Water consumption may be on the rise, but many Americans are still not ready to give up their colas. With soda sales, inside the United States alone, rising to $77.4 billion in retail sales by 2014 – soda remains by far the largest non-alcoholic beverage category in dollar terms. According to Beverage Digest, Coke is leading the pack.
All those fizzy refreshments come at a cost to the consumer, and not just in the pocketbook. Sugary sodas are known to be a major contributor to a number of ills, including type 2 diabetes to tooth decay and obesity.
Cola dumps a massive load of sugar into the bloodstream
About half the U.S. population downs sugary sodas on a daily basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most soda enthusiasts know they shouldn’t be consuming all of that sugar. But they are likely unaware of just how much they are subjecting their bodies to each day – simply due to their choice of beverage.
Put into perspective, the World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar on a daily basis. But just one can of cola packs a whopping 10 teaspoons of sugar, nearly double the maximum recommended consumption for the whole day.
Dumping all that soda into their systems, causing blood sugar to skyrocket and subjecting their bodies to all sorts of other unnecessary chemicals, it’s not surprising to learn that in a recently published study, researchers attributed 184,000 deaths (annually) worldwide to the consumption of colas and other sugary drinks.
In fact, the Harvard School of Public Health has gone on record as stating that consumers downing just one or two cans of sugary beverages on a daily basis are setting themselves up for a 26 percent greater likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.
Painting a clear picture of Coke’s assault on the human body
Just what happens when you consume a can of Coke? A British pharmacist used what is already known about cola’s effect on the body to illustrate just what damage a 330 ml can of Coca-Cola can do within the first hour of consumption.
Here’s what happens to your system as the minutes tick away:
- 10 minutes: Your body is bombarded with 10 teaspoons of sugar, but lucky for you, it is also being hit with enough phosphoric acid to keep you from vomiting over all that syrupy sweetness.
- 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing your liver to kick into action and turn any available sugar – and there is a lot of it – into fat.
- 40 minutes: With caffeine absorption complete, your pupils are dilated and your blood pressure rises. This change causes your liver to respond by dumping more sugar into your bloodstream.
- 45 minutes: Just five minutes later, your brain increases its production of dopamine, stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is the same process your mind and body would go through if you took a hit of heroin.
- 60 minutes: After an hour, the phosphoric acid has bound calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, further impacting your metabolism. Meanwhile, high doses of sugars and synthetic sweeteners are causing urinary excretion of calcium. Later, you will evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that would have otherwise gone to your bones. You will also excrete sodium, electrolytes and water.
After an hour, it is sugar crash time, complete with feelings of irritability and sluggishness. The water from the Coke that could have benefited your body has instead been flushed away, along with valuable nutrients your body would have otherwise put to good use staying healthy.
The solution is crystal clear
Avoiding all the ills brought about by sugary sodas can be remedied quickly: Drink pure (clean) water. Statistics show Americans are slowly getting the message, with water consumption rising. Yet, with soda continuing to top the list of most-consumed beverages, the love affair with colas is far from over.
Make the switch. But don’t fall into the trap of substituting artificially flavored waters for your soda habit. Many of these also contain sugars, artificial sweeteners and other chemicals your body does not need for good health.
Instead, make the best choice possible and opt for water, in its purest, safest form.