Health

This is What Sugary Beverages Do to Your Body

According to the CDC, over half of the American population is drinking a sugary beverage, like soda, daily, which goes for adults and children alike. Sure, drinking… Trista - March 28, 2022

According to the CDC, over half of the American population is drinking a sugary beverage, like soda, daily, which goes for adults and children alike. Sure, drinking water is a healthy beverage. However, many people claim they don’t like the taste of it. Plus, it doesn’t have that carbonated quench that soft drinks deliver. Even if you know water is healthier than pop, you probably aren’t convinced to switch to H2O. We could say drinking pop leads to weight gain and a slew of other unnecessary health problems. But maybe you would just switch to diet soda. However, diet is just as bad, if not worse, on your health than regular pop. Keep reading to discover what sugar in soda does to your body. Maybe after learning more about the side effects soft drinks have on your skin, heart, and brain, you’ll be able to cut back on sugary beverages. 

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20. Causes Weight Gain

Secreted by the pancreas, insulin is how the human body stores sugar. When the taste of artificial sweeteners reaches your brain, it sends signals to your pancreas to start producing insulin. When your pancreas produces insulin for anticipated sugar, but none arrives, your body becomes confused, disrupting its metabolic process. This process may explain why drinking diet pop leads to various symptoms. Those include higher blood pressure, larger waist circumference, and higher blood sugar.

When we think of going on a diet, counting calories is the most common method. Drinking a diet pop means that you have consumed zero calories, which means you can eat more. However, drinking diet soda fools your body into expecting sugar and changes how you metabolize other calories. Thus, you may store more of them as fat, using less energy. Artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar. Even though it may not seem that way on your tongue, diet soda is sweeter than regular soda. All that sweetness without any calories muddles your brain and your metabolic processes, leaving you to crave sugar even more. 

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19. Erodes Tooth Enamel and Encourages Decay

Soda can harm your smile, leading to potential cavities and visible tooth decay. That is because the sugar in soda pop interacts with the bacteria in your mouth to form acid. This acid then attacks your teeth, as well as the acids that are already in regular and diet sodas. Not only can soft drinks affect the outside of the teeth, but also the next layer down, called the dentin, and even composite fillings. This tooth enamel damage is just an invitation for cavities to start. 

Cavities, or caries, develop over time in people who drink soda regularly. If you also have poor oral hygiene, then there is much damage that can occur to your teeth, including erosion. Erosion begins when the acids in soda encounter the tooth’s enamel, which is the outermost protective layer on your teeth. The effect of these acids reduces the surface hardness of the enamel. Sports drinks and fruit juices can damage the enamel, but they don’t get past it as much as sugary soft drinks. 

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18. Leads to Osteoporosis

A significant component in most soft drinks, phosphoric acid, may be to blame for the connection of pop and osteoporosis. Phosphorus is an essential bone mineral. However, if you’re not getting the right amount of phosphorus compared to the amount of calcium you’re receiving, that could lead to bone loss. Another possible culprit for the connection between soda and osteoporosis is caffeine. Experts know that consuming caffeine for a long time can interfere with calcium absorption. In a Tufts study, drinking both non-caffeinated and caffeinated colas led to lower bone density

Although experts aren’t 100% sure just what connection osteoporosis and soda have, we may be close to an answer with upcoming studies. Are you drinking soda instead of milk or orange juice, which can be full of calcium? Milk and orange juice help keep your bones from becoming brittle and losing their density, leading to osteoporosis. Because you are replacing the good nutrients with useless ones in sugary pops, you are encouraging a lower bone density for yourself. 

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17. Harms Your Brain

Believe it or not, soda can cause harm to the brain over time. Some soft drinks can cause effects that can cause alterations in brain waves on electroencephalography, or EEG, eventually leading to a stroke or dementia. Pop can also affect your sleep quality, and the duration of sleep is also significantly affected by increased consumption. The sodium benzoate consumption from soft drinks can impair memory and motor coordination. 

Soda also reduces glutathione, or GSH, in the brain, increasing the malondialdehyde, or MDA, level. In turn, it produces attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, in children. A study concluded that sodium benzoate significantly impairs motor coordination and memory. The findings suggest that short-term consumption of sodium benzoate can impair memory performance. Plus, it can increase brain oxidative stress in mice, so just imagine what it’s doing to you. 

