top of page

Soda Is NOT Our Friend During Hot Summer Days




Those hot summer days are here, and what better way to cool off than with a nice cold beverage? Water will always be the best choice for all the beverages we can consume. One of the unhealthy choices is soda. Consuming soda during hot summer days is generally considered inadvisable for several reasons related to hydration and health.


Many sodas contain caffeine, a diuretic that increases urine production and can lead to fluid loss. This effect is particularly pronounced in hot weather when the body's fluid needs are higher. Unlike water or electrolyte-replenishing drinks, soda fails to adequately hydrate the body. It lacks essential minerals like sodium and potassium, which are vital for maintaining fluid balance and preventing dehydration, especially in hot weather .


Regular soda consumption has been linked to a host of health issues, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. These conditions can be further exacerbated by the additional stress of hot weather on the body . Moreover, soda can have several adverse effects on the kidneys and stomach lining due to its ingredients and properties. Sodas, particularly those with high fructose corn syrup, can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. The high levels of phosphoric acid in some sodas can alter the urine composition, increasing the risk of stone formation.


Soda contains high levels of sugar, which can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. This triggers a surge in insulin production, leading to increased oil (sebum) production in the skin. Excessive sebum can clog pores and result in acne breakouts. Regular consumption of sugary sodas can lead to insulin resistance, a condition where the body's cells become less responsive to insulin. This can disrupt hormonal balance, further promoting acne.


Sodas are highly acidic, and their consumption can increase stomach acid production. This can irritate the stomach lining, leading to conditions like gastritis. Gastritis is an inflammation, irritation, or erosion of the stomach lining. It can occur suddenly (acute gastritis) or gradually (chronic gastritis). If left untreated, gastritis can lead to complications such as open sores in the stomach lining, bleeding in the stomach, and the risk of stomach cancer.


Soda is often called "liquid candy" due to its high sugar content and lack of nutritional value, making it similar to consuming candy in liquid form. Sodas contain significant amounts of added sugars. For example, a typical 12-ounce can of soda contains about 39 grams of sugar, which is roughly equivalent to 10 teaspoons of sugar. This high sugar content is comparable to that found in many types of candy. In addition to high sugar content, sodas often contain artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. These additives contribute to the perception of soda as an unhealthy, processed product, similar to candy. The sugars in soda can feed bacteria in the mouth that produce acids, leading to tooth decay and cavities. The acidity of soda itself also contributes to enamel erosion.


Don't get fooled by sugar-free soda! While many sodas are marketed as "sugar-free," it's true that they often contain artificial or non-nutritive sweeteners. These sweeteners are artificial and are used to mimic the taste of sugar without the calories.


Types of Sweeteners in Sugar-Free Sodas



  • Aspartame: A widely used artificial sweetener, aspartame is about 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is commonly found in diet sodas and other low-calorie or sugar-free products.


  • Sucralose: Also known by the brand name Splenda, sucralose is a popular artificial sweetener 600 times sweeter than sugar. It is often used in diet sodas.


  • Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K): This sweetener is about 200 times sweeter than sugar and is frequently used with other sweeteners to improve taste.


  • Saccharin: One of the oldest artificial sweeteners, saccharin is about 300-400 times sweeter than sugar and is sometimes found in diet sodas.


  • Stevia: A natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the Stevia plant, it is about 200-300 times sweeter than sugar and is used in some sugar-free sodas.


Many consumers have requested more natural ingredients, and some soda manufacturers have started using natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit extract. These alternatives are also much sweeter than sugar but are derived from natural sources.


While 'sugar-free' sodas do not contain traditional sugar, they are sweetened with various artificial or non-nutritive sweeteners. These man-made substances aim to provide the sweetness of sugar without the associated calories. It's reassuring to know that the safety and health impacts of these sweeteners are generally supported by "regulatory authorities", although ongoing debate and research into their long-term effects continue.


When it comes to choosing beverages, it's crucial to be well-informed about the ingredients and their effects on our health. By making informed decisions based on personal health preferences and dietary goals, we can take control of our health. Switching from soda to water and natural juices during the summer is a healthy choice that offers numerous benefits.




References:


  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "The Nutrition Source - Sugary Drinks."

  • Malik, V. S., et al. (2010). "Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis." Diabetes Care.

  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). "Caffeine: How much is too much?" Mayo Clinic.

  • Godek, S. F., et al. (2005). "Sweat rates and fluid turnover in professional football players: A comparison of National Football League linemen and backs." Journal of Athletic Training.

  • Casa, D. J., et al. (2015). "National Athletic Trainers' Association Position Statement: Exertional Heat Illnesses." Journal of Athletic Training.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Extreme Heat and Your Health."

  • Popkin, B. M., et al. (2010). "Water, hydration, and health." Nutrition Reviews.

  • Maughan, R. J., et al. (2003). "Caffeine ingestion and fluid balance: a review." Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "The Nutrition Source - Sugary Drinks."

19 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page