SODA POP: The fizzy drink or deadly poison??

This week’s topic is chosen by me- Jessica, the Registered Dietitian at Dr. Nounou’s office.  I chose this topic because I have a few patients that either are working with me to wean themselves off of the ‘poison drink’ or have decided to quit it ‘cold turkey’- for some, there is no other way to fight an addiction other than quitting completely.  For those who choose to eliminate all pop from their diet overnight- I am amazed, but I always recommend slowly weaning off instead so that the mind and body can slowly adjust.  I’ve previously been around a couple of people who were going through soda-pop withdrawals and know second-hand how awful they can be.

I wanted to give some specific information on how exactly pop affects the body so that when the craving hits, patients going through this will have more to go off of than just ‘pop is bad for you’.  I chose this topic because so many people now are addicted to soda pop- and yes it is an addiction– a deadly one at that.  Was that last sentence an exaggerated one?  I don’t believe so.  I had once worked for a doctor who said we should not be consuming more than 30 added grams of sugar per day total (1tsp = 5grams).  Consuming an added 30 grams of sugar per day, according to more stringent/preventive guidelines is too much to consume in one day with how poorly the body is adapted to this recent (last 100 years or so, if that) increased intake of refined carbohydrate, such as processed sugar, flour, candy, soft drinks and everything else that falls into the ‘junk food’ category.

Let’s look at the numbers: there are 39 grams of sugar in a 12oz bottle of coke and 65 grams of sugar in a 20oz bottle of coke.  For someone consuming just the 12oz bottle, that is a lot of additional sugar on-top of whatever else they are eating throughout the day.  Many people with a soft drink addiction can easily consume over 20 ounces, which is definitely a huge amount of added sugar and much more than your body can keep up with.  If your body cannot process the excess sugar efficiently this means that the hormone known as ‘insulin’ cannot keep up with trying to keep the sugar level down to a balanced level in your blood stream.  The sugar then affects every cell and organ in your body negatively and eventually ends up as fat either inside your body surrounding your organs, or as visible fat on the outside of your body.

Some random facts regarding consuming soda pop are as follows:

  • Acid in pop begins to dissolve tooth enamel in only 20 minutes,” notes the Ohio Dental Association (1)
  • An overabundance of phosphorus, a common ingredient in soda pop, can deplete bones of calcium (1)
  • There is a strong association between cola beverage consumption and bone fractures (1)
  • Consuming large amounts of sugar- such as the amounts in soda-pop beverages, can greatly deplete magnesium in your body (as well as many other vitamins/minerals already in your body). (Magnesium is a vital mineral for many bodily functions including heart health, bones/teeth and nervous system function)

It takes at least 28 units of magnesium to deal with one unit of sugar (6)

  • Soda pop can contribute to accelerated aging due to the amounts of preservatives and sugar (3)
  • Certain additives in the drinks such as the ‘caramel’ color has been shown to induce cancer in animals (2)
  • The cans you are drinking your soda out of are also toxic to your health since they are lined with BPA (3)

And, according to Dr. Mercola’s website:

  • ‘These popular beverages account for more than a quarter of all drinks consumed in the United States
  • More than 15 billion gallons were sold in 2000
  • That works out to at least one 12-ounce can per day for every man, woman and child’ (1)

According to a report by the Nutrition Research Center, here is what happens after drinking soda:           

The first 10 minutes: within 10 minutes after drinking sodas, 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system (100% more than the recommended daily sugar intake) and phosphoric acid cuts the overwhelming sweetness and that’s the only reason that you won’t throw up.

Within 20 minutesYour body will experience an insulin burst as your blood sugar spikes while your liver turns massive amount of sugar into fat.

Within 40 minutesYour body has absorbed caffeine so your blood pressure goes up and your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream.

Within 45 minutes: your body releases more dopamine (dopamine stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain)—the same reaction with drug addicts and their response to heroin.

After 60 minutesPhosphoric acid binds magnesium, zinc and calcium in your lower intestine and high levels of artificial sweeteners (like aspartame) or sugar increases excretion of calcium via urine.  The caffeine will also come to play by dehydrating your body and you will lose a lot of water by going to bathroom.  Phosphoric acid and caffeine also deplete your body from the bonded magnesium, zinc and calcium as well as sodium, electrolyte and water that were headed to your bones.  After losing the valuable nutrients in your body that could have been used for hydrating or building stronger bones and teeth, you get sugar rush and your system will crash.’(4)

With all of these surprising or not-so-surprising points, isn’t it amazing how much having an addiction to something can blind us as to how much it is actually destroying something as precious as our very body- our very livelihood?  If you’re reading this and have not yet started the process of ‘quitting pop’, I am not trying to force that,  I am merely placing valuable information out there so that when the time comes that you are ready- you will have some functional, real reasons behind what you decide.  Let these points slowly sink in and overtime, you too may begin the journey of ‘quitting pop’.

1.)  Squires, S. (n.d.). The Amazing Statistics and Dangers of Soda Pop 3/10/01. Retrieved May 8, 2015, from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2001/03/10/soda-pop-dangers.aspx#

2.)  Using PubMed. (2012, September 18). Retrieved May 8, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

3.)  Main, E. (2012, February 7). 5 Disturbing Side Effects of Soda. Retrieved May 8, 2015, from http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/facts-about-soda

4.)  Meredith, W. (2007, October 24). What Happens To Your Body Within An Hour Of Drinking A Coke. Retrieved May 8, 2015, from http://nutritionresearchcenter.org/healthnews/what-happens-to-your-body-if-you-drink-a-coke-right-now/#sthash.c53AaLeq.YYWdfNp0.dpuf

5.)  (n.d.). Retrieved May 8, 2015, from http://productnutrition.thecoca-colacompany.com/

6.)  Czapp, K. (2010, September 23). Magnificent Magnesium. Retrieved May 8, 2015, from http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/magnificent-magnesium/

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