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16. Increases Risk of Kidney Disease

Studies reveal that drinking pop eventually increases the risk of kidney disease by destroying the health of the kidney. That means highly sweetened soft drinks are responsible for kidney disorders. Fruit drinks aren’t that safe, either, because they also contain preservatives or sugar, which can harm your health, too.  

If you consume soda regularly, keep an eye on your kidney health. Suppose you don’t take proper care of your health. That means drinking pop can lead to kidney failure. You need dialysis if you have kidney disease. The primary ingredient of both sodas and juices is supposedly water. However, researchers discovered that water from pop increases the risk of chronic kidney disorder. Keep reading for more ways the sugar in soda can damage your body. 

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15. Raises Risk for Asthma

Did you know that drinking soda can poorly affect your lung health? Studies show one reason this may be is that drinking soda is tied to an increased risk of obesity, which raises the risk for COPD and asthma. Furthermore, since experts link soda to weight gain, even diet soda, it is essential to know it increases the risk for asthma. A study concluded that one in ten Australian adults who drink more than half a liter of soda a day (or more than two cups) were more likely to have asthma or COPD. 

However, researchers also tied that to the “dose-response relationship” with the risk for asthma and COPD. It means that the more soft drinks they consume, the higher their risk becomes. Overall, 13.3% of participants in the survey had asthma, 15.6% had COPD, and everyone drank more than two cups of soda every day. Keep reading for more health risks that sugar from soda causes. 

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14. Increases Risk of Heart Disease

Research shows that adults who drink a lot of sweet beverages may face an increased risk of dying from heart disease. That goes for all sugary drinks, including soda, juice and fruit drinks, and others. Experts established that sugar-sweetened drinks like pop increase risk factors for heart disease, including high blood sugar, blood triglycerides, and small, dense LDL particles. Is pop worth the risk of your heart health? 

Recent studies link a strong association between sugar intake and heart disease in all populations. A 20-year study followed 40,000 men who consumed one soda per day. Researchers know that these men had a 20% higher risk of having (or dying from) a heart attack than men who rarely had pop. Skipping a soda for your heart health sounds like a pretty easy compromise. 

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13. Makes You Feel Bloated

You probably understand already that carbonation is what gives pop that quenching fizz. However, that is also what causes bloating. Artificial sweeteners in diet sodas can also cause bloating, and sucralose is the most common culprit for bloating from soft beverages. Plus, it causes both gas and bloating, which can be very uncomfortable. 

Sucralose can also reduce the number of healthy bacteria in your gut, creating extra gas as you digest, causing bloat. Bubbles cause air to build up in your stomach, which leads it to balloon or fills up with air. So not only do you feel bloated, but you will also look bloated. It would help to avoid this unnecessary pain by drinking healthy water instead. Although bloating may not seem like a big deal, or a serious health effect, keep reading for other issues that drinking pop can cause. Remember, you can avoid all of these health problems if you simply drink water instead of soda.

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12. Gives You Heartburn

So not only do soft drinks cause bloating, but they also cause heartburn due to the carbonation. Carbonation causes the esophagus to become more acidic, giving you that burning sensation known as heartburn. Whether soda or something else, carbonated drinks can make heartburn symptoms much more likely at bedtime. That includes carbonated water, which can be just as bad as a glass of cola. 

Experiments reveal that carbonated water allows food to return to the esophagus from the stomach to the same extent as soda, even in healthy individuals. So when laying down after consuming a fizzy drink, it’s more likely to cause heartburn. If you get heartburn, pay attention to these details to better avoid it in the future. Keep reading for the adverse effects sugar can have on your body, especially from soda. 

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11. Worsens Stomach Ulcers

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, or NIDDK, ulcers occur because you lose protective mucus that coats the inside of the stomach. Stomach acids can seep through and cause an ulcer if the barrier in the stomach becomes too weak. An infection from bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, is the most common cause. 

