Why You Need to Say Goodbye to Soda
You see it all the time. Offered at restaurants and deployed as a “cool, refreshing soft drink” to accompany any meal. It goes by a few names: “soda”, “pop” being the most popular. But whatever you call it, soda has major links to obesity, diabetes and metabolic diseases and it doesn’t affect just us in the States.
A typical can of soda has more than 40 grams of sugar! The next time you are reaching for sugar, grab a teaspoon and remove 10 spoonfuls of sugar into a bowl. That is how much sugar you are ingesting with via one soda can! This largely surpasses the recommended sugar intake of 25 grams daily.
If that’s not troubling enough, children between the ages of 9 and 19 consume even more sugar than the average adult! Nearly a third of young people are overweight or obese due to unhealthy eating and drinking habits and poor lifestyle choices.
The good news: studies are revealing that children can improve their health in reducing their sugar intake and experiencing improvement in as little as 10 days.
Some restaurants are taking the initiative to limit kids’ sugary drink consumption. Last month in Louisville, Kentucky, the Metro Council passed a new rule towards restaurants to offer healthier options and prevent soda from being the default beverage of choice. To read more of the post, you can find it here.
As of this date, major chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, Panera, and many others have all removed soda from their kids’ menus (1). Limiting the soda accessibility to children should hint to moms and dads that soda doesn’t belong in their diet. Keep in mind that soda is still being served to patrons.
Across the nation, some hospitals and schools are kicking out the vending machines. They hope by doing so, kids will have little to no access towards sugary drink consumption.
However, in a survey conducted in 2014, it was revealed that 23 percent of students drink one soda per day if they had vending machine access, whereas 28 percent of students which did not have access (2). Seems contrary to common sense, eh?
Well, as it should be because consider this: there are variables as to why this data is not as effective. For instance, there is the possibility that students would not purchase from the vending machine and prefer to buy soda from a store vendor because well, it is cheaper!
Removing vending machines would not work because it is not enough. Taking soda out has to come from a holistic approach to ensure that Americans can kick the sugar habit and that children can learn by example.
The more aware we are and the more we voice out concerns towards the dangers of a diet laden with sugary culprits like soda, more businesses will be incline to implement soda limitations/bans and taxes.
Some sources have reported the pros and cons towards the tax reform on soda. One newspaper article proposed the question, “Soda taxes: If they're good for us, why are Americans still obese?”
The article stated:
“But a soda tax, even if it reduces consumption, isn’t a miracle cure for obesity. In Mexico, where a soda tax was implemented in 2014, consumption has declined, but people may be just swapping soda for non-taxed sweets: the obesity rate rose to 72.5% in 2016, up from 71.2% in 2012.” (3)
If the soda taxes won’t scare soda drinkers away from consuming more of the liquid sugar, here are few things to consider the next time you reach for a fizz:
1. The caramel coloring is linked to cancer.
The artificial brown coloring in sodas is not made from caramelized sugar. In fact, it is a chemical laced with reacting sugars with ammonia and sulfites processed under high temperatures and pressure.
These reactions formed two chemicals called 2-methylimidazole (2-MI) and 4-methylimidazole (4-MI). In a government conducted study, these two chemicals caused thyroid, liver, and lung cancer or leukemia in lab rats and mices.
2. Some sodas carry a flame retardant.
An additive called Brominated vegetable oil or BVO, is typically added to many citrus based sodas and sport drinks to keep the drinks from separating during distribution.
The problem: BVO is patented as a flame retardant by chemical companies. It is banned in over 100 counties, including those in Europe and Japan but is still used here in the States.
A high school student named Sarah Kavanagh started a petition against Powerade, a known sports drink to remove the BVO additive out of its drinks. She has since made victory surpassing the signatures needed for her petition to enforce awareness and demand change.
However, BVO usage is still being used in popular sodas like Mountain Dew, Fresca, Squirt, AMP Energy Drinks (which includes Red Bull), and Sun Drop. (4)
To add more to the scary element, if BVO is consumed in high amounts over a period of time, the chemical can be extremely toxic to the body.
In 2003, doctors treated a man who developed oozing sores on his swollen hands. The man developed a skin condition called bromoderma. It was revealed that his blood tests contained a bromine level, twice beyond normal limits. The patient admitted that he would drink 8 liters of BVO- Ruby Red Squirt each day. (5)
Still want to drink more cola? here is one more reason:
3. Sodas Can Prohibits You of Nutrients.
Colas are primarily caffeinated and caffeine is a diuretic. Diuretics encourage the production of urine, causing you to urinate more frequently. Your body becomes more dehydrated and your cells have difficulty absorbing essential nutrients. Add to that, it makes it more difficult for your body to get rid of waste.
Drinking soda while supplementing your nutrition with essential vitamins via foods and supplements would be counter-productive. It is way better to forgo soda altogether and replace it with something more healthy like real fruit-infused water, hibiscus iced tea, and/or green tea.
I hope this post prompts you to reduce or stop your soda consumption. There are so many better options for you to enjoy. If you like this post, don’t forget to share with your family and friends!
(1) Consumerist. IHOP, Applebee's Remove Sugar Drinks from Children's Menu.
(2) PLOS One. How start taxes and policies targeting soda consumption.
(4) Pespi Co. The Facts about your favorite beverages.