More and more Americans are trying to kick their soda habit. According to a recent Gallup poll, nearly two out of every three Americans are actively trying to avoid soda. That’s up from 41% in over a decade before!
But we’re still not at 100%. Sugar-sweetened beverages—like soda—are the number one source of added sugar in the American diet. Our high intake of added sugars is linked to everything from belly fat to increased risk of diabetes. So that soda addiction of yours? It needs to go. Even in smaller doses, soda could still be damaging your body and derailing your weight loss efforts. Maybe these surprising facts will help you cut the cola cord once and for all. And for more, don’t miss these 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked By How Toxic They Are.
It builds up fat around your organs
Yep, we’re talking dangerous fats that are hard to detect with the naked eye, meaning, you might not know you’re in risk of certain health problems because you won’t see the changes in your own body. Danish researchers conducted a study of the effects of non-diet soda by asking participants to drink either sweetened soda, milk containing the same amount of calories as the soda, diet soda, or water every day for six months. Total fat mass remained the same across all beverage-drinking groups, but the drinkers of regular soda saw a drastic increase in harmful hidden fats, like liver and skeletal fat. And we mean drastic. Liver fat numbers jumped between 132 and 142 percent and skeletal fat numbers soared to an increase of between 117 and 221 percent. That’s before considering the 11 percent increase in cholesterol, compared to people who drank the other beverages.
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Switching to diet doesn’t help you
It’s a logical assumption; switching from a sugar-based soda to a non-sugar-based soda would help your health. While calorically speaking that might be true, diet sodas contain their own dangers and side effects. In a shocking study, researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center monitored 475 adults for 10 years and found that the participants who drank diet soda saw a 70 percent increase in waist circumference compared with those who didn’t drink any soda. So much for the idea that diet soda helps you diet. That’s not all; the participants who drank more than two diet sodas per day suffered a 500 percent waist expansion! Yikes. The same researchers conducted a separate study on mice that indicates it might be the aspartame that causes the weight gain. Aspartame raises blood glucose levels to a point where the liver cannot handle it all so the excess is converted into fat.
It’s aging you, quickly
You’re spending hundreds of dollars on anti-aging products, multi-vitamins, and a personal trainer to keep yourself young and fit, but you haven’t kicked that soda habit yet even though it’s one step toward anti-aging that could actually save you money! Well, get on board because here’s what that sweet sip is doing to your body; An American Journal of Public Health study found that drinking 20-ounces of sugar-sweetened soda a day added an average of 4.6 additional years of aging compared with those who didn’t drink soda or sugar-sweetened beverages at all.
(Related: 20 Worst Eating Habits That Are Shaving Years Off Your Life.)
You may be draining your brainpower
Having trouble keeping track of things on your to-do list? It may be linked to your soda habit. One Alzheimer’s and Dementia study found that soda drinkers performed significantly worse on memory tests than those who avoided sugary beverages. The researchers also took brain scans, which revealed the greatest brain shrinkage in those who drank the most soda.
Your risk of cancer may increase
Diet and regular sodas contain phosphoric acid to ward off the growth of bacteria and mold and give it that tang that keeps you coming back. On average, we’re consuming more dietary phosphate now than we have ever before. More research needs to be done, but experts believe that it’s worth being concerned about the quantities of phosphorus and food‐additive phosphate in the diets. Right now, scientists believe that there may be a correlation between phosphate intake and cancer, according to a review published in the journal Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety.
You’re more likely to have skin flare-ups
Acne doesn’t just affect teenagers. What you see on your skin is a direct reflection of the foods you put in your body. Case in point: A 2019 study found that the participants who frequently drank sugar-sweetened beverages like soda were more likely to have moderate-to-severe acne. Ditch your can of coke to see an improvement in your complexion, and you can also start eating these 22 Foods That Will Immediately Improve Your Skin, According to Dermatologists.