Are Soft Drinks Really Bad for You? Healthy Living Recommended: Use a voucher code MAS5385 to save an extra 5% when shopping for supplements on iHerb. Most of us relish the thought of having a cold can of their favourite soft drink during the day; especially when it’s hot or we just need a small energy boost. But can this small treat be killing us? The following reasons provide evidence as to why drinking soft drinks is bad for you. Soft Drinks Make You Gain Weight Several hundreds of studies have been published over the last two decades about the consumption of soft drinks and weight gain. The key findings are the same; regular soft drinks contain empty calories and normally result in weight gain. Of course, if you take care not to go over your daily allowance of calories this probably won’t result in weight gain. But it’s not just the regular drinks to look out for – the University of Texas Health Science Centre in San Antonio found that people who regularly consumed diet soft drinks had an average of a 70% greater increase in waist circumference compared to those who did not drink them. How is weight gain possible if they don’t contain calories? Scientists believe that our brains respond to the fake sugar the same way they would respond to real sugar, by producing more insulin to help sort out the sugar, blocking the body’s ability to burn fat. You’ll also be surprised to discover that many of the artificial sweeteners used in diet soft drinks have neuroexcitotoxic properties, allowing them to impact the hypothalamus in the brain. This particular area of the brain contains the propio-melanocortin receptor and is responsible for controlling your weight. If you disrupt this receptor your body begins to perceive a state of complete famine, making you feel hungrier and resulting in a slower metabolism. Soft Drinks Increase Your Risk of Disease A lot of recent headlines have raised the concerns over the health of soft drinks. Both diet and regular soft drinks have been link with obesity, kidney damage and even certain cancers. The regular soft drinks are known to increase your blood pressure and the risk of having a stroke. Epidemiologist Hannah Gardener of the University of Miami presented a set of results in February from her on-going research. Her findings noted that regularly consuming diet soft drinks on a daily basis can increase your risk of heart attacks and stroke by 48% compared to those who did not drink diet soft drinks or rarely drank them. Diet sodas also pose a health risk because of the chemicals used to help sweeten the flavour. The full effects of these chemicals are not fully known. The regular soft drinks are not out of the picture; almost all of them contain high fructose corn syrup or high amounts of sugar as a sweetening agent. If you consume large amounts of high fructose corn syrup, which the body finds hard to digest, the body responds with a large spike of blood sugar and insulin. This results in inflammation of the body and insulin resistance, which ultimately leads to weight gain. Scientists have also discovered that a sugar overload from sugar can promote cancer cell growth from the overload of insulin. Soft Drinks Cause Tooth Decay A regular, full sugar soft drink contains the equivalent of 9 – 12 teaspoons of sugar per can. It is obvious to see the effects this will have on your dental health. Sugar has a habit of interacting with the bacteria within your mouth. Once this reaction happens, acid is released into your mouth that weakens your gums and causes dental erosion. Diet soft drinks may also cause cavities by eroding tooth enamel. Soft Drinks Age You All soft drinks contain phosphates or phosphoric acid, whether they’re regular or diet. This is a food additive that increases the shelf life of the drinks and helps to improve its flavour. Recent research has suggested that high levels of phosphates within the body accelerate the signs of aging, result in sever muscle and skin atrophy and increase the prevalence and severity of age related diseases later on in life. As mentioned earlier, the surge of insulin that happens when you drink soft drinks results in dysfunction in the hippocampus. If you happen to be elderly, this can mean an increased risk of memory decline and the ability to learn new things. This high level of insulin can also create oxidative stress, resulting in an acceleration of the overall aging process according to article published in “Free Radical Biology and Medicine” in 2000. Soft Drink Cans Could Be Toxic It’s not just the liquid soft drink themselves that cause health risks. Almost all soft drink cans are made of aluminium and lined with epoxy resin bisphenol A, which is used to help stop the acids within the soft drink reacting with the metal. This substance has been linked to a disruption in hormones and with everything ranging from infertility to obesity. The aluminium casing of the can has also been noted as becoming incorporated with the soft drink itself. Aluminium is a highly positively charged substance and destroys the healthy electronegative colloidal properties of the fluids within your body. This can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and many other health issues. Now that you’ve had an overview of the health issues that can arise from drinking soft drinks it is easy to see that you should reduce the amount you consume. Of course you can still have the odd treat, but why not start drinking water and save your health and your bank balance. 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