Funny how the adjective “soft” describes non-alcoholic beverages in relation to “hard” alcoholic beverages. There is nothing soft about any soft drink in today’s world. The original soda may date back to the 13th century and consisted mainly of natural mineral water that came from springs. The original ingredients were much different, than today. It was consumed to improve health.
It was not until the 1800’s that soda water was created from “imitation” mineral water (sodium bicarbonate mixed with acid) and marketed by pharmacies as “medicinal”. An entrepreneurial pharmacist tried adding 2 stimulants to soda, coca leaves and cola nuts and this was the birth of Coca-cola. This timeline gives you a quick historical perspective, http://inventors.about.com/od/sstartinventions/a/soft_drink.htm.
Today, soda is hardly a beverage that would be considered “healthy” but should it be considered unhealthy?
Apparently, research connects obesity, heart disease, diabetes, fatty liver, gout, stomach issues, depression and other medical and behavioral conditions with drinking soda. Health experts and even politicians (by taxing or regulating soda portion size, http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20140208/new-havens-mayor-toni-harp-touts-tax-on-soda, http://www.banderasnews.com/1310/hb-thefighagainstsodatax.htm) try to break society’s soda addiction and yet it is hard to combat the billions of dollars sugar-laden beverage companies spend on marketing. In fact, “preschoolers viewed an average of 213 ads for sugary drinks and energy drinks, while children and teens watched an average of 277 and 406 ads, respectively; http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sugary-drinks-fact-sheet/.”
Despite the information and the efforts to cut sugar laden beverages from our diets, half of Americans consume sugary drinks, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db71.htm. Highlights from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005–2008 are:
- Males consume more sugar drinks than females.
- Teenagers and young adults consume more sugar drinks than other age groups.
- Non-Hispanic black children and adolescents consume more sugar drinks in relation to their overall diet than their Mexican-American counterparts. Non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American adults consume more than non-Hispanic white adults.
- Low-income persons consume more sugar drinks in relation to their overall diet than those with higher income.
- Most of the sugar drinks consumed away from home are obtained from stores and not restaurants or schools.
Just because a drink may be light, airy and refreshing (or so you assume), don’t get stuck in a soda rut, thinking it is harmless. The effects on your body are the same as eating a piece of chocolate cake. I am not just talking about fizzy beverages. I’m talking bottled lemonade, iced tea, fruit punch, Gatorade any beverage made up of sugar and artificially sweetened non-nutritive (zero calorie) products. Diet soda may be considered a healthy alternative to regular soda for those who have diabetes or weight problems. They are NOT.
There is nothing soft about “soft” drinks. They hit you hard. In my opinion, they are worse than alcohol in the sense that at least with alcohol, you, or others around you, can tell when you have imbibed enough. The symptoms are obvious. When you drink “soft” drinks, there are no quick symptoms telling you to stop. The long-term consequences on weight and health are undeniable and not easily reversed.
What are the ingredients in soda that compromise your health? Check it out next week.