To say that soda is popular in the United States is an understatement: It’s actually one of the most consumed beverages (second only to water). Americans guzzle upwards of 40 to 50 gallons of soda per person every year. That’s a lot of empty, sugary calories! It’s time to get the facts about the widespread, negative effects of soda.
Too much soda consumption may cause weight gain
Here’s how fast sugar in soda gets turned into fat: As soon as you take a sip, the pancreas starts generating insulin to respond to the sugar. Within just 20 minutes, blood sugar levels spike and the liver responds to the insulin by turning sugar into fat for storage.
Even diet soda may cause weight gain. Several studies conducted by the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University found the following:
- Those who drank artificially sweetened drinks over a seven-to-eight-year period had a 47 percent higher increase in body mass index (BMI) than those who did not.
- Artificial sweeteners may “fake the body out,” by affecting the body’s ability to gauge how many calories are being consumed.
- The human brain responds to sweetness by sending signals to eat more. In providing a sweet taste without calories, artificial sweeteners trigger cravings for more sweet food and drinks, which can add up to excess calories.
Drinking too much soda can increase your risk of disease
Sodas are over-the-top sweet for a reason: They contain high fructose corn syrup. Fructose (in excess amounts) may affect fat buildup in the liver, contributing to fatty liver. High fructose corn syrup has also been linked to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome — a condition that leads to diabetes and heart disease.
In addition, both diet and regular colas contain high levels of phosphates, or phosphoric acid. Too much phosphoric acid may lead to heart and kidney problems, muscle loss and osteoporosis. One study suggests phosphoric acid in excess could actually accelerate the aging process.
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