August 12, 2012

7 Surprising Reasons Why You Shouldn't Drink Soda

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg provided late-night TV hosts with a week's worth of joke fodder back in June when he proposed that sugary drinks of over sixteen ounces be banned from all the city's restaurants, food carts, and stadiums. As funny as this proposal was made to seem, at the very least, it got the country talking about the dangers to our health that we risk by consuming too much soda, sports drinks, and even juices.

7 Surprising Reasons Why You Shouldn't Drink Soda - Beauty and Personal Grooming
According to the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, "Obesity has led to a big increase in the prevalence of Type II diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and other problems," and that's just the half of it. Here are seven more reasons why you should eliminate--or at least drastically reduce--your soda consumption.
  1. It's expensive. Yes, a case of soda costs as much as two bottles of imported spring water, but water from the tap or a water fountain costs significantly less. If you are concerned about contaminants, a good water filter will take care of them.
  2. Sugar is bad, but what's in soda may be worse. Most non-diet drinks are sweetened not with sugar (which is generally mostly sucrose) but with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), which some studies suggest may contribute more toward obesity by abnormally affecting the appetite. To further confuse matters, the corn lobby is powerful and far-reaching, so any studies that suggest a corn product is unhealthy are countered with vast legal resources. Do the research and decide for yourself.
  3. Soda is destroying fertile farmland. While the means by which we obtain drinking water are not altogether healthy for the environment, the production of the other ingredients in sodas may be accelerating the decline of our planet's well-being. One example is the corn used to produce HFCS: Over-farming, the use of pesticides, and the introduction of genetically-modified seeds are practices that frequently come under fire from environmental groups.
  4. Soda containers are overrunning the planet. Unless you make your own soda, you must purchase it in a container. Even if those containers are recyclable, their manufacture and recycling still negatively impact the environment with chemical waste and unrecyclable materials.
  5. Artificial sweeteners are not a healthy solution. Even without the sugar, the acids in most sodas still cause tooth decay. A University of Texas study suggests that artificial sweeteners may contribute toward obesity and Type 2 Diabetes by fooling your body's security system and increasing appetite. Then there are those pesky chemicals, like the chlorine used to create sucralose. Is it worth all these risks when you are better off just eliminating sweetened drinks altogether?
  6. It's just not necessary. The average human needs to consume at least three liters of water per day just to replace fluids lost by normal bodily functions. If those three liters contain other ingredients that do nothing for our health and may in fact be harming our bodies, we as a nation need to either drastically reduce or soda consumption or eliminate it altogether.
  7. It sets a bad example. A CDC NCHS Data Brief from 2011 states that "consumption of sugar drinks in the United States has increased over the last 30 years among both children and adults." After reading through reasons one through six, do we really want to encourage our children to continue on this path of degrading health and planetary stewardship?

With a laundry list of risks to personal and planetary health, soda is a bad choice for anything except possibly the occasional indulgence of a sweet tooth.

Al Natanagara is a writer, journalist, and blogger whose career includes stints with ZDNet, CNet, CBS, LexisNexis, and Law Enforcement. He has written on a plethora of topics including: homicide forensics, app development, and the finer points of cooking and enjoying offal.



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