I’m not exaggerating when I say that soda is one of the worst types of junk food for your health. It’s loaded with sugar, artificial colorings and flavorings and is completely devoid of any nutritional value.
Out of all the soda manufacturers, Coca-Cola’s iconic brand absolutely dominates the soda marketplace, with a 42.8% share. Pepsi clocks in at just over 31%.
Frighteningly, approximately 1.7 billion servings of Coke products are consumed every day around the world.
My question is: why is anybody still drinking cola and other sodas? I mean, nobody can think they’re healthy, can they?
Perhaps people are just plain addicted to the stuff and need a little motivation to help them quit. If that’s the case, then here are 11 things that Coke addicts need to hear about their habit.
If you’re one of them, listen up…
Coke Ruins Your Teeth
You’ve probably heard that putting your tooth in a glass of Coke will cause it to dissolve in a matter of days.
Even though that claim has been shown to be grossly exaggerated, the idea behind it right on track – Coke is terrible for your teeth!
In fact, sugared sodas like Coke are nearly as corrosive to your teeth as battery acid. The phosphoric acid in these drinks is to blame for their enamel-eroding effects.
Dental surgeon Sophie Beaumont from Melbourne says she has seen over 1,000 children (some as young as 18 months) have teeth removed, thanks to decay from Coke and other sweet drinks.
Clearly you don’t have to drink Coke for years and years for it to damage your teeth.
Coke doesn’t just erode your teeth, it stains them too. The caramel coloring used to create the deep brown of Coca-Cola can cause your pearly whites to turn an unattractive shade of yellow.
Coke Helps you Pack on the Pounds
Avid drinkers of Coke might notice they’re a little (or a lot!) heavier than they used to be before their habit got out of control.
The fact is that too much sugar causes weight gain, particularly around the belly and love handles. This type of fat – known as visceral fat – is downright unhealthy and is linked to diabetes and other health issues.
Given that a 12 oz can of Coke contains 39 g of sugar (higher than the recommended daily value for both men and women) it’s not surprising you get a ‘Coke belly’ from it.
One man, George Prior, wanted to demonstrate just how bad Coke is for your waistline (and overall health). A regular gym-goer, Prior took it upon himself to drink 10 cans of Coca-Cola a day for a month.
He gained 12 kg in weight, he suddenly found himself with a flabby belly and his blood pressure soared!
Coke Raises Your Blood Pressure
In the case of George Prior, his blood pressure rose from 129/77 to 145/96. The ideal blood pressure level is 120/80 – a far cry from Prior’s current level.
Elevated blood pressure levels (known as hypertension) increase your risk of serious health problems like heart attack and stroke.
You don’t have to have a Coke consumption as extreme as George’s to suffer from high blood pressure.
Data from two large ‘Nurses Health’ studies, that followed 155,000 women for 12 years, show that women who drank just one cola drink every day had a 9% to 13% higher risk of high blood pressure.
The women who drank four or more cans of cola a day had up to a 44% higher risk of hypertension.
The good news is that, in the case of blood pressure at least, kicking your sugary habit can help reverse some of the damage done.
Coke is Linked with Infertility
A Danish study of 2,500 young men found a link between men who drink a liter (33.8 oz) of cola or more a day, and sperm count.
The men who drank a lot of Coke had sperm counts that were almost 30% lower than men who steered clear of the soda.
However, researchers can’t pinpoint exactly why this is and speculate those who don’t drink cola tend to have a healthier overall lifestyle.
But what about female fertility?
Several studies have shown that caffeine increases the length of time it takes to conceive. And, caffeine consumption increases the risk of miscarriage too.
One study showed that women who drank over 200 mg of caffeine per day had twice the miscarriage rate of those who didn’t consume caffeine.
The caffeine in a 12 oz can of Coke is between 25 and 35 mg, Pepsi contains 32 to 39 mg, while Diet Coke contains up to 47 mg.
Let’s not forget the can that Coke comes in. It’s lined with BPA, a plastic that affects female fertility, according to Harvard School of Public Health.
Coke Affects your Mood
Originally billed as ‘the ideal brain tonic’, Coke may not be so good for your mental health after all.
Research published in 2013 suggests that drinking soda is linked with depression.
Over 250,000 people, aged 50 to 71, were studied. Those who drank more than four cans of soda a day were 30% more likely to be diagnosed with depression compared to those who didn’t drink any.
