to Soda… that is!
“Just Say No” is a slogan created by first lady Nancy Reagan. The “Just Say No” advertising campaign against recreational drug use was prevalent throughout the 1980s. Today, the same slogan would be appropriate to discourage soda consumption.
I am sure you already know that regular soda drinking is not exactly good for you, right? But sometimes, you just feel like you need a sweet, energizing JOLT! Truth be told, I’ve never been much of a soda drinker… it just doesn’t quench my thirst. However, there are times when I crave the taste. It is typically after a late night of drinking (not soda!) and I feel like it does the trick for about 2 hours and then it’s sugar crash time.
I know some of you have a hard time living without it. It has been your “go to” drink in the morning, afternoon, and is with you at dinner, but you have been cutting back over time. It turns out that consumption of “traditional carbonated soft drinks” has actually been on the decline. In the US, it’s gone from nearly 53 gallons consumed per year at its peak in 1998 to 41 gallons in 2014. This decline is explained with the heightened awareness of the obesity crisis in the early 2000’s and the government’s focus on eliminating sugary drinks.
Getting to… “Just Say No”
I’m guessing some of that awareness is probably why you have been “cutting back” and maybe you need a little reminder of some of the many hazards of the “soda” habit. Sadly, these are only a few – there are many more!
1. Excessive sugar. Plain and simple. I’ve discussed the “sugar” issue in a previous newsletter -(http://peggygreenwell.com/%E2%99%AB-sugar-ahhoney-honey%E2%99%AB/). It is widely believed that sodas are the leading cause of diabetes and other life threatening illnesses. Most sodas contain the equivalent of 16 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup. That is nearly 3 times the maximum daily sugar intake recommended by the American Heart Association.
2. Artificial sweeteners. Sugar-free sodas may not have calories, but that doesn’t mean they are good for you. There are still too many downsides to the sweeteners that are substitutes for sugar that may cause diarrhea, bloating, food cravings, and the list goes on.
3. Soda is high in caffeine. Caffeine is an addictive substance. In the short-term, it can give your body a boost of energy, which is why you may turn to caffeine drinks for a pick-me-up. However, once your body crashes, you are likely to experience headaches, sleepiness, and fatigue during your withdrawal.
4. It’s bad for your bones. There is still some debate about why this is the case. It could be that the phosphoric acid in cola leaches calcium out of the bone or it might be that the caffeine intake might lead to lower bone density, especially in women.
But, the most compelling reason for the many negative impacts on your body is the fact that…
There are NO NUTRITIONALLY BENEFICIAL COMPONENTS IN SODAS!
That’s right! There are no vitamins or minerals in soda, only filtered water and refined sugars (or sweeteners). It is believed that when people choose “diet soda,” for example, instead of a drink that has some nutritional value like milk or juice, they are depriving themselves of nutritional benefits, like calcium for bones. Think about the impact of this for some children who live on sodas and have them with every meal.
Here’s some ideas for continuing to cut back or to “Just Say No”
Wean yourself off slowly – If you typically drink multiple servings of soda a day… try cutting back to one a day and then maybe one a week.
Mix it with water – Try half-soda, half-water. You will automatically be drinking less.
Switch to unsweetened tea – It can be just as refreshing!
Drink a glass of water first – You might find that thirst was driving your craving for soda.
Give seltzer water a try – This will help, especially if you crave the carbonation.
Go caffeine-free – You may find that you will drink less once you make the switch.
Save it for special occasions – … like after a night of drinking!