Monday, May 8, 2017

Why I Gave Up Soda

Why I Gave Up Soda was originally written for my church in May of 2012, but I needed to update it a little and repost it after watching That Sugar Film yesterday. I learned that the Coca-Cola Company funded research on fructose-containing sugar that, would you believe, showed no correlation between sugar and obesity, diabetes, heart disease...! The scientist who was interviewed in the film, John L Sievenpiper MD, states in the film that sugar isn't bad for us and in the same interview said that yes, COCA-COLA IS FUNDING THE RESEARCH, but that doesn't sway the results or findings. Yeah, okay.

In this interview, Sievenpiper says, "Let's say we took away added sugar. Well then, what're people gunna do, uh, to get that same feeling in their life that sugar gave them in terms of their values and preferences?" This makes me go, "hmmmm..." because research (not paid for by sugar-pushing companies who care nothing for the people buying their products) shows sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Here's what I heard come out of Sievenpiper's mouth:

Let's say we took away cocaine. Well then, what're the addicts gunna do, uh, to get that same feeling that cocaine gave them? 

Anyway, I get a little fired up because one of my values is justice and because of that value, I can never believe in scientific outcomes that are paid for by the big, corporate makers of poisonous drinks marketed to children and everyone else in the world. Yes, poisonous drinks (keep reading).

Why I Gave Up Soda - Authentic in My Skin

I drink soda. Okay, I should say that I drank soda until I began researching it for this article and I chose to research soda after hearing yet another person say to me, “I’ve lost such and such pounds from eating better and exercising and if drinking diet soda is my only vice, I’m okay with that.” Although I have fallen off the soda wagon (many times), it really bothers me to hear my fellow brothers and sisters work so hard to get healthy, but then keep drinking soda and think it’s okay. Dear One, let me explain that soda, diet or not, is absolutely horrendous for our bodies and we should not be okay with it being a regular part of our diets. I couldn’t say that before because I was drinking soda, too, and did not want to give it up. So I gave myself until graduation – get through finals and then quit! And to help me along, I began my soda research. Let me share with you what I’ve learned:

What's in Soda and Why?


Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) – this chemical, first patented as a flame retardant, is now used in soft drinks to prevent the soda flavoring from separating and floating. BVO is linked to the following symptoms: memory loss, nerve disorders, behavioral problems, infertility, and lesions on heart muscles over time. In addition, several neurological, psychiatric, gastrointestinal, and dermatological symptoms have been linked to BVO consumption. Although it has been known to have a variety of negative health effects, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has permitted a limited amount of this chemical to be used in soft drinks while additional studies are done.*

Phosphoric Acid – a key ingredient in soda, phosphoric acid is used in soda as a preservative, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial, slowing the growth of mold and bacteria that can develop. A flavor-enhancer, phosphoric acid also gives soda that nice acidic texture. However, PA is used to remove rust from metal and has been linked to lower bone mineral density, kidney problems, and accelerated aging (AJCN). Phosphoric acid also assists in removing enamel from your teeth.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice (IJCP), excess soda appears to cause blood potassium levels to fall to dangerously low levels. “Several lines of evidence suggest that the chronic consumption of large amounts of cola soft drinks may adversely affect potassium homeostasis and result in potentially severe conditions such as hypokalaemic myopathy.” This is a condition involving muscle weakness, cramps, palpitations, and vomiting that is caused by a potassium deficiency. For more adverse side effects, click the IJCP link above.

Bisphenol A (BPA) – in soda, BPA is used as a liner inside of the cans to keep the acids from reacting with the metal of the can. According to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (formerly Breast Cancer Fund) and the International Journal of Andrology, BPA has been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease, miscarriages, breast and prostate cancer, reproductive dysfunction, metabolic dysfunction and diabetes, and neurological and behavioral disorders. Considered an endocrine disruptor (it messes with your hormones, best I can explain), Canada has banned BPA in certain food products, declaring it toxic to infants and children. And while the FDA has no plans at this time to follow suit, Campbell’s Soup is phasing BPA out of it’s products.**

4-Methylimidazole (4-MEI) – 4-what? Unpronounceable to regular people (like myself), this ingredient is the caramel coloring that makes soda brown. This ingredient contains carcinogens (which means “cancer-causing” in regular people terms) and has been added to a list of chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.

I'm not a doctor, chemist, or any sort of scientist, so I included links above for you to do your own research. However, you may not be in to that sort of thing so here are just a few more studies/details for you:

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) – There are many articles on the AJCN website pertaining to studies on the effects of soda on the body. Some results conclude that the consumption of added sugars (caloric sweeteners) to beverages, particularly carbonated soft drinks, has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

American Stroke Association – Preliminary studies presented at the International Stroke Conference show that the greater the intake of sugar-sweetened and low-calorie sodas, the significantly higher risk of stroke.

National Center for Biotechnology Information – Daily intake of sugary soft drinks lead to and increases fat storage in the liver and in muscle tissues. This daily intake is likely to enhance the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, as well as determining the level of insulin resistance, possibly predisposing a person to type 2 diabetes.

Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) – sweet-tasting soft drinks—regardless of whether they are sweetened with sugar or a calorie-free sugar substitute—might stimulate the appetite for other sweet, high-carbohydrate foods. Studies show an increase in risk of diabetes with increasing soft drink and fruit drink consumption.  For those of you trying to lose weight on artifical sweeteners, HSPH states: "One worry about artificial sweeteners is that they uncouple sweetness and energy. Until recently, sweet taste meant sugar, and thus energy. The human brain responds to sweetness with signals to, at first, eat more and then with signals to slow down and stop eating. By providing a sweet taste without any calories, artificial sweeteners could confuse these intricate feedback loops that involve the brain, stomach, nerves, and hormones. If this happens, it could throw off the body's ability to accurately gauge how many calories are being taken in." Your body also craves what you put in it. Stop drinking sweet sodas and you'll stop craving sweets.

Well, I hope you are now seriously considering giving up soda... FOR YOUR HEALTH!!  I am four days soda free.***  Let me know if you're joining me on this soda-free lifestyle and we'll celebrate together!!

Updates: 

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Agree to Remove Flame Retardant Chemical from Their Products.
** Since the first post, research has come out that BPA-free may be just as horrible for us.
*** Make that 5 years soda free! Although I did cheat in 2015 by going on a Monster Java binge. Though it is not soda, it is in a can and probably just as toxic as soda, if not more. In my defense (ahem), the fibro-fatigue was killing me and I was desperate. 😉

To this updated post, I wanted to leave you with a fun video!

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