Many people drink soft drinks to the exclusion or near exclusion of all other beverages. Many choose diet soft drinks, believing the soft drink propaganda that they are healthier choices.
Although soft drink consumption has declined in the U.S. in recent years, Americans still buy more than 90 billion liters annually and that’s 5 billion more than they consumed in 2012.
It’s too bad, because study published last year in the journal Stroke found that artificially-sweetened (diet) soft drink consumption was associated with an increased risk of stroke and dementia. So we have millions of people setting themselves up to suffer declining cognitive function in their later years. The study also found that cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus increased along with greater consumption of diet soft drinks.
The study included 2,888 participants aged 45 and above who were examined for incidents of stroke, and 1,484 participants who were examined for incidents of dementia. Beverage intake of participants was determined using a food-frequency questionnaire as part of the Framingham Heart Study.
Previous studies have shown similar results. Research by the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference found that people who drink diet soda daily have a 61 percent higher risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack than those who drink no diet drinks.
According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, if you consume more than two cans of soda each day, you can increase your chances of suffering from depression and anxiety by as much as three times the risk faced by those who drink few to no sodas.
Nor do diet sodas help you with weight gain. In fact, the opposite is true. A study published in 2015 found that people who regularly drank diet sodas over a nine-year period put on three times the amount of body fat of those who did not drink diet sodas. Those who occasionally drank them put on 1.8 times the body fat.
Accumulation of body fat in midsection is linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and inflammation.
The key here is that sodas, whether diet or not, are bad for your health.
Most sodas contain high fructose corn syrup. HFCS does four things:
- Blocks the assimilation of calcium.
- Causes cancer in test animals and predisposes humans to cancer.
- Bypasses the pancreas as a synthetic sugar. This eventually causes the pancreas to shut down, leading to diabetes.
- Causes obesity and is highly addictive.
But diet drinks that contain no HFCS are equally unhealthy, if not more so. Zero-calorie sweeteners make drinks up to 600 times sweeter than does regular sugar. And research published in the journal Nature in October 2014 found that artificial sugars made people more susceptible to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, two precursors to diabetes.
The artificial sweeteners aspartame, sucralose (Splenda), acesulfame K and Advantame have all been linked to a host of chronic illness and disorders including tumors, inflammation, migraines and nervous system disorders.
The sweetener aspartame is a known neurotoxin. In the body it breaks down into phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol. When methanol is heated above 86 degrees F, it converts into formaldehyde. The human body’s resting temperature is 98.6 degrees F.
Drinking sodas to excess also causes muscle weakness, extreme fatigue and even paralysis because soda consumption decreases potassium levels.
Greek researchers discovered six reports of cola-induced potassium deficiency where the range of consumption equaled two to nine liters of cola per day. This may seem excessive, the researchers stated in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, but stressed that “it is not rare.”
Other effects of potassium deficiency include:
- Increased blood pressure levels.
- Decreased mental clarity.
- Skin irritations.
- Increased risk of heart disease.
- Constipation and other digestive issues.
Here’s even more evidence that sodas are just plain bad for your health:
- According to an analysis of 88 reports led by Kelly D. Brownell, Ph.D., of Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, sodas increase your calorie intake by more than the calorie content of the drinks themselves, which indicates that they may increase your hunger or decrease your sense of fullness or both.
- Drinking one soda each day can cause you to pack on as much as 15 pounds in just one year.
- Drinking sodas may cause a decrease in your calcium intake and an increase in fractures.
- Soda consumption may lead to higher cholesterol levels and an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes.
- The sugar content of soda isn’t the only guilty ingredient in the destruction of your dental health. The phosphoric acid in soda erodes your tooth enamel even if the soda is sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. The acidity of many sodas can be as strong as battery acid.
- Researchers are saying that drinking two or more sodas a day almost doubles your chance for early signs of kidney disease, especially if you’re a woman.
Soft drink consumption is dropping because Americans now perceive that energy drinks, sports beverages and sugar-laced vitamin waters are healthier than soft drinks. The soft drink cartel spends millions of dollars a year paying athletes to promote this lie, which creates the impression that good health, active lifestyles and consumption of those beverages go hand-in-hand.
But sugar is sugar, and artificial sweetener is still bad for your health no matter how you consume it.
Instead of carbonated cola, you should drink more filtered water, green tea or all-natural fruit juice to help stay hydrated and boost your vitamin and mineral intake.