I have many weaknesses when it comes to eating right, but coke (soda for you non-Texans) has never been something that I crave. However, I am constantly hearing clients and friends tell me that soda is the one thing they just cannot give up. So I have composed a list of the top reasons why you should not drink soda, how to combat your urges, and healthier alternatives. I have also included why diet drinks are the worst thing you can put in your body.
What’s so bad about it?
1. Let’s start with some basic ingredients: carbonated water, caramel color, natural flavors, caffeine, phosphoric acid and high-fructose corn syrup. Two ingredients in the list that automatically make me cringe are caffeine (a diuretic which increases urine volume and ultimately a mineral depletion) and high-fructose corn syrup (a very cheap way to sweeten foods with a high calorie cost – not to mention it’s about as chemically enhanced/refined as possible).
2. It provides NO nutritional value! This is a very big one. Everything you put into your body should be benefiting you in some way. This means that it should provide some sort of vitamins, fibers, or minerals.
3. All the sugar and coloring seriously damages your teeth over time.
4. If you’re drinking too much coke, you’re probably not drinking enough water!
5. The physical effect: This link explains exactly what happens to your body after immediately consuming a whole Coke. It is absolutely crazy and worth glancing at. It’s also very short and can be found here.
6. The SUGAR! A can of soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar which is 100% of our daily recommended value.
Curbing the addiction:
Chances are, if you’re a heavy soda drinker, you are a soda addict. Caffeine, like most addictive substances, is very difficult to eliminate from your diet cold turkey. If you are drinking sodas daily or even multiple times a day, start by slowly decreasing the amount; start with one a day, then move to two a week, and then one a week. While you are slowly decreasing the amount, you may experience some side effects in the first few days such as restlessness, headaches, anxiety, and even depression. Push through this period and your body feel so much better and healthier in the days to follow. Here are some suggestive alternatives:
1. My favorite is a trick that Jordan’s dad taught me – combining sparkling water with any 100% juice that does not have any sugar added. I tend to choose cranberry-grape juice or cranberry-blueberry juice more than anything else. This delicious soda replacement provides some sort of nutritional element to your body while being free of caffeine, high amounts of sugar, and excessive coloring. You also get to control how much juice you put into your mixture. When you first try this it will not taste anything like your Coke or Dr. Pepper; however, your body will adjust and it will curb your craving for something fizzy.
Tip: Because there still is quite a bit of sugar (even though it is natural) in all fruit juices, try to limit your water to juice ratio to 4:1. You may begin with a more equal ratio, but try to add less juice in your mixture each time.
2. Water. Water. Water. I know this is very difficult, especially if you are a soda-a-day drinker, but we have got to consume enough water on a daily basis. Because our bodies are made up of so much water, it is necessary that we drink enough. Remember your recommended amount is 1/2 of your body weight in ounces (Ex: If you weigh 120 lbs, You should be consuming 60 ounces of water a day). Drink your recommended amount for the day and then you can treat yourself to a little sparkling water juice mixture at the end of the day.
3. There are several soda alternatives out on your grocery shelf. My very most favorite is called IZZE. It is completely all natural and is the same concept of adding juice to sparkling water. It comes in a variety of flavors including: pomegranate, clementine, apple, and blackberry and I have even seen these bottles in Starbucks. When comparing the two, an 8.5 oz only has 90 calories and 19g of sugar, while 8 oz of Coke has 100 calories and 27g of sugar. There is also a lower calorie version (IZZE esque) that simply has less juice and more sparkling water. It only has 50 calories and 11g of sugar per bottle! To really see the difference between IZZE and Coke, compare the labels. This is something you should be doing with everything you consume.
Diet drinks = XXX
I tell all of my clients that if they are going to drink soda I would rather them drink a regular Coke than a diet Coke. My critical thinking along with tons of research tells me that diet sodas are absolutely the worst thing you can possibly put in your body. Just the fact that they have no calories or fat in them makes me a little concerned. Don’t you wonder how something with so much taste can have nothing in it?! It’s almost like the well known proverb that says “nothing in life is free.” Every time you think you have gotten something for no cost, there is usually some kind of catch or hidden cost. This is the same concept for diet sodas. Every cause has an effect whether it is a good one or a bad one. You think you are consuming nothing, but you are putting something into your body that will affect it in some way. Here are just some plain facts that state why you should quit the ‘diet’ drinks.
1. Studies have shown that diet drinks may actually cause our bodies to crave more calories when we put something in it that tastes like it has calories but does not. We think we are fooling our bodies but we are not!
2. It has aspartame. Look it up! Trust me, you don’t want it in your body! When the temperature of this sweetener exceeds 86 degrees F, the wood alcohol in ASPARTAME converts to Formaldehyde and then to formic acid, which in turn causes metabolic acidosis. (Formic acid is the poison found in the sting of fire ants.)
3. Studies have directly linked diet sodas to obesity. A specific study looked at two different groups that consumed either diet sodas or regular sodas. This study showed a stronger correlation between obesity and the diet soda drinkers rather than the regular soda drinkers.
Bottom line: If you have to have them, just drink the regular coke instead. ‘Diet’ drinks are not worth it. If you don’t believe me, take the time to do your own research and learn for yourself what is really in these deadly drinks.