The term “soft drink” is commonly used in product labeling and on restaurant menus. In many countries, these drinks are more commonly referred to by regional names, including carbonated beverage, coke, fizzy drink, cool drink, cold drink, lolly water, pop, seltzer, soda, soda pop, tonic, and mineral. Due to the high sugar content in typical soft drinks, they may also be called sugary drinks.
This sugary carbonated beverage comes in a huge variety of sizes, colors, flavors, and fizz.
The rate of consumption averages around 216 quarts (or 204 liters) per year per person. “Fifty-six percent of 8-year-olds drink soft drinks daily, and a third of teenage boys drink at least 3 cans of soda pop per day” -Sally Squires (reporter).
Not only are soft drinks widely available everywhere, from fast food restaurants to video stores, but they’re also now sold in 60% of all public and private middle schools and high schools nationwide, according to the National Soft Drink Association. A few schools are even giving away soft drinks to students who buy school lunches.
Soda’s Ingredients and the Damage it Cause to our body
The sweetener may be either sucrose (table sugar), or high fructose corn syrup. Many people have allergies or sensitivities to corn. In addition, high amounts of fructose stress the liver and cause weight gain.
Sugar provides a fertile breeding ground for bacteria, which cover the teeth with a film called plaque. Plaque disintegrates the tooth enamel, causing holes or cavities that can eat into the nerve-rich soft tissue (dentin).
Plaque also lodges between the gum and the teeth, creating pockets of infected material that cause the gum to pull away from the teeth.
There is abundant scientific data proving that sugar causes obesity. Children who drink soda are almost twice as likely to become obese than those who do not. Obese does not merely indicate overweight. An obese person is more than 20% over his or her maximum healthy body weight. Obesity is known to contribute to diabetes and heart attacks.
Sugar depletes the body of vitamins and minerals because the system requires abnormally high levels of nutrients to process the sugar.
Finally, sugar makes the system much more acidic. This forces the kidneys to work harder to eliminate the wastes that cause disease.
The phosphorus in phosphoric acid binds to calcium, thus preventing the body from absorbing it. This calcium deficit manifests in all bone tissue in the body, including in the mouth (the teeth).
The phosphoric acid “begins to dissolve tooth enamel in only 20 minutes,” notes the Ohio Dental Association. When bones are depleted of calcium, they become more porous and brittle. Calcium loss from bone affects five times more girls than it does boys, leading to more fractures and breaks. As adults, these girls are also much more likely to develop osteoporosis.
Phosphoric acid also causes the aluminum in the cans to leach into the liquid. So when you drink soda, along with everything that’s supposed to be in the can, you’re guzzling a toxic heavy metal.
Finally, phosphoric acid unbalances the body’s pH. As the name implies, it makes the body much more acidic. As with sugar, this forces the kidneys to work harder.
Not all cola drinks contain caffeine, but many do. A 12-ounce can of typical cola contain from 35 to 38 mg of caffeine. “Few know that diet colas — usually chosen by those who are trying to dodge calories and/or sugar — often pack a lot more caffeine,” points out Squires.
The caffeine found in many sodas is probably derived from kola nuts which it’s naturally present. Squires asks: “Why is this drug, which is known to create physical dependence, added? … Logic dictates that when you are dependent on a drug, you are really upsetting the normal balances of neurochemistry in the brain. The fact that kids have withdrawal signs and symptoms when the caffeine is stopped is a good indication that something has been profoundly disturbed by the brain.
The most popular synthetic sweeteners are aspartame and saccharin. Saccharin and aspartame are two artificial sweeteners that have been rigorously studied for their safety in the past few decades. The damage to the liver, to the entire nervous system and brain, and to muscles is extensive and sometimes irreparable. Not all cola drinks contain artificial sweeteners, but many do.
Saccharin, a white crystalline powder, is about 300 times sweeter than sugar and contains no calories. It is one of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners in soft drinks and is used in a variety of other products, including fruit juices, chewing gum, mouthwash, toothpaste and pharmaceuticals.
Aspartame, one of the most common artificial sweeteners, is a combination of two amino acids — phenylalanine and aspartic acid. Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar and, like saccharin, contains no calories. The National Cancer Society notes that rumors regarding potential negative health effects of aspartame, including cancer, have been circulating for many years.
One more thing. All of the sugar (or synthetic sweetening chemicals), flavorings, and phosphoric acid require massive amounts of water to flush them out of the system. Soda users rarely drink enough water and become dehydrated.
“The UAE was found to have the fifth highest rate of fizzy drinks consumption in the world” – higher than any other country outside the American continent.
UAE residents are guzzling almost three times more fizzy drinks than the global average – and it’s leading to bulging waistlines and diabetes, the world’s largest ever study of soft drink consumption has found. On average, residents in the UAE down more than 103 liters of fizzy drinks each, per year.
A report on the study, written in conjunction with officials at the World Health Organization, warned that for every gallon increase in soda consumption per person, five percent of adults in the country become overweight, a further one percent become obese, while one in 300 adults contracts diabetes. The broad study suggested a strong link between diabetes in a country and its consumption of soft drinks.
One of the British authors, Cambridge University sociology professor David Stuckler, told 7DAYS that the findings were “very important to the UAE, which has very high rates of sugar consumption and diabetes”.
In response to the report, one Dubai-based nutritionist said she had clients who were consuming up to 20 cans of soft drinks a day and were “addicted and need help”.
(Source: 7DAYS UAE | March 23, 2013)
An Abu Dhabi food expert also warned about drinking low-calorie fizzy drinks. He said: “Diet soda is not a healthy food. The products are regarded to be sugar and fat-free but they are typically sweetened with artificial chemicals.”
(Source: 7DAYS UAE | March 27, 2013)
How WE can help
Soda addiction is also a sugar addiction. Sugar intake in moderation is not a problem. But if you are always craving for sugar and if you are eating and thinking about it multiple times a day, then you might be having a sugar addiction.
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