Most people are well aware that soda is unhealthy, that it’s loaded with sugar, and that it can lead to weight gain, however a surprising amount of people continue to drink it anyways. In fact, half of all Americans consume soda on a daily basis, and 5 percent of Americans over the age of 2, consume a whopping 4 or more cans of soda daily!
If you are amongst the 50 percent of Americans that continues to drink soda in spite of its harmful health effects, perhaps the shocking results of a new study released by the American Heart Association (AHA) will convince you to give-up this deadly beverage once and for all.
In order to find out the health effects of drinking sugary soda drinks, Harvard researchers examined 114 national dietary surveys covering more than 60 percent of the world’s population. According to Rachel Johnson, chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee, “The investigators examined changes in sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and then its association with change in body fatness or BMI (body mass index), and subsequent deaths from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.”
The results of the Harvard study, which were published by the AHA were appalling. The researchers found that sugar-sweetened soda beverages are linked to over 180,000 obesity-related deaths each and every year. In addition, the countries that consume higher amounts of soda, also have more diabetes, heart disease and cancer-related deaths, suggesting that soda itself, increases the risk for these deadly diseases. The study also found that sugary soda drinks are linked to about 25,000 diabetes and obesity related deaths per year in America alone.
Although the numbers were shocking, the fact that soda increases the risk of death comes as no surprise to health professionals. Sugar-sweetened soda pops are full of empty calories and they are the single biggest source of calories in the American diet. Sugar-sweetened sodas also contain about 10 teaspoons of sugar per can. The high amounts of empty calories and sugar in soda vastly increases the risk of weight gain amongst soda pop drinkers. In fact, just one can of soda per day can result in 15 pounds of weight gain in a single year. The weight gain that soda consumption causes, increases the risk for diabetes, heart attacks, stroke and cancer—all of which increases the risk of death.
Sugar is not the only harmful substance in soda either; most sodas contain a number of additional ingredients that act as toxins in the body. Some commonly found toxins in soda include food coloring which is linked to attention deficit disorders, 4-methylimidazole which may increase the risk for cancer, and carbon dioxide which can kill healthy cells in the body. Many sodas also contain toxins in the form of preservatives, such as sulfur dioxide and sodium benzoate.
These toxic preservatives have been linked to asthma, hyperactivity, rashes, shock, fainting and comas. Most sodas also contain toxins in the form of caffeine. Too much caffeine weakens you adrenal glands, and can lead to a plethora of troublesome side-effects including insomnia, nervousness, nausea, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, depression, stomach ulcers and even death.
In view of these facts, the continued high consumption of soda should be considered a national health emergency. The Food and Drug Association (FDA) and Health Canada need to treat this health emergency with the seriousness that it deserves. Soda pop should be banned in all schools, and national anti-soda campaigns (similar to those to reduce smoking and drugs) should be launched.