soda, pop, soft drink

Still Drinking Pop? Reasons Why You Shouldn’t!

By Bryan Carroll CFMP, NTP, FAFS

April 16, 2016

Last weekend I noticed that my sink was draining really slow. Instead of going out and paying $8 for a small thing of Drano, I instead paid $2 for a 2 liter of coke. Why would I do that? Because the acidity of pop is just as strong for clearing pipes with clogs as Drano is! If pop can clear a pipe out the same way a strong chemical agent such as Drano can, what all do you think it can and does do to your body?

Quick Facts About Pop

  • In the United States, Americans consume about 57 gallons of pop per person per year.
  • One 20oz bottle of pop contains roughly 240 calories, so if you consume 57 gallons in a year, you have consumed  87,552 calories or just over 25lbs just from pop!
  • One 20oz bottle of pop contains about 16 teaspoons of sugar, which means over a year you are consuming 5,837 tsp of sugar just from pop! Considering the American Heart Association only recommends consuming 5-9 teaspoons of sugar per day, this is a tremendous overload of sugar to the body!
  • A study done by Hollins University found that 48% of soda found at fast food restaurants contained Coliform Bacteria, which is linked to fecal matter and is resistant to 11 different antibiotics!

sugar, pop

How Soda Affects the Health of Your Body

If those facts weren't scary enough, let's talk about what happens inside of your body when you consume this “yummy” beverage. Starting right at the mouth, the high acidity starts to deteriorate the enamel on your teeth. If the tooth decay reaches the nerve and root, then you could lose your teeth. Going down your esophagus, the phosphoric acid can irritate the esophageal lining and long term use can cause permanent damage and even cancer to the tissue. The esophagus is not designed to handle very acidic substances, which is why you can feel excruciating pain when you have heartburn or acid reflux (this will be talked about more in a later blog post). As the liquid enters your stomach, the carbonation actually impairs your stomach's ability to produce hydrochloric acid which is needed for the breakdown of foods. Also, the carbonation creates excess gas in your stomach, which creates distention (or bloating) in your stomach and can push acid back up into your esophagus, once again causing more damage and heartburn. Your body will receive a signal that there is a huge increase in sugar coming into the bloodstream, so your pancreas will release insulin (a storage hormone) to store sugar in the liver. Once the liver cells are filled with sugar, the excess sugar is then converted to fat and stored for later on.

About 45 minutes after pop has entered your system, the caffeine is fully absorbed. This dilates your pupils and raises blood pressure. At the same time, the body releases dopamine (the ‘feel good' hormone) which stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain in a similar way a small line of cocaine does. The caffeine boost to the system will actually create stress to the body, so your adrenals will release cortisol and epinephrine in response to the stress. When the adrenal glands are tired from working hard to balance stress in your body, eventually they will start to work less efficiently. Remember, if your adrenal glands are tired, they won't be helping to produce sex hormones. So if you feel your sex hormones aren't optimal, you might want to look into how your adrenal glands are holding up!

Having an increase of acid flowing through your body will disrupt the acid/alkalinity of the body, therefore your system will start to pull calcium from your bones and teeth in order to raise the pH of the body. This once again can cause damage to the enamel of your teeth, but can also cause osteoporosis. This weakening of bones leads to an increase of fractures and breaks from small falls.

Daily drinkers of this sugary drink have elevated triglycerides, decreased HDL (the good cholesterol), and higher levels of inflammation markers. All of these are linked to heart disease. A study following 42,000 men who drank 2 or more sweetened drinks had a 23% increase in heart failure. Not just heart disease, but total heart failure!

Is Diet Soda Better?

A lot of people justify drinking pop because their brand has the word ‘diet' on it. Don't let this marketing term trick you! Diet sodas use artificial sweeteners which are anywhere between 200-13,000 times sweeter than sugar. If sugar is considered very addicting, imagine how addicting these artificial sugars can be! Also, most artificial sweeteners don't have the calories that regular sugars do, so on paper they look healthier. However, the sweetness of them still causes a big spike in insulin levels, which over time the cells start to become resistant to insulin and the sugars from foods will stay in your blood for longer. In one study, daily consumption of diet soda actually increased risk of Type II Diabetes by 67%!  More studies have shown that diet soda actually doubles your risk of becoming overweight or obese!

Conclusion of Pop

This article is designed to lay down the facts for you so you can make an informed decision about whether it is a good beverage to drink or not. When there are so many facts to lay out about one product, it can be very difficult to read in a fluid manner. However, if you picked up just 3 key pieces of information from this article, you should have plenty of information to make an educated decision on the health of your body.

Quick Key Points:
-Soft drinks are loaded with unnecessary calories and sugar.
-Pop can impair digestion, lower stomach acid, and cause bloating.
-It can create an imbalance in the acidity/alkalinity of the body, leading to stripping of minerals from bones.
-Excess consumption will inevitably lead to weight gain.
-Can increase stress to the adrenal glands which will decrease sex hormone output.
-Increase risk of heart disease/failure
-Diet soda uses artificial sweeteners which are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar.

About the author

Bryan Carroll CFMP, NTP, FAFS

Bryan Carroll is a certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and Movement Therapist who helps the outdoors community to reduce injuries and improve their health so they can get back to exploring nature. His big health crisis from mold exposure taught him the importance of finding the root causes to illnesses so you can take back control of your life. He is also the host of the Summit For Wellness Podcast.

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