9 Frightening Facts About Soda
A 20-ounce Coke has 240 empty calories, slightly more than a whole pack of Skittles. Both are horrible for you, but you’re better off eating the candy, because at least your body will register that you’ve eaten. “When you chew food, it takes time, and your body and brain acknowledge the act of eating,” says Lisa Young, RD, adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University and author of The Portion Teller Plan. “But you can drink a whole meal’s worth of calories and your body won’t even realize it. It’s like it never happened.”
In fact, your body will just assume you’ve guzzled water, says Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy. “If you drink a soda right now, your body will treat it like water, and 30 minutes later you’ll be just as hungry as if you hadn’t consumed all those calories,” he says. That’s doubly dangerous because not only are these calories terrible for you, “all those little sugar molecules floating around are absorbed immediately, causing blood sugar spikes,” Goldstein says.
One soda a day is all it takes to crank up your Type-2 diabetes risk by 26 percent. Each additional sugary drink you consume can increase your odds another 18 percent. According to Goldstein, when such large amounts of glucose and fructose are absorbed so quickly, the glucose tells the body to secrete insulin to buffer the blood-sugar surge. If you drink soda daily, your pancreas will eventually wear out. Meanwhile, the fructose from soda gets stored in the liver as fat. “The combination of overworking your pancreas and slowly developing fatty liver disease contributes directly to diabetes, as well as heart disease,” Goldstein says. Here’s more incentive to kick the can: By replacing your daily vice with water, coffee, or unsweetened tea, you can lower your diabetes risk by 14 percent.
Besides supplying loads of sugar for cavity-causing bacteria to feast on, soda is laced with acid, which erodes tooth enamel. “You’ve already got bacteria in your mouth trying to eat away at the enamel,” Goldstein says. “The acid in soda does the job very quickly, allowing the bacteria to move right in and start chewing on the soft parts of your teeth.” That, in turn, causes cavities and decay. “Soda is the worst possible thing you can consume for your teeth,” Goldstein says.
Research shows people who drink three or more cans of pop per week — diet, regular, or caffeine-free — have lower bone mineral density, a risk factor for osteoporosis and fractures. Essentially, the bones are lacking calcium. But experts don’t know if this is because they’re choosing soda over calcium-rich milk or if the phosphoric acid in soda is to blame. “The body tries to maintain an ideal calcium-phosphorous ratio,” says Penny Kris-Etherton, RD, professor of nutrition at Penn State University. “If that balance is out
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