Soda is tasty but incredibly unhealthy and laden with sugar and artificial ingredients. A few decades ago, people used to be much healthier than they are now, mainly because of the food they ate and the fact that they were more active. This was only true in more developed areas, where people had the means to survive without worrying about starving.
The present is superior because many more people have access to food and other facilities that improve life. Overall, life expectancy has increased because society is better equipped to fight disease, hunger, and so on. But that doesn’t mean that all aspects of modern society are equally as healthy. And one of the unhealthier inventions is soda.
Soda is one of the tastiest things modern societies have invented. It’s refreshing and delicious, especially on a hot summer day, but it also has a lot of hidden ingredients that are less than ideal. Not even homemade fruit juices are recommended for everyday consumption. And those aren’t processed and don’t have added chemicals.
It’s all about the sugar that is in all kinds of juices. And soda is much worse because it is processed and has all those added chemicals. But many people still drink it every day. And who can blame them? Soda is delicious, and you can easily get addicted to it. But adverse things will happen to your body if you drink soda daily.
The Ingredients That Go Into Soda (Sugar and Artificial Ingredients)
Sodas, or soft drinks, are a favorite, especially to quench your thirst on a hot summer day. No one believes that they are healthy by any means. But when you go to the store to buy one, you probably don’t think about how damaging it is. Soda is mainly based on carbonated water, but that’s where the non-harmful ingredients end.
The secondary ingredient in soda is high fructose corn syrup, which is essentially just sugar. Most high-fructose corn syrups mix 55% fructose and 45% glucose. And the result has the taste of table sugar. Just 100 grams of cola contain eleven grams of sugar. A standard can of soda contains up to 39 grams of sugar (or roughly nine teaspoons). And this is not even where the harmful ingredients end.
You will also find caramel color in most sugary drinks. This is just artificial coloring that makes things brown. Other types of artificial colors are also used, which are highly damaging, as they are all chemically obtained. Next on the ingredient list is caffeine, which is something not many people know about. You might know that cola has caffeine, and some people even drink it to boost energy.
But most sodas are caffeinated, which can be an issue, especially if you drink these beverages in high quantities. Many other added chemicals enhance flavor and boost the drink’s lifespan. Technically, soda is non-perishable, meaning it doesn’t go bad per se. And this should make you ask some questions, seeing how this goes into your body.
What About Zero and Sugar-Free?
The sodas marketed as “zero” or “sugar-free” are arguably even worse. They don’t have sugar per se and come with the added benefit of having zero calories. But there’s a catch: artificial sweeteners are used to achieve the same soda taste. Aspartame and acesulfame potassium are the main sweeteners used. Even though aspartame was determined to be safe for consumption, many concerns are associated with this chemical.
Many studies linked long-term consumption of aspartame with an increased risk of obesity. Some studies link it to increased cancer risk, but no conclusive evidence shows. So, diet soda might be a better alternative. But it still contains some risky ingredients, and the long-term effects are still unclear.
What Happens to Your Body if You Drink Soda Every Day?
These red flags will make you want to grab a nice, big, healthy drink of water.
1. It Harms Your Gut Health
Your gut health affects your whole body, so taking care of it is very important. Trillions of microorganisms in the gut work together to ensure a healthy balance. This is known as the gut microbiome, which affects the whole gut when it is imbalanced. Gut health affects many aspects, from immunity to mood. Even though it covers just the digestive system, the effects of its imbalances spread beyond that region.
Soda is very acidic, so drinking it daily can harm the gut’s good bacteria. And it seems to be the case that diet soda is worse than regular soda in this respect. And this is precisely because of the artificial sweeteners it contains. They alter the gut microbiome and can cause various issues, especially stomach pains, cramps, and constipation.
These chemicals can disrupt digestion, causing inflammation and making you uncomfortable. But drinking regular soda doesn’t do wonders for your gut, either. The excess sugar it contains can limit the production of a protein that promotes the existence of a specific type of good bacteria. This is supported by a Yale study that discusses gut health.
This bacteria is important because it helps process healthy foods like vegetables. When these bacteria decrease, these foods cannot be adequately digested. Plus, the acidity in all types of soda is a significant factor that affects your gut. It can cause bloating and gas, at the very least. So, if you feel like you’re having trouble with your gut, maybe it’s time to cut back on your soda consumption.
2. It Increases the Risk of Heart Disease
Sugar seems to be the biggest issue associated with drinking a lot of soda. You might not associate drinking a sugary drink with heart issues. But it’s one of your biggest concerns if you are an avid soda consumer. And this is because of the abnormally high amount of sugar in that small can. Not to mention that all the added chemicals don’t help either. But it’s sugar that does the most damage.
High consumption of sugar raises blood pressure and can increase chronic inflammation. Both of these issues can degenerate and lead to heart disease. Plus, calories consumed in liquid form, especially those in sugary beverages, are not felt. They trick the body into turning off its appetite-control system, which means you’ll still be hungry after drinking them.
This is how you’ll consume more calories than you should, even if you don’t overeat solid food. This is relevant because weight gain and heart disease are correlated. That’s not to say that a few extra pounds will be harmful. But if it gets to the point of obesity, it becomes a big issue. Among other things, severe weight gain can cause atherosclerosis.
This is when your arteries thicken or harden because of a buildup of plaque in the lining of the vessels. And some of the most common factors are obesity and high cholesterol. All the previously mentioned issues can cause heart disease and even stroke. Many studies have been conducted on this topic, and all have similar conclusions. And that’s that people who drink too much soda are twice, if not more, as likely to struggle with heart issues than people who don’t.
3. It Can Lead to Diabetes
Besides calories, there are no other nutrients you can get from sugary drinks. And the idea that you at least get some calories shouldn’t be a selling point. Those calories are not sustainable, and besides giving you a temporary energy boost, they don’t help you. As mentioned before, the calories hidden in these drinks are very dangerous because they don’t satiate the body.
Its appetite-control system is not equipped to handle these calories properly. So, your body will still crave to eat something nutritious. Now, it’s good to crave nutritious food, not the calories you should be worried about. If a person who didn’t drink soda before were to start drinking one daily, they would gain up to five pounds per year. And that’s assuming they don’t change their diet to adjust for the added calories in the soda.
Regarding type 2 diabetes, sugar intake and weight gain should be monitored. Diabetes happens when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin and cells respond poorly. Insulin is the hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into the cells. So, when there isn’t enough of it, the level of sugar (specifically glucose) in the blood is high.
Now, obesity is related to diabetes mainly through the liver. The excess glucose in the body stores primarily in the liver. And, if you struggle with obesity, your liver contains fat. So, there’s no room for the body to store glucose. So, the body tries to create more insulin to push the sugar through the fat.
In time, it gets overworked, which means it cannot produce the right insulin level. When there’s too little insulin in the body, you are dealing with type 2 diabetes. This illness is dangerous because it can lead to stroke, nerve damage, kidney issues, vision loss, and many more.
Final Thoughts on What Happens to Your Body if You Drink Soda Every Day
Enjoying a soda once in a while is not an issue. But drinking it daily is harmful, no matter how good it tastes. And it doesn’t even taste that good. It’s much healthier and more satisfying to drink some water.
Or, if you want something sweet, eat some fruit or drink some juice. You should even consume juices in moderate quantities, as they are high in fructose, which is ultimately a sugar. But it’s much better to drink a glass of orange juice than a can of cola.
If you drink soda every day, you will have to deal with numerous health issues. The most dangerous are heart disease and diabetes. But even if it doesn’t get to that, you will most likely have to deal with imbalances in your gut health. So, drinking a glass of water is better than dealing with bloating and cramps.