I recently wrote an article on the dangers of sugar in our diets and the health issues it can cause. Yet it still amazes me how many people consume soda, not just on a daily basis but several times a day, and actually don’t correlate the two.
I really am unsure what we don’t get, is it because it is a drink that doesn’t register? Maybe it’s because they don’t satisfy you in the way food does and therefore we don’t count them. Who knows! What I do know is that sugar-sweetened beverages may be the leading dietary cause of Type 2 Diabetes.
If you are unfamiliar with Type 2 diabetes be aware, as it is getting to the stage that you, or someone close to you will be affected by this now very common disease. In very simple terms it means the body cannot properly regulate blood sugar. In the short term this can lead to weight gain and over time this can result in blindness, gout, lower limb amputation, heart attack, impotence and death. In fact it affects approximately 300 million people worldwide. It is characterized by elevated blood sugars in the context of insulin resistance or a deficiency in insulin. Sugary drinks can lead to insulin resistance, so it is certainly not surprising to see that numerous studies link soda consumption with type 2 diabetes. Did you know that as little as one can of soda per day has been consistently linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes?
The above statement alone should be enough for you to consider changing your habits and replacing sugary drinks with water but here’s a few more just in case you need more convincing:-
Large Amounts of Sugar Are Turned into Fat in The Liver
Sugar is composed of two molecules… glucose and fructose. Glucose can be metabolized by every cell in the body, whereas fructose can only be metabolized by one organ, the liver. Sugary drinks are the easiest and most common way to consume excessive amounts of fructose. When we consume too much the liver becomes overloaded and turns the fructose into fat. Some of the fat gets distributed out as blood triglycerides, while part of it remains in the liver. Over time, this can contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Sugary Soda Contains No Essential Nutrients
Sugary soda is “empty” calories. It contains absolutely no essential nutrients… no vitamins, no minerals, no antioxidants and zero fiber. It literally adds nothing to the diet except excessive amounts of sugar and unnecessary calories. I don’t know about you, but when I consume calories I really want to ensure that they are providing me as many nutrients as I can get from a meal, and I certainly want to feel satisfied after consumption. Look at this way, if I poured you a glass of water added a bit of your favorite flavoring and then proceeded to add a few spoonfuls of sugar, would you drink it? Would you feel satisfied? Would you feel nourished? Ultimately there really is no difference.
Sugary Soda Can Be Addictive To Many People
In my earlier article on the dangers of sugar, I quoted a nutritionist I had the pleasure of working with many years ago who said “If sugar were to be discovered in the 20th century it would be banned as an illegal substance.” When we think of “illegal” substances we often relate it to addiction and funnily enough she was not far wrong with her analysis. When we eat sugar, dopamine is released in the brain, giving us a feeling of pleasure. The human brain is hardwired to seek out activities that release dopamine. Activities that releases huge amounts are especially desirable just like cocaine. For people with a predisposition to addiction, this causes reward-seeking behavior typical of addiction to abusive drugs.
Serious Health Risks to Our Children
A child’s risk of becoming obese increases by 60% with each additional sugary beverage consumed daily. In fact children who drink carbonated sugary beverages have almost double the risk of dental cavities. Drinking just one 20-ounce bottle of a sugary beverage per day can result in gaining 25 extra pounds per year.The health costs of obesity in the United States are about $147 billion annually. With that money, we could invest into our child’s education providing computers in all schools, books, supplies and improved facilities.
Risk Of Heart Disease
Sugar intake was first linked to heart disease risk back in the 60’s and 70’s. Since then, it has been established that sugar-sweetened drinks increase some of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This includes blood sugar, blood triglycerides, small, dense LDL particles and numerous others. More recent studies in humans have found strong links between sugar intake and heart disease risk in men, women and adolescents.