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By: CJ Hunt

Soda. Most people drink It and it is readily available everywhere you go.  It has lots of flavor, a kick of caffeine, and that lovely little tickle of carbonation.  There are varying ideas out there about soda and its value, or lack thereof, to a healthy diet.  For the sake of time, we will stick to a few main reasons why soda is not the best and it might be time to think about cutting back or even stopping altogether.

Health factors is a good place to start this discussion.  The debate is ongoing, but it has been agreed that soda at least contributes to many short term as well as long term health issues people face.  Let’s look at the long-term issues.  These start with general obesity which can lead to diabetes and with the amounts of sugar in soda, upwards of 40 grams, drinking it will be a detriment to both.   Other long-term issues that can arise are bone issues such as osteoporosis and arthritis.  Weak bones for something I drank? No thanks!  Some of the more noticeable short-term factors involve day to day activities.  Soda can make hydration levels drop due to caffeine, a diuretic, being present. The acidity of soda can lead to tooth enamel decaying more quickly in addition to darker sodas staining your teeth.  The fact that the calories in soda are empty calories, meaning the calories have no nutritional value, will also help lead to obesity at a quick rate.  There are up to 140 calories per can! and that is a lot of calories to devote to no nutritional value.

For those of you thinking “no big deal, I’ll just drink diet to stay away from those calories” I’m here to tell you that is a terrible idea.  Diet soda is actually worse than regular soda!  First off is the number of additives and artificial sweeteners added to make it zero calories.  Artificial sweeteners can be up to 250x more sweet than real sugar.  These sweeteners are all made in a lab and were all discovered by accident.  Not ideal fuel to be putting in your body.  Diet soda can also lead to the mentality that it is okay to eat more or have a bigger portion because “none of my calories come from my drink.”

Water really is zero calorie, is essential to our bodies and it is much more effective in hydrating the body. It is a clearly better choice. So next time you are faced with a drink choice do your body a favor and stick with water.  If you want more flavor add a lime, lemon, or cucumber; if you want more energy stick with better sleep habits; and if you crave that tickle of carbonation, try a sparkling water.

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