If you’re a Diet Coke fan, your risk of depression appears to be even higher!
While it doesn’t prove that Coke actually causes depression, the fact that there’s a link between the two should be a good enough reason to avoid it.
Coke Affects your Bones
Protecting our bones is vital, but it’s something that many people don’t think about until they’re older.
Of course, by then it’s too late – a lot of the damage has already been done.
In fact, how likely you are to develop osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones) depends on how much bone mass you have by 30, and how rapidly you lose that mass from then on.
The truth is that those who regularly drink Coca-Cola are doing their bones no favors, possibly thanks to the phosphoric acid.
A US study found that women who regularly drink cola (three or more times a day) had a 4% lower bone mineral density in their hips than women who didn’t drink any, even though their calcium and vitamin D intakes were consistent.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that those with osteoporosis don’t drink more than five cola drinks a week. I’d go one better and say skip it altogether!
Coke Will Wreck Your Skin
Between the sugar and caffeine in Coke, addicts have little to no chance of enjoying a youthful glow.
In my article on the amazing things that happen when you quit sugar, I explain how sugar speeds up the aging process.
It’s so potent at causing premature aging that a study of 600 people found that those with higher blood sugar levels consistently looked older than those with lower blood sugar.
Sugar also aggravates acne, rosacea and other skin conditions.
And you know what our adrenals are not doing while they’re pumping out cortisol?
They’re not making DHEA – the most important anti-aging hormone in the body, vital for youth and longevity.
Coke May Cause Cancer
That ‘delightful’ brown coloring of Coke isn’t natural. But even though it says ‘caramel coloring’ on the can, there isn’t anything remotely resembling caramel going into Coke.
The color of cola is manufactured by heating ammonia and sulfites to form compounds that are known carcinogens.
Tests have shown that high doses of these compounds cause tumors on the liver, lungs and thyroid of rats and mice.
Even though Coca-Cola announced in 2012 it was to change its formula to include lower levels of these carcinogens, it still contains some levels of these chemicals.
As far as I can see, cancer causing toxins in any amount should be avoided.
And, tests conducted in 2014 by Consumer Reports on 11 different soft drinks found that one can a day could be enough to expose yourself to potentially cancer-causing levels of these chemicals.
Coke is Bad for Your Kidneys
Drinking two or more colas a day has been associated with increased risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to a 2012 study.
This nasty disease kills over 90,000 Americans every year, more than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined. It also increases your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
Those who already have kidney problems should also steer clear of Coke, says the National Kidney Foundation, as compromised kidneys struggle to remove the drink’s high levels of phosphoric acid from the body.
Coke Contributes to the Diabetes Epidemic
Within 20 minutes of drinking a can of Coke your blood sugar levels spike, causing an insulin burst. About one hour after drinking it, the party is over and along comes the sugar crash.
You’ll be dehydrated, irritable and tired.
A continuous rise and fall of blood sugar levels eventually leads to insulin resistance, and on to type 2 diabetes.
Research shows that drinking one or two sugary drinks a day increases your chances of type 2 diabetes by up to 26%, compared to those who drink less than one a month.
In fact, enjoying just one sugary drink a day increases your risk of developing diabetes by 15%.
Diet Coke is No Better for You
For the Diet Coke lovers out there, I’m sorry to say that Diet Coke is no better for you. Sure, it doesn’t have the sugar content of regular Coke and it’s a ‘diet’ drink so you won’t gain weight.
Or will you?
Actually, diet soda is also linked with an increased waist size. Shockingly, one study found that those who drink two or more diet sodas a day had a waistline of up to 500% greater than those who didn’t drink any.
Diet cola also contains something regular Coke doesn’t have – the killer ingredient, aspartame.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used in place of sugar. Aspartame is linked to headaches, depression, anxiety, diabetes and even early death.
What about all the other negative health effects I mentioned above, like high blood pressure, weak bones, increased cancer risk and poor kidney function?
Sorry, but they all still hold true, regardless of whether your Coke is regular or diet.
Now that we’ve established that Coke does some seriously messed up things to your body, it’s time to quit the habit once and for all.
If you’re struggling to go ‘cold turkey’ check out my tips on how to get rid of a food addiction.
You might also benefit from understanding your food cravings – this post will help you along.
Have you got a Coke addiction? Which one of Coke’s side-effects did you find most shocking?
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