Anything that adds to acid secretion in the stomach can worsen your symptoms, including soft drinks, when an ulcer is present. Nothing you can drink will make an ulcer go away, either. Nevertheless, consuming soft drinks or other caffeinated beverages can worsen a present ulcer’s symptoms. Thus, it would help if you avoided these types of beverages. Alcohol can cause gastritis and delay the healing of an ulcer. So it would be best if you avoid alcohol, as well. Your safest bet would be to stick with plain old water. Why? Because even sparkling water may offer you some relief, too.

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10. Leads To Erectile Dysfunction

A topic not many people want to talk about or admit to dealing with personally is erectile dysfunction or ED. Erectile dysfunction is the inability to develop and maintain an erection. New research shows that excessive consumption of soft drinks is one of the leading causes of ED. This research also reveals that a large percentage of men do not watch how much soda they consume daily. In most cases, men often drink more pop than women.  

However, erectile dysfunction is a complex of neurovascular physiological processes, and it depends on the interplay among vascular, neural, psychological, and hormonal factors. Besides, the integrity of the vascular bed of the penis plays a role. Nevertheless, soft beverages may disturb all these physiological foundations of proper erection for men. 

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9. Causes Skin Breakouts

Soda can affect more than just what’s on the inside, including your skin. About 20 minutes after you drink a glass of pop, you will experience a spike in your insulin. When this happens, your liver kicks into action and gets to work, trying to convert the sugar to fat. This action results in the overproduction of oil, which clogs the pores and leads to inflammation. Not only does this cause pimples, but you are also more likely to get wrinkles prematurely. 

It’s safe to say that the sugar in soda makes skin look lackluster and drab. About 40 minutes after drinking a can of pop, the caffeine starts to kick in. This chemical makes our pupils dilate, and our blood pressure rises. Caffeine can also cause disruptions where your digestive system is concerned. Furthermore, soda pop dehydrates us, which can also cause constipation, causing a generally higher toxin content within your system. Thus, soft drinks can directly affect the skin, causing flares and breakouts. 

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8. Damages Your Hair

Do you want long, thick locks that are strong enough to be in a hair commercial? Well, there is a connection between the consumption of soda and losing hair. Do you drink more soft drinks than usual and suddenly notice you are losing your hair? That might be the reason why. Though it could be due to many different reasons, your diet is one of the crucial factors behind hair falling out. Just as the saying goes, “you are what you eat.” 

So, if you are currently dealing with the loss of your hair, remember that the foods and drinks you consume can affect it. Therefore, it is probably time to reevaluate your diet. Even though diet soda has fewer carbs and sugar in it, the diet version is not suitable for the health of your hair. It contains an artificial sweetener called aspartame, which causes thinning of the hair, as well as a slew of other health issues.

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7. Affects Sleep

Researchers know that certain beverages adversely impact sleep. These drinks include caffeinated pop, along with coffee and tea. Caffeine increases alertness, so consuming a caffeinated beverage shortly before going to bed isn’t a good idea — it will keep your brain alert instead of resting. Not only can it make falling asleep more difficult, but it can also make staying asleep more difficult. Why? Because the effects of caffeine can take several hours to wear off, so stave off the caffeine in the late evening into the night hours. 

Soda consumption can lead to obesity, increasing your risk for certain sleep disorders. Excessive body weight is considered the primary factor towards obstructive sleep apnea, which is a condition that causes people to wake up gasping or choking for air throughout the night. Obesity hypoventilation syndrome, or OHS, is another condition that causes breathing to become shallow during sleep, leading to feelings of excessive sleepiness during the daytime. Weight gain can also make it more likely to snore, which may disrupt your sleep and your partners. 

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6. Makes You Age Faster

Believe it or not, sugary soft drinks are again under scrutiny for wrinkles. A study claims that soda can age your cells just as rapidly as cigarettes. You wouldn’t think that two different things, one that you swallow and the other you inhale, would have something in common. However, that’s precisely the case when it comes to cigarettes, soda pop, and wrinkles. 

American Journal of Public Health published a study from the University of California San Francisco about telomeres and soft drinks. Telomeres are a part of chromosomes in our cells linked to several health concerns. One of those concerns is aging in relation to consuming sugary soda. After experts analyzed over 5,000 adults, they discovered that people who drank more pop had shorter telomeres, and thus, they aged faster than others.

