Yes I enjoy a drink or two, every now and again, but a few beers or a Liqueur is not what I’m talking about here. When I started the journey to improve my way of eating, the first thing I dropped was sugar in most of its forms. Especially the “pure white” stuff and drinks with high amounts of added sugars – many fruit and soda drinks. My normal routine, as a self employed contractor 3 years ago, was to break for a quick lunch at a fast-food place and grab a large cup of something from the soda dispenser. Yes, just like thousands of others do daily, and interestingly to note, I was also 13.5 Kg (30lbs) heavier then, than I am now.
What I had never really bothered to take note of was the amount of sugar I was sucking up. The U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines, show that roughly 45 percent of the added sugars that we consume come from regularly sweetened soda, energy, sports and fruit drinks. A recent Gallup poll also shows that 50% of Americans still drink soda on a daily basis. Now, just reach out and check that nearby can of coke and you will find, as a general rule, there’s 10.6 g of sugar per 100 ml of Coca-Cola original taste. That’s 35g (1.23 oz) in a regular can, or about 7 teaspoons of sugar.
Now remember I was drinking a large cup each day at a McDonald’s, which holds about 32 ounces (1 litre), which is a mammoth 22 teaspoons of sugar! Furthermore this is only one of a number of sugary snacks or drinks in a day. Even a can of soda each day has massive consequences to your health.
Simply cutting out this one drink each day reduced my calorie intake by around 352 calories, which is the equalivanent of about 40 minutes of weight training in the gym to work off. But that’s not the only health benefit by cutting out the sugar hit. Below is a short timeline of the effect of drinking “that” drink from The Nutrition Watchdog and how it effects your body:
- In the first few minutes the sugar hits your system very quickly since it is in liquid form. The only reason you don’t vomit right away from that massive dose of sugar, is because of the other ingredients in the drink that mute its super sugary taste.
- In about 15-20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes to astounding levels, causing an insulin reaction. This means that your liver quickly responds by trying to save you from all that sugar in your bloodstream by turning it into fat cells. All that fat gets stored on the body, or in the liver, becoming one of the primary causes of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.
- In a half hour or so, your body starts absorbing all the caffeine in the soda. Your pupils dilate, your heart rate increases, you feel temporarily energized as your blood pressure rises, and your liver, in response to the caffeine, dumps even more sugar into the bloodstream. Result, insulin goes back up, you get hungry and that sugar gets stored as more fat.
- In 45 minutes, dopamine (one of your ‘feel-good’ hormones) is released, stimulating the pleasure center of the brain, very much in the same way as heroin—and equally as addictive too, by the way.
- In 60+ minutes after downing that soda, the phosphoric acid in the soda binds onto usable calcium, magnesium and zinc in your digestive system. By now, the diuretic effect of the caffeine and liquid goes into effect, making you have to urinate. This means your body cannot put those highly valued minerals to use, as they attach to the phosphoric acid and get dumped from the body in the form of urine. And guess what, if you drank that Coke to quench your thirst, you will end up peeing more than that away, making you even thirstier and more dehydrated than you were in the first place.
- An hour after that soda, the caffeine and sugar wear off, and you start crashing. The massive sugar and insulin spike leave you hungrier, tired, irritable, and sluggish. Not only that, you will probably be thirsty again, and given the addicting properties of soda, you may be craving another.
Several good reasons why I can now count the number of sugary drinks I have had over the last 3 years on only one hand!
Information sourced from: