approximately $18 billion annually. Eleven Americans die each day due to asthma.

#2. Wrecks your kidneys

Soda pop also contains phosphoric acid, which has been linked to kidney stones and other kidney-related issues. And if you’re male, Caucasian, and overweight, your chances of developing kidney stones are greatly increased.

The fallout:

Kidney stones increase the risk of developing chronic kidney disease. People who have developed one stone are approximately 50% more likely to develop another within 5 to 7 years.

#3. Wrecks your bones

Another downfall of phosphoric acid is that it affects bones. A high phosphate diet is associated with bone-breakdown and the development of osteoporosis. That’s because, when the phosphorus leaves your system through urination, it takes with it calcium, an essential mineral for bones and other parts of the body.

The fallout:

Women make up 80% of people with osteoporosis and, therefore, men make up the remaining 20%.

#4. Wrecks your blood sugar

The amount of sugar and sugar by-products in sodas is astounding. And the process can be broken down as such:

  • 20 minutes after drinking a soda – blood sugar spikes, causing your body to dump insulin. Your body, in turn, converts this excess insulin into fat…yay!
  • 40 minutes after drinking a soda – caffeine absorption is complete. Blood pressure rises, pupils dilate, and your liver dumps even more sugar into your bloodstream.
  • 45 minutes after drinking a soda – dopamine production in the brain increases, igniting the brain’s pleasure center. This is exactly how drugs like heroin work, by the by.

The fallout:

Problematic blood sugar levels, insulin issues (i.e. diabetes – see #6) and weight issues (see #5).

#5. Wrecks your weight

Obesity has long been associated with soft drink intake and it’s not just a myth. Researchers say that the relationship between drinking soda and overall body weight is so strong that they can even estimate that for every one soda consumed, the risk of becoming obese increases by 1.6 times.

The fallout:

  • 70% of cardiovascular cases involve obesity
  • 42% of breast and colon cancer cases involve an obese patient
  • 30% of people requiring gall bladder surgery are obese

#6. Wrecks your pancreas

People who drink soda have an 80% increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes – which is the kind that gets worse over time and may require medications, if not at first, later on in life.

The fallout:

It’s estimated that, for every $10 spent on healthcare, $1 goes to diabetes.

#7. Wrecks your heart

Heart disease is yet another way in which sodas negatively impact your health. Most soft drinks – if not all – contain high fructose corn syrup (another way of saying ‘sugar’), which has been associated with a condition known as metabolic syndrome. This condition increases your risk for heart disease (and diabetes).

The fallout:

In 2006, alone, more than 1 in 4 deaths was due to cardiovascular disease.

#8. Wrecks your endocrine system

BPA (bisphenyl-A) is a known cancer-causing chemical that is used to coat the insides of soda cans and bottles (as well as plastic baby bottles and plastic water bottles) and, besides the whole cancer thing, it can also negatively impact your endocrine system, causing such repercussions as reproductive abnormalities and premature puberty.

#9. Wrecks your smile

The high sugar and acidity of soft drinks takes their toll on your teeth; these two culprits easily dissolve tooth enamel – something you can never get back once it’s gone.

The fallout:

Enamel erosion leads to tooth decay. When this scourge reaches the base of the tooth, the tooth’s nerve, and root, infection can set in and an abscess can form, leaving you vulnerable to an infection of the brain and/or heart.

#10. Wrecks your skin

Sodium benzoate (See #1) is also associated with skin problems, namely, recurring rash and eczema.

The fallout:

Your complexion will be not-so-nice.

So, if you think you have a soda pop addiction, there are healthy ways to address it without substituting other, equally as unhealthy things. Likewise, if you’re struggling with something even more damaging to your health and well-being, like a substance abuse disorder, there are ways to get off the junk and back on track. To do this, however, the person who struggles will need more intensive support and therapy. And that’s where we come in. Palm Partners is an accredited drug and alcohol treatment facility and program that offers specially-designed, individually-tailored treatment to those suffering with alcohol and/or drug abuse. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 today.

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