Soft drinks are extremely popular beverages among both children and adults in the US. They are far from healthy, however, and there may be various health consequences tied to heavy soda consumption.
The average 12-oz can of soda contains around 130 calories, almost all of which come from the sugar content alone. Drinking soda is a quick way to pack in a lot of calories with few nutritional benefits. Despite all of the calories, soda does little to fill you up and may lead to excessive eating
In a recent study, researchers found that those who drank soda saw an increase in liver, muscle and visceral fat deposits when compared to those who drank milk, diet soda or water. The study concluded that daily soda consumption is likely to increase the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
Multiple studies have linked soda and sugary-drink consumption with increased blood pressure. If left untreated, high blood pressure can damage arteries and lead to serious health complications. Talk to your doctor about your blood pressure if you consume large quantities of soda.
Soft drinks contain a significant amount of rapidly absorbable sugars which can affect the body’s blood glucose levels. Multiple studies have linked regular soda consumption with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Experts recommend drinking three or fewer sodas a week
More About Diabetes
An estimated 23.6 million people in the United States have diabetes, a serious and lifelong condition. Of those 23.6 million, 17.9 million have been diagnosed and 5.7 million have not. The number of individuals diagnosed with diabetes has risen from 1.5 million in 1958 to 18.8 million in 2010. It is estimated that 79 million adults in America 20 years and older have prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
Diabetes is a disorder of the body’s metabolism — the way the body turns food into energy. Most of the food people eat gets broken down into glucose, which is a form of sugar in the blood. Glucose is one of the body’s main sources for fuel. After our bodies digest our food, glucose passes into the bloodstream where it is absorbed by cells for growth and energy. However, for glucose to get into the cells, the hormone insulin must be present. Insulin is made by a large gland behind the stomach called the pancreas.
When we eat, our pancreas automatically creates the right amount of insulin in order to move glucose from blood into the cells. In those with diabetes, however, the pancreas makes little or no insulin or the cells do not respond correctly to the insulin which is produced. Glucose then builds up in the blood and overflows into the urine. Thereby, the body loses its primary source of fuel.
The three main types of diabetes are type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer produces insulin because the body’s own immune system has attacked and destroyed the pancreatic cells that specialize in insulin production. In type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the condition, muscle, liver and fat cells in the body do not use insulin properly. As a result, the body needs more insulin to help glucose enter the cells to be converted to energy. In time, the pancreas loses its ability to make enough insulin. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that first develops during pregnancy.
Recent research suggests that soft drinks and other sweetened beverages are associated with an increased risk of depression. Compared to those who drank little to no soda, people who consumed four or more cans of soda a day were 30 percent more likely to report being diagnosed with depression.
High sugar consumption can negatively impact oral hygiene. A 2013 study made headlines for comparing the tooth decay of a methamphetamine user to that of an excessive soda consumer. Whether or not you drink sodas, it is important to maintain your dental hygiene.
Various studies have linked soft drink consumption with lower rates of calcium intake. Researches believe that these results are caused by soda replacing milk as the beverage of choice during meals. If unchecked, calcium deficiency can lead to serious health complications, such as osteoporosis.
Heavy soft drink consumption may be a statistical marker for poor nutrition. Researchers noticed that heavy soda consumers were more likely to have a poorer overall diet. Additionally, some studies suggest that soda consumption might increase cravings for other foods high in sugar content.
In a recent study of 23,000 women, researchers discovered that the participants who drank the most soda had a 78 percent higher risk of developing endometrial cancer. Another study concluded that individuals who regularly consumed soda experienced an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Research is beginning to shine light on the potential health effects of diet soda. One study associated consuming three or more diet sodas a day with a significant increase in kidney function decline. Another study discovered that diet soda consumption was correlated with an increased risk of vascular events.
Many of the health consequences associated with regular soda consumption are also affected by diet and exercise. If you drink soft drinks often, be sure to compensate for the added calories and sugar by decreasing food intake and increasing your physical activity.