American’s soda increase is skyrocketing: is it that big of a deal?

I work for a nonprofit that helps senior citizens. Before we can help any seniors in our community, I have to do an assessment with them to determine if they are eligible or not. One of the questions I ask is if they are drinking enough fluids. About 50 percent of the time I hear, “I drink plenty of soda” or “I drink plenty of Diet Coke.” I playfully stick out my pointer finger in a mock accusatory pose and say, “That does NOT count!” And let’s be honest, it really does not.

Soda has been under fire the last few years, and the heat on that fire has cranked up this week. With a new study from the Center for Disease Control or the CDC coming out about our drinking habits, it is obvious that some things need to change.

Let’s get a few facts straight. Sugar is not evil. Your body can handle and digest sugar fine. As long as it is in the right doses. And it is getting the right doses that makes it hard for people. Generally, in the natural food you eat (like fruits), your body gets enough sugar. The problem is that artificial sugars- in soda or candy, per se- spike up your blood sugar to unnaturally high levels before they quickly dip down lower than before. This will make your body feel a sugar rush and into a dip sometimes called a “sugar coma.”

For kids, sugary snacks and lots of candy are the woes of parents and dentists alike. But as we get older the sugar obsession turns to soda. The biggest problem I see in seniors who regularly drink soda is that they are not getting hydrated enough.  They think that since they are drinking a liquid, it is equal to any other liquid. That is definitely not the case. Soda is actually a diuretic, which will flushes out the hydration in the body. Not good.

I should not pick on soda too much. But it is the main culprit with over sugar consumption. A recent study by the CDC showed the Americans were drinking way too much sweetened drinks (soda, artificial juices, etc.) and this is causing serious health problems.

The scariest statistic shows that teenage boys are the ones who drink the most. Almost 2 cans per day. That is more than 500 calories a day just from soda. And we all know how filling soda really is. So the boys will have to eat more to stay full, even with all of those extra ingested calories.

Most people do not question the health detriment of soda but recently one scientist started to change his tune. He started to say that we had no evidence that soda leads to an unhealthy lifestyle. Health professionals and advocates around the world were shocked. After further digging, it was determined that this scientist had soda companies paying him on the back end to recount his tale. Get your low cost health insurance and visit your doctor if you need some convincing on the trouble with soda.