Everyone has heard the soda debate. To drink or not to drink? Diet or regular? Well, we can all enjoy a nice cold soda every now and then, whether it’s because they are refreshing or simply for a caffeine kick, without a worry in the world. The problems arise when we start replacing water intake with soda. First you’ll learn the difference between regular and diet soda, then what you should know about the things too much soda and not enough water can do to you.
It’s important to know the difference between regular soda and diet so you decide which one is best for you, if you don’t decide exclusively on taste. Regular soda is sweetened using high fructose corn syrup, which has calories and carbs galore. Diet soda contains artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, and although that means zero calories and carbs, they’ll still get you. Taking in large volumes of aspartame on a regular basis has been linked to dizziness, memory loss, headaches, irritability and joint pain. Regular soda, with its carbs and calories and without aspartame can cause its own problems. Consuming lots of the easily digested sugar or high fructose corn syrup found in regular soda causes a spike in blood sugar and insulin which make you more vulnerable to stroke, diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. These sugars can also lead to weight gain by causing increased consumption due to a failure to satisfy hunger as solid foods do and, as whole, has been associated with increased blood pressure and, especially in children, tooth decay. People with diabetes should avoid regular soda because of these spikes and, if you choose to drink soda, stick with diet.
The biggest health issues associated with soda aren’t its actual contents. The problem is that when you’re drinking soda, you’re not drinking water. Chronic dehydration affects 75% of Americans and being dehydrated, even a little bit, can cause your metabolism to slow by as much as 30%. Dehydration can lower the quality and results of workouts by making you feel weak and also make it hard to concentrate. Choosing to drink water instead of soda will help quiet hunger, especially late at night and aid in weight loss. Staying properly hydrated keeps skin healthy, while dehydration can speed up the adding process and cause fatigue.
You don’t have to give up your Coke, Dr. Pepper or Pepsi just yet, but now you know why you need to balance soda intake with water. If you are ready to jump the soda ship, and still want bubbles, try seltzer or flavored, carbonated waters.