5 Reasons Not to Drink Soda

5 Reasons Not to Drink Soda

We've all done it—indulged in a soda after a long day of work or reached in the cooler for a caffeinated treat after an exhausting day at the beach. If you drink lots of soda and haven't dropped dead yet, you might think the anti-soda crowd is full of nothing but hyperbole. If you're a periodic consumer, by contrast, you might think that your otherwise healthy lifestyle balances out your occasional soda consumption. Neither position could be more incorrect. Even if you haven't experienced any soda-related health consequences yet, rest assured they're brewing deep in your body.

1. Visceral Fat

We all know that the calories in soda can lead to obesity, but even if you manage to control your weight, you might be suffering from visceral fat. Visceral fat, which is fat around the organs, increases your likelihood of diabetes and other weight-related conditions. It can also lead to significant weight gain in your stomach and waist. Several studies have shown that soda consumption greatly increases the prevalence of visceral fat.

2. Cancer

If you rely on diet sodas to help control your weight, then you're consuming aspartame, a dangerous sweetener that laboratory tests show can cause cancer in animals. Even if you avoid aspartame, though, you're in danger. The caramel coloring agents in most sodas have been shown to lead to a number of cancers.

3. Poor Dental Health

Soda has the power to erode tooth enamel, leaving you vulnerable to gum disease, cavities, and tooth sensitivity. While this might seem bad enough, it gets even worse. When your mouth is unhealthy, the bacteria in it can spread to your bloodstream, compromising the health of your entire body.

4. Sugar Overload

All sodas contain large quantities of sugar, which means that drinking a single soda causes a damaging blood sugar spike within 20 to 30 minutes of your first sip. Over time, excess sugar consumption can lead to metabolic disorders, changes in mood or energy level, and, of course, weight gain.

5. Cardiovascular Disease

The caffeine in most sodas quickly elevates your heart rate and raises your blood pressure. Particularly for people who consume large quantities of soda, this can cause heart problems over time. Even if you're only an occasional drinker, though, caffeine endangers your cardiovascular health. High fructose corn syrup, a key ingredient in most sodas, is linked to cardiovascular health problems, in addition to diabetes and obesity—both of which may also endanger heart health.