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Second Look at Soda

Posted on 03/14/2012

Last week I started the soda discussion and this week I'm continuing it, since there's so much to say on the subject. Since I last posted last week, both Coca Cola and Pepsi announced they would change the formula of caramel coloring they include in their beverages in order to avoid having a cancer label attached to their products in California. 

Regarding diet soda...studies show that people who drink diet soda rarely stop with just one. The typical consumer consumes several sodas per day. There is a theory of addiction to diet soda, like with other drugs, even those without caffeine. Another reason is that it becomes routine or part of one's day, a habit, but it does trigger the brain's reward system to respond greater to sugar. In other words, diet soda might be addicting because according to researchers, artificial sweeteners have positive reinforcing effects, meaning humans will work for it, just like with foods, alcohol and even drugs.

Aside from the addiction theory of diet sodas, it also has been linked to increased heart attacks, strokes, kidney problems, pre-term deliveries, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and even weight gain. Weight gain? How, the stuff contains zero or low calories, right? A study by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio found that those who drink two or more diet sodas a day led to increasing waist circumference that was 500 percent greater than those who drank none. There are also studies that point to artificial sweeteners as the culprit, stating that the more the subjects drink the more they want to consume and usually consume unhealthy fare to make up for the "diet drink" they consume. In the end, they end up consuming more calories and more calories in than expended always equals weight gain.

Scientists aren't sure why, but a connection between diet soda drinkers and heart attacks and stroke increase their chances by 43 percent than with those who do not drink it. More studies need to be conducted to understand why this occurs. Harvard researchers in 2009 found that drinking two or more diet sodas daily could lead to a 30 percent drop in a measure of kidney function in women.  A Danish study of nearly 60,000 women found a link between drinking diet soda one or more per day and pre-term delivery, a 38 percent increase in risk and if women drank four or more diet sodas daily, they had a 78 percent increase in risk for pre-term delivery.

Also, artificial sweeteners are neurotoxins, meaning it damages the nervous system and/or brain, killing neurons. Sweeteners have been found to cause several types of cancers in animals, however the FDA continues to allow their use in food and beverages including diet sodas.

That's not all, soda dangers lurk in the form of obesity, tooth decay, type II diabetes, osteoporosis and weakened bones and teeth, metabolic syndrome and much much more.

In fact, tooth decay is a huge problem showing up across all backgrounds and income levels. Just out two weeks ago, the pediatric dentist group said that never before record number of toddlers and preschoolers are now having numerous cavities and root canals. Imagine a 2-year old with 18 of his 20 teeth with fillings and/or numerous root canals? It is not uncommon and the group cites sugary food and drink as the main culprit...just too much, too soon equals very unhealthy children. It comes down to this, parents are responsible for this and only they can change the course of their children's dental health.

More interest appears to be shown at uncovering the dangers of soda and I am thrilled. I love the media taking notice and getting the word out. Now we just need to get all consumers informed so they can make the best possible choice for their health. It's a slow process, but it is happening.

I am happy to report that our 10 Seattle Sutton's 2012 Slim Down contestants are a group of people who are abstaining from soda. Before they began the 15-week contest, most drank soda on one level or another -- from being non-soda drinkers up to drinking as much as two 2-liters of pop a day! But now they are working hard to create new habits and form a healthy lifestyle, which does not include consuming soda. Not only are these amazing people losing weight, improving their overall health, but they are also changing bad habits. Way to go, you are such good role models. 

You know, in 9 weeks now, the group has lost a total of 354.5 pounds! Yes, and they still have 6 weeks to go. Who will be crowned the Seattle Sutton's 2012 Slim Down winner? Stay tuned. I'll continue to update you each week with their results.

Have a good soda-free week people!

post-author

Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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