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5. Causes Poor Memory

You may think that drinking diet soda can help you avoid the ill effects associated with sugary beverages. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Researchers discovered that drinking sugary drinks frequently can lead to poorer memory. Furthermore, daily intake of diet soda can increase the risk of dementia and stroke. According to the findings published in two separate studies, both soda pop and diet versions can lead to accelerated brain aging. People who drink soda frequently are more likely to have poorer memory and small brain volume overall.  

Soda drinkers are also more likely to have a significantly smaller hippocampus, an area of the brain that’s important for learning and memory. The experts analyzed people who consumed more than two sugary drinks a day. That includes soda, fruit juice, coffee, or more. They also looked at people who had just pop and more than three per week. Among the higher intake group, they found multiple signs of accelerated brain aging. Results included smaller brain volume, poorer episodic memory, and a shrunken hippocampus, all risk factors for early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. 

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4. May Affect Fertility

If you and your partner are trying to conceive, you might want to cut back on your soda intake. A new study shows that pop could reduce your chances of becoming pregnant. Epidemiology published a journal claiming that drinking one or more sugary drinks every day may reduce fertility for both men and women. Did you know that drinking soda is related to early menstruation in women and poor semen quality in men? However, researchers need to complete more studies that link the direct effects that pop may have on fertility. 

It’s best to give up soda pop altogether if you are pregnant, or trying to conceive, whether you are male or female. Diabetes can also affect pregnancy and conceiving, so drinking beverages loaded with sugar isn’t healthy. That goes double if diabetes or gestational diabetes runs in your family. Keep reading for the top three side effects you may deal with as a result of drinking soda pop.

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3. Raises Cholesterol Levels

New research shows that adults who consume at least one sugary beverage daily have a higher risk of developing dyslipidemia or high cholesterol. Having high cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. So if heart attacks and strokes seem to run through the family, you should avoid sugary drinks when you can. Suppose you don’t want to switch it out for water. In that case, you can swap soft drinks with teas, which is a much healthier alternative if you don’t like water. 

Besides, studies show that unsweetened tea has several heart-healthy benefits, too. Researchers completed an analysis of more than 100,000 adults in China over 22 years. They discovered that drinking three cups of tea every week helped lead to a 15% reduced risk of premature death. Not only that but there was a 20% lower risk of cardiovascular incident and 22% reduced risk of cardiovascular death. Tea consumption also helps lower LDL, which is the bad cholesterol that can build up in your arteries. It does so while slowing the decrease in HDL, which is the good cholesterol that naturally occurs during aging. 

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2. Affects Breast Milk

Taking care of a newborn can be exhausting, so drinking caffeine seems like the perfect solution when you’re running on low energy. However, if you are nursing, you should not consume more than 300 milligrams of caffeine daily. If you happen to drink a caffeinated beverage shortly before breastfeeding your baby, you might notice some effects. A recent study found that drinking sugary beverages can harm cognitive development in infants. 

When nursing, breastfeeding mothers should refrain from drinking soda, juice, and other sugar-sweetened beverages. Excessive intake of sugary drinks can affect sleep issues, dizziness, restlessness, and anxiety in babies. Furthermore, excessive sugary beverages in moms cause rapid heartbeat and anxiety. Doctors advise breastfeeding women to avoid or reduce their sugary drinks, including soda and juice. Both you and your baby will benefit from you making this healthy choice. 

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1. Increases Stroke Risk

Again, you may think you are making a healthier choice by switching from regular pop to diet soda. Nevertheless, the artificial sweeteners in these beverages actually increase your health risks. It doesn’t matter if you are drinking something that contains real sugar, artificial sweeteners, or even a plant-based sweetener with no calories. This sugar is still training your brain to crave sweet things and want more. Furthermore, consuming more sweets leads to weight gain, which increases your chances of having a stroke. 

Researchers claim that drinking beverages with artificial sweeteners is associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart disease. Furthermore, they concluded that women who drink two or more diet beverages a day have an increased stroke risk of 23% compared to women who consume less than one soda beverage per week. 

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