From Aviation-Medical Bulletin October 2020
You know full well that all kinds of soda — diet or not — aren’t exactly good for you. But, thanks to a growing pile of damning evidence, it’s becoming increasingly clear that sugar-sweetened and diet sodas are about the worst things you can put in your body. While soda sales have slipped over the past decade, total consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas is still double what it was in the 1980s, with half of all Americans today drinking them regularly.
Here are a few reasons that are such a frightening statistic.
Your Body Thinks It's Water
A 20-ounce Coke has 240 empty calories, slightly more than a whole pack of Skittles. Both are horrible for you, but you’re better off eating the candy because at least your body will register that you’ve eaten. When you chew food, it takes time, and your body and brain acknowledge the act of eating. But, you can drink a whole meal’s worth of calories and your body won’t even realize it.
It’s like it never happened.
In fact, your body will just assume you’ve guzzled water. If you drink a soda right now, your body will treat it like water, and 30 minutes later you’ll be just as hungry as if you hadn’t consumed all those calories.
It Puts You on the Fast Track for Diabetes
One soda a day is all it takes to crank up your Type-2 diabetes risk by 26 percent. Each additional sugary drink you consume can increase your odds by another 18 percent. When such large amounts of glucose and fructose are absorbed so quickly, the glucose tells the body to secrete insulin to buffer the blood-sugar surge. If you drink soda daily, your pancreas will eventually wear out. Meanwhile, the fructose from soda gets stored in the liver as fat. The combination of overworking your pancreas and slowly developing fatty liver disease contributes directly to diabetes, as well as heart disease.
Here’s more incentive to kick the can: By replacing your daily vice with water, coffee, or unsweetened tea, you can lower your diabetes risk by 14 percent.
Nothing Is Worse for Your Teeth
Besides supplying loads of sugar for cavity-causing bacteria to feast on, soda is laced with acid, which erodes tooth enamel. That, in turn, causes cavities and decay.
Death by Sugar
Earlier this year, researchers singled out sugar-sweetened beverages as the likely culprit in a huge number of chronic disease-related deaths worldwide. They estimate that in 2010, sugary drinks may have led to 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 from heart disease, and 6,450 from cancer — a total of 184,000 deaths.
It Ages You as Much as Smoking
Swigging one 20-ounce bottle of sugary soda a day can age you an additional 4.6 years — the same as smoking cigarettes. A recent study revealed that, regardless of their actual age, daily soda drinkers had older white blood cells than people who occasionally or never consumed soda. This type of accelerated cell aging has been tied to shorter lifespans and chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer.
It's Easier to Find (and Cheaper) Than Just About Any Food
Adjusting for inflation, fruits and veggies cost 35 percent more today than 30 years ago. Soda, on the other hand, costs 35 percent less. And, with a “steal of a deal” like a 64-ounce Big Gulp, you’re talking pennies in 2015, even compared to those 6.5-ounce glass bottles served at diners decades ago. Besides being cheap, soda is now everywhere. What used to be gas stations are now junk food outlets with walls of soda.
You see soda at every store checkout, all throughout the airport, and in parking structures. The world we live in today is constantly giving us cues to drink more and more of this garbage.
Diet Soda Is No Better for You
Even though diet soda has zero calories, it’s really no better for you than regular soft drinks.
People who drink diet in hopes of losing weight will not, and we see more diabetes and obesity among diet soda drinkers than people who don’t drink it. The million-dollar question is why.
Experts are still wrestling over whether artificial sweeteners trick your body into thinking they’re sugar so it processes them the same way, or if the cloying taste of these faux sugars makes you crave more sweet stuff later. Another thought is that diet soda drinkers, thinking they can afford the calories, are more likely to order fries than a side salad.