Friday, October 30, 2009

The skinny on soda

I  know I shouldn't drink diet soda. The chemicals. The studies that say it can make you gain weight. The aftertaste. But there are times when nothing else will do. 

One of our clients, Hudson Health Plan, teamed up with one of its dental providers, PRASAD, to demonstrate good dental practices to the students at Ellenville (NY) Elementary School. The message's timing was exact: the week the kiddies would be donning costumes and filling their sacks with candy. But while they had a captive audience, they also impressed on the kids that soda is to be avoided at all costs — except perhaps as a special treat for a birthday.

The event got me thinking about soda in an entirely different way. If it attacks our teeth, what is it doing to our insides? Soda consumption has more than quadrupled in the last 40 years. We all consume about five cans of soda each day. And our soda sizes are exploding. Once we were happy with 8 ounces; today, a small soda is 12 ounces.

This all leads me to my goal this week: I will drink no diet soda. Instead, I will drink seltzer and water. Because this is hard goal for me, it is my only goal.

To help me out, I found these interesting facts on, which I have printed out and will keep tucked in my wallet — just in case!

1. The sugar in soda can increase insulin levels in the blood, which over time can lead to type 2 diabetes, as well as high blood pressure, heart disease and weight gain. Consuming just one can of soda a day can increase your weight by 18 pounds per year.

2. Phosphoric acid found in many types of soda inhibits the proper absorption of calcium causing bones to become week and teeth to become soft. Is it any wonder the incidence of osteoporosis continues to increase in America? Additionally, Americans have the highest incidence of osteoporosis in the world.

3. Many sodas contain caffeine, which acts as a stimulant and energy enhancer. However, caffeine increases urine output further contributing to water losses.

4. Diet sodas contain aspartame, an artificial sweetener. Aspartame has been challenged by many people who claim they have had serious side affects, such as headaches, dizziness, seizures and nausea, from its use. For those who drink diet soda as an alternative to sugary soda, aspartame can interfere with the body's ability to reach weight-loss goals.

5. Soda also contains sodium, a nutrient that promotes water retention. When sodium levels are excessive in the body, the resulting water retention can cause other health risks, such as increased blood pressure.

6. Drinking soda can lead to other health problems because large amounts of soda can decrease your appetite for fruits, vegetable and essential nutrients.

7. It has been widely accepted that Coke can also be used to loosen rusted bolts, clean up blood stains, clean corrosion off battery terminals and remove stubborn toilet bowls stains.

8. One glass of water can alleviate late-night hunger.

9. Obtaining the recommended eight to 10 glasses of water a day can ease joint pain.

10. Drinking at least five glasses of water each day can reduce the incidence of colon cancer, bladder cancer and breast cancer.

11. Drinking the suggested eight to 10 glasses a day can maintain appropriate weight levels.

12. If you are exercising vigorously, be sure to drink three cups of water for every pound lost after exercise.

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