The Great Addiction
Soda consumption accounts for more than a quarter of all drinks consumed within the United States. Starting at toddler age, children are drinking soda and adding more sugar to their bodies than cookies, candy and ice cream combined. Along with the high sugar content, caffeine is another main ingredient in many brands. These two chemicals are the perfect storm for a lifelong addiction to carbonated drinks. As children grow, so does the availability of soda. Schools and other organizations make them readily available. Not to mention the pervasive, skewed advertising campaigns bombarding children and adults alike.
Soda Makes You Fat (Even Diet Soda)
High in calories, soda has no nutritional value whatsoever. They contribute to obesity as well as diabetes, tooth decay and weakened bones. They have also been linked to depleting the body of vitamin A, calcium and magnesium--all nutrients needed for healthy weight loss. Consuming soda also has a profound effect on the taste buds. Some research suggests that soda, even diet soda, can actually make you feel hungrier given the artificial sweeteners that signal the brain to crave extra food. This can make losing weight a lot more difficult. In addition, according to a study by the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, diet soda actually enhances weight gain by as much as 41 percent.
Estimates show that two cans or glasses of soda per day adds approximately 24 to 35 pounds of fat per year, depending on body size, age, habits, etc.. Some people (weighing in at 140 pounds) have reported that by giving up two cans of soda per day, without exercise, they lost 20 pounds in six months. Add in exercise, reduce other sugar intake, eat more fruits and vegetables, add high water consumption and you could possibly be ready to fit into those jeans within six weeks. But if cutting out soda altogether is too difficult, you could replace one soda per day with water. Cutting down from two per day to one can yields about a 16 pound yearly loss.
People often reach for soda or seltzer to alleviate an upset stomach. This can work, although only temporarily. Carbonation is theorized to actually bind to fat cells. This causes a slowing down of fat loss, thus making it much more difficult to lose weight. Furthermore, when you ingest a carbonated drink you are essentially ingesting air. It may taste tingly, but by ingesting air you bloat the gastrointestinal tract. This causes a slow down of digestion, which is another important factor in weight loss.
Water is the No. 1 choice when trying to lose weight. If you need taste, incorporate slices of fruit, such as lemons, oranges or limes. The natural sweetener Stevia is also a healthy choice instead of chemical substitutes.