Most sodas are a carbonated cocktail of additives and chemicals mixed together to trick your taste buds into thinking it’s a sweet safe treat. While it may taste delicious, soda can harm your body in many different ways. Did you know that a typical 20-ounce bottle of soda contains about 17 teaspoons of sugar from high fructose corn syrup? That’s a lot of sugar! High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has received a lot of unwanted attention over the past few years. It is a sweetener made from corn and can be found in many foods and beverages on grocery store shelves, ranging from candy and soda to bread and ketchup. HFCS is much sweeter than cane sugar and much cheaper to produce, which is why it’s poured into processed foods throughout the supermarket. HFCS is highly processed and has been linked to all sorts of health issues, including obesity, cavities, and a host of other health concerns and diseases. Another downside to the overuse of HFCS is that the environmental impact is huge. If that’s not enough to turn you away from your next can of soda, the corn used to make HFCS most likely contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Currently, up to 92 percent of U.S. corn is genetically engineered. And HFCS isn’t the only questionable ingredient in a can of soda. If you’re opting for sugar-free soda be wary of the artificial sweeteners. According to a University of Iowa study, “Drinking two or more diet drinks a day may increase the risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke, in otherwise healthy postmenopausal women.” The revamped Diet Pepsi formula replaces the toxic artificial sweetener aspartame with a blend of sucralose (best known by the brand name Splenda) and acesulfame potassium. Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than regular sugar, and acesulfame potassium is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Sucralose may be responsible for several health issues, including contributing to weight gain and obesity. Many diet sodas continue to contain aspartame. Aspartame is one of the most common artificial sweeteners in use today. It is sold under the brand names NutraSweet and Equal. Aspartame and sugar have the same number of calories, but aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar, so less is needed to sweeten a food product. Some sodas (mainly colas) contain phosphoric acid, which is added to soft drinks to provide a sharper, tangy taste and to help slow the growth of molds and bacteria. The phosphoric acid in cola leaches calcium out of our bones. Diet and regular colas both contain high levels of phosphoric acid. Another ingredient commonly added to soda is caffeine. Caffeine in high amounts can cause bone loss. It interferes with calcium absorption and causes a slight increase in the amount of calcium in urine. If you’re looking for a healthier option, steer clear of soda and stick with water or other drinks that don’t contain harmful ingredients that could contribute to bone loss and a host of other health conditions. If you’re looking to lose weight, forgo the diet soda and start adding more real food to your menu.
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