What’s All the Fuss About Drinking Soda, Including Diet Soda?October 6th, 2012
Every Saturday HSK will again be publishing an article on diet, nutrition and general well-being, written by nutritional consultant and chef, Laura B. Leff. Know why? because a healthy body with a spiritual mind is a blessed soul.
We’ve all heard it: “You shouldn’t drink soda, that stuff is bad for you”. Most of us know the claims around how soda can cause weight gain; but are there more reasons not to drink the ever-so-popular bubbly? According to “Beverage Digest” in 2008 soft drinks, diet and non-diet, were worth nearly 73 billion dollars.
Let’s take a closer look into the most popular soda in the world, Coca-Cola, sold in over 200 countries. Coke is made up of carbonated water, sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup, caramel coloring, phosphoric acid, caffeine and natural flavorings.
- Carbonated Water-water combined with CO2/carbon dioxide ( a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms bonded to a single carbon atom).
- Sucrose-most known as, “table sugar”, the most common white sugar
- Coke contains 39 grams of sugar, which equals 13 teaspoons of sugar…can you imagine sitting down and eating 13 teaspoons of sugar? That’s what you are doing when you grab a can of coke. Yuck!
- High Fructose Corn Syrup-a man-made sugar derived from corn, there are different variations, but for soda it consists of 55% fructose and 42% glucose. HFCS was discovered by scientists in Japan in 1970, and was introduced into the US from around 1975-1985, its use as the main sweetener in products has been ever increasing since that time.
What’s the reasoning behind using HFCS over sucrose? There are two main reasons:
- HFCS is sweeter than sucrose, allowing companies to get “more for their buck”. Giving you, the consumer, a heightened sense of sweetness.
- HFCS is very cheap because of the government tax subsidies on corn crops, once again, allowing companies to make more money. Especially now because we have GMO (genetically modified) corn.
- Numerous studies, including the American Heart Association, have found that high fructose corn syrup may be detrimental to one’s health, specifically causing an imbalance in insulin, which can lead to or exacerbate diabetes, and ill effects on the heart and liver.
- Most health risks are still unknown because it’s a fairly new, man-made substance.
Phosphoric acid- a clear, colorless, odorless liquid with a syrupy consistency
- used to acidify food and beverages and give a tangy/sour taste
- added to high-sugary beverages to stop mold production
- used in fertilizers and detergents
- removes rust
- ingesting high amounts of phosphoric acid is claimed to leach calcium from the bones, causing the bones to become soft and brittle and may cause the enamel on your teeth to wear down, possibly leading to teeth decay
Caramel coloring- water-based food coloring
Caffeine- a stimulant
Coke is not only used as a beverage, it has other uses:
- In many states the highway patrol carries two gallons of Coke in the trunk to remove blood from the highway after a car accident.
- Disenigrate a T-bone steak in two days by placing it in a bowl of Coke.
- Coke is a great toilet bowl cleaner!
- Loosens rusty bolts.
- Clean a car engine.
Does drinking diet soda lead to weight gain and other health related issues?
There are many claims that diet soda may actually lead to weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Two studies presented in June, 2011 at the American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions suggest diet soda may not help battle pounds or diabetes. Results from the study done by researchers from the University of Texas showed data that diet soft drink consumption is associated with a 70 percent greater waist circumference in comparison to non-soda drinkers. Added weight leads to many health risks, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other chronic conditions.
In the second study, researchers found that the artificial sweetener, aspartame raised blood sugar in diabetes-prone mice. It’s quite possible that artificial sweeteners trigger the appetite, but do not satisfy the sugar cravings that your body desires, because it isn’t real. Then leaving the body with the desire to eat more sugar to satisfy the craving. There have also been claims that artificial sweeteners inhibit the brain signals that make you feel full and/or satisfied.
To sum it up, it’s better to leave the soda behind and choose a healthier beverage. You have the power to choose.
- Good ol’ water
- Sparkling water with fresh fruit (lemon, lime, berries, etc.)
- Sparkling water with some juice
- You may also make your own soda, it’s quite simple. Just make simple syrup by adding 1 and 1/2 parts of table sugar to 1 part of boiling water, let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, let it cool and bottle it. Then you may add the simple syrup to sparkling water with fruit or a little fruit juice. This allows you to have control of how much sugar is in your beverage. Check out this recipe for homemade gingerale: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/ginger-ale-recipe/index.html
Cheers & Be Well
Laura Leff, MS, HN