"With my usual sublime self-confidence, I rode roughshod over the objections."-Emily Hahn
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If you drink soda every day, chances are, you've been doing so for years—and you've probably heard countless times that it's not good for your health. Still, that's not stopping you from getting your daily fix. But, consider this: That glass of refreshing, bubbly, fizz that you're so loyal to day-in-and-day-out is likely damaging your body in ways you wouldn't even begin to imagine. To say that it's preventing you from living your best life is not an understatement.
In fact, here are all the unfortunate side effects of drinking soda—yes, even diet soda—every day, backed by science—listed out in full detail to convince you that it's time to (finally!) quit this unhealthy habit for good. And for more, here are the specifics on which sodas, in particular, are the most toxic of all.
Your risk of death may go up. Yes, you read that right. A 2019 study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation found that men and women who drink more than two sugary beverages (ahem, sodas) a day experienced a 21% increased risk of mortality than those who drank less than once a month. You'll have an increased risk of heart disease complications. The same study also found that drinking two or more sugary drinks a day can heighten your risk of death from cardiovascular disease or stroke by 31%. It's not a stretch of facts to say that your daily soda habit could be drastically shortening your life.
You'll feel sluggish and irritable—every day. Every time you suck down a can of soda, you're ingesting your entire day's worth of sugar. This causes your blood sugar to soar about 20 minutes later, according to research, and then totally crash after an hour or so—leaving you feeling tired and moody. So, just picture what every day would look like if you weren't riding such an emotional roller coaster… You'll likely eat more. Research published in the American Journal of Public Health found that drinking soda triggers your appetite or subdues feelings of fullness, which leads you to eat more. Specifically, 17 percent more calories than you would've normally—and when that's happening every day, it can add up quickly. You'll gain weight. Speaking of eating more, study after study has linked drinking soda to weight gain. At 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar, one soda can, consumed every day equals an extra 51,000 calories—or 14 pounds—a year above your normal diet. The proof is in the research: An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that individuals gained an average of 17 pounds over 4 years when they drank sodas. What's worse, research in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that consuming fructose-sweetened beverages can lead to an increase of visceral fat—aka fat that wraps around your vital organs and gives you a belly.
You'll be more prone to develop type 2 diabetes. A large study published in Diabetes Care determined that drinking 1-2 servings of soda every day increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26 percent. You may remember less. Research featured in the journal Alzheimer's and Dementia reveals that those who drink a ton of soda experience the greatest brain shrinkage. That's an issue if you count on your brain to remember things. You may develop depression. Surprising, but true. Drinking 3 or more cans of soda every day can make you 30% more likely to develop depression, according to a 2017 study published in the journal PLoS One. This could potentially be avoided if you simply stopped drinking soda.
When I am looking for some fizz, I go for seltzer water to hydrate. It can be a nice alternative to water without the overpowering sweetness and health risks of sodas. I recommend adding a slice of lime, lemon, orange, or cucumber to add a hint of flavor and each of which has its own nutritional benefits. I also find plain sparkling mineral water very light and refreshing. The carbonation in the mineral water comes from naturally occurring minerals like salts and sulfur compounds. I avoid the mineral waters with added juice and sugar because the calories can really add up! I like to add my own hint of flavor with mint, a lime, lemon, an orange wedge, or a few berries. Pour it into a tall glass on the rocks and you have a very refreshing drink!
If seltzer is not your thing, find the kind of drink that will satisfy your thirst and tastebuds as well as health!