If you need another reminder of why you should avoid soda, Samantha Boesch of “Eat this, Not that” (www.eatthis.com) gives at least five reasons to avoid so-called soft drinks.

1. You may feel more hungry.

Soda may satisfy our sugar cravings, but not our hunger pangs. Studies show that soda actually increases our levels of hunger after drinking them.

The American Journal of Public Health says this happens because soda has effectively zero nutrients and vitamins, especially protein, so people often report feeling hungry and unsatisfied afterward. Another reason is soda contains high amounts of fructose, which does not lower hunger hormones in the same way that glucose does.

A 14-ounce bottle of Coke, for example, has 11.1 grams of sugar, 7.2 of those from fructose.

2. You may gain more dangerous fat around your stomach.

Soda has been linked to increased body fat and weight gain, especially around the stomach area. Visceral fat is the type of fat in the abdominal area and is known to be more dangerous to health. Too much visceral fat can raise our blood pressure, increase insulin resistance, and lead to deadly diseases.

The Journal of Nutrition says drinking soda is associated with an increase in body fat, specifically dangerous visceral body fat.

3. You may become addicted.

A recent 2019 study  in Appetite found that sodas were in fact addictive, especially in adolescent populations.

The study found that regular soda drinkers experienced withdrawal symptoms when they went three days without having any. Symptoms included decreased motivation, lower ability to focus, and frequent headaches.

4. You may increase your risk of dementia or stroke.

A 2017 study published in Stroke looked at the effects of artificially sweetened drink consumption (soda), as well as beverages with added sugar. They found that regularly consuming artificially-sweetened drinks led to a higher risk of multiple types of stroke, as well as multiple types of dementia.

For stroke risk, ischemic stroke was higher than the other types. This type of stroke occurs when an artery leading to the brain is clogged. For dementia risk, soda consumption was associated with an increase in both all-cause dementia and Alzheimer’s dementia.

5. You may increase your risk of gout.

Gout is a form of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid in the body. It is a growing problem in the United States where soda consumption is high.  A study published in JAMA said women who regularly drank soda had a higher chance of developing gout than women who did not drink soda.

Soda contains high levels of fructose, which is known to increase levels of uric acid in the body. This risk increases even more in people with a history of problems with their urate levels.

It may be difficult to stop drinking soda altogether but you can, at least, limit your consumption to the barest minimum. I know. I used to drink soda every day and I relied on it when I was traveling to places where I was not sure if water was safe to drink.

Now I drink soda may be once a month and carry a hot water container even when I am just going around Metro Manila.

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Linda B. Bolido

6.2

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