Americans gulp down gallons a month of the sweet, fizzy stuff – but is it good for you? What else can you sip on?
By Danielle, Contributing writer
To make a long story short, yes. Soda is harmful to your health. Let’s uncover why.
One in three Americans drink at least one soda per day, some much more. Between our sugary soda addiction, processed foods, and low fresh produce consumption, soda is wrecking our health.
A Quick History Lesson on Soda
Back in the late 1700’s, physicians believed that mineral water, which tended to have more bubbles, was healthy. They were right, but as humans seem to always do, they sought to remake this health tonic through processing, and soda was born. Pharmacists were the first to make and sell the fizzy frink to their patients. Carbonated water was first consumed for health reasons, which may be why your grandmother suggests Sprite when you are ill. Honey and lemon juice were added to the carbonated water. Over time, sugar and chemical flavorings were substituted
In societies where filtered water is hard to find and expensive, soda is still seen as healthier than water. Today in America, soda consumption actually decreases with income level, as the highly educated recognize the beverage as bad for your health.
7 Reasons Soda Is Harmful to Your Health
1. It may lead to osteoporosis and deteriorates your teeth.
The high levels of phosphate in soda rob your bones of calcium, causing osteoporosis and tooth decay.
2. Soda has very high sugar content.
Not only is any sugar in soda GMO-derived beet sugar, but many sodas also contain high fructose corn syrup. Just one can of soda contains 39 grams of sugar. The AHA recommends that women have no more than 25 grams of sugar per day. Just one Coke can put you over that maximum easily.
No problem, you can drink sodas with no sugar because they are artificially sweetened, right? That may be even worse for your health. Most “sugar free” or “low calorie” sodas are sweetened with aspartame, a chemical linked to many health issues including neurological disease, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
3. Caffeine is not healthy for the majority of individuals.
Most people do not have the genetic make up to accept caffeine in a healthy way, and those individuals experience a toxic burden on their liver and other organs when consuming caffeine. Caffeine can also be addicting to these individuals, causing them to need the substance to function, and indeed their livers may be so burdened that the burst of energy in caffeine may be needed to function. These individuals may experience withdrawal symptoms when they do not consume caffeine.
4. Excess soda consumption may lead to dehydration.
Soda dehydrates the body, and if your soda consumption replaces water consumption, you may have a serious dehydration issue.
6. Soda lacks any health benefits.
If you are consuming soda often, the health benefits of drinking water or another healthy alternative are creating a nutrient void in your diet.
7. Consuming soda slows or delays digestion.
The high acidic content of soda may interfere with the natural stomach acids which digest food. If soda is consumed with a meal, the foods in the meal may not be digested and decomposed correctly.
Why Not Try a Natural Alternative?
You can still have all the carbonated fizziness with none of the poor health. Making your own soda from carbonated water and adding fruit juices is one way to enjoy your “soda” and keep your health.
There are also more natural soda brands, like Zevia, which have natural sweeteners and no dyes.
You may also try kombucha – a fermented drink that packs all the fizz and loads of good, gut-boosting bacteria. You can buy kombucha at health food stores and I’ve even seen it at commercial grocery stores, for about $3 each. But, you can easily make kombucha for much less at home.
How Do You Keep It Away from Your Kids?
Processed drinks and snacks bombard all of us each day. Just like eating naturally, explain to your children that what we drink also affects their health. Try these tips to not raise a soda-drinker.
Lead by example.
Drink healthy sodas or no sodas in front of your children, and they will not ask for the stuff nearly as much.
Involve your kids in making kombucha or healthy soda.
Kids are happy to take part in anything if it’s fun and messy – so make this a special time for them and you!
Explain to your children why soda is not healthy.
Also explain why natural kombucha or fresh pressed juice is a better option. In time, they really will understand the “why” behind your decision.
Bring your own.
If you’re attending a function which has traditional soda, bring some of your own for you and your family to sip on.
Soda is an American staple, but it doesn’t have to be. Brew up some kombucha and get your family on board to replace the sugary monster in your life.