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“Sugar cravings get drastically reduced after our clients have quit drinking soda,” Moss says. “And if you’re a diet soda drinker, not only do sugar cravings get reduced when you quit, but often people find themselves naturally gravitating towards smaller portions,” she adds.
Diet soda can lead to over-consumption of other foods and it’s not better for you at all. “It tastes sweet, so our body prepares for the sugar it’s anticipating by beginning to spike blood sugar levels,” Moss says. “However, when ‘real’ sugar isn’t delivered, the body is still left craving the sugar it was originally promised. And that creates addictive cycles.” The result is eating more and weight gain, according to studies.
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“Sugar consumption leads to weight gain (and cravings for more sugar),” Moss says. Artificial sweeteners are also linked to sugar cravings and over-consumption of food in general. “When you replace sodas with water, you’re eliminating a lot of sugar and cravings. Your body naturally begins to lose weight and your wellbeing dramatically increases as well,” she adds.
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“Refined sugar (and artificial sweeteners) is inflammatory by nature,” Moss says. “Refined cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners are highly processed and refined…The refined sweeteners have been stripped of all nutrients, fiber, and minerals. Your body gets more depleted trying to break them down and digest them, which leaves you depleted, inflamed, and at risk for chronic health issues,” she adds. So when you often eat inflammatory food, your chances of coming down with an illness will increase.
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Why spend thousands of dollars a year to artificially look young when you can achieve the same effect in a perfectly natural way? Start by banning carbonated cans from your diet. As the body cells divide and we get older, the telomeres that protect the genes shorten. Studies have found that sodas were associated with telomere shortness, increasing cell aging just as much as smoking.
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“We see this all the time in our practice when clients quit soda,” Moss says. “When you replace soda with water, which is hydrating, and naturally reduces hunger, and get off of the sugar rollercoaster, and associated cravings, that sugar can create, hunger levels tend to naturally balance out,” she adds.
When people eat and drink something very sweet on regular basis, the body adapts and expects to consume more calories. It’s hungry when it doesn’t get its “fix.” Stomach muscles relax and the brain releases hormones telling us we’re hungry. That doesn’t happen when you reduce your sugar intake.
“Sugar robs our bones of nutrients and key minerals, like calcium, that are essential for strong, healthy, flexible bones,” Moss says. “Additionally, the phosphoric acid in most sodas also leaches calcium and other nutrients from our bones. The sugar and phosphoric acid combo means an increased risk of osteoporosis – especially as we age.”
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Soda pretty much destroys your teeth by eating at the enamel, which is actually considered the hardest substance in the human body. The citric acid in soda wears enamel away, making the teeth softer and more vulnerable to cavities and yellowing. Consuming too many soft drinks can even result in a mouth as corroded as that of a meth abuser, as a 2013 study shows.
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“Caffeine in soda isn’t worse than the caffeine in tea or coffee but it’s the sugar (or artificial sweeteners) combined with the caffeine that leads to a double whammy when it comes to sodas and their negative effect on our health,” Moss says. “Caffeine gives us a boost, but it’s temporary. It isn’t a ‘real’ source of energy like, say, getting a boost of energy from the nutrients in fruits or vegetables. Over time, over-consumption of caffeine leaves us fatigued as it can wreak havoc on our adrenal system,” she adds.
Too much caffeine leaves you dehydrated, which will also result in feeling tired because your nervous system is working overtime, triggering the release of stress hormones in your body, and causing increased heart rate and blood pressure spikes.
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You may think that because soda is not greasy, it’s not fattening. However, dangerous fats in soft drinks that the eye simply cannot detect are there. You won’t see the changes in your waistline for a few weeks but they will come, as a 2012 study shows. People were divided into groups, drinking water, soda and milk for half a year. Total fat mass was the same but those drinking soda had a significant increase in harmful hidden fats, like liver and skeletal fat.
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“Caffeine creates a diuretic effect on the body, and can leave you dehydrated,” Moss says. This is true whether you’re drinking tea, coffee, or soda. However, soda – whether it’s caffeinated or not – has the added ‘bonus’ of sugar or artificial sweeteners. While these aren’t diuretics per se, they certainly don’t contribute to your hydration,” she adds. Soft drinks can irritate the bladder, making symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection worse.
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“It’s the oxidative stress and chronic inflammation that regular soda consumption causes that can lead to a whole host of health issues, including kidney failure,” Moss says. “The inflammatory nature of soda is linked to the refined sugar (or chemical artificial sweeteners), phosphoric acid, and caffeine. But mostly it’s that sugar and artificial sweeteners that’s doing the bulk of the health damage.”
Research shows that a lot of soda increases the risk of kidney disease. Women who drank a lot of diet soda every day had decreased liver function compared to women who didn’t drink soda.
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Want to know the secrets of longevity? Ditching soda is one of them. People who drank soft drinks have shorter telomeres in their immune cells, which means their risk of premature death was higher because the cells were not protected, according to a study.
“I believe that the body truly always wants to heal and be healthy, and when we provide the right ‘ingredients,’ healing begins to occur,” Moss says. “If you set out on a path to drastically reduce sugar from your diet, cut out artificial/processed foods, consume lots of water, make sure your nutrient/mineral needs are being met, and fill your diet with lots of healthy fruits and veggies, healing can and does occur on a really massive level. We see this with our clients all the time, and it’s so possible,” she adds.
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“Caffeine’s a temporary boost that can lead to long-term health issues when over-consumed,” Moss says. “If you crave caffeine, better to get it in the form of green tea, black tea, or a cup of coffee than a sugary soda that comes with its whole host of other ingredients that can harm your health.”
Studies have shown that overconsumption of soda can result in impaired learning processes and memory. “We show that animals that learn a spatial memory task faster have more brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA and protein in the hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for memory and emotion). Two months on the [saturated fat and refined sugar] diet were sufficient to reduce hippocampal level of BDNF and spatial learning performance,” the study says.
Drinking too many sugary sodas may increase a person's risk for developing Alzheimer's disease later in life.
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A Harvard study found that sweetened drinks increase the risk of chronic heart disease by 20 percent. Other research has shown that the more soda drink you consume, the higher your blood pressure rises. So cut back on the carbonated drinks to lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome – several simultaneous chronic conditions like high blood pressure, blood sugar level, cholesterol, and too much body fat around the waist – that increase the risk of heart failure.
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The simple sugar fructose in sodas does not lower the level of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, in your blood in the same way glucose, the main carb found in starchy foods, does. That’s why artificial sweeteners affect the sense of feeling full after eating. You feel hungry because the body is used to consuming a lot of calories because what we consume is so sweet. And sweeteners can be 400 times sweeter than regular sugar.
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People mostly gain weight around the waistline after consuming too much soda, according to a study. University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio observed 474 participants over an average of about a decade. People who drank diet soda had a 70 percent greater increase in their waistlines than those who didn’t drink diet soda. Also, people who drank two or more diet sodas per day saw increases 500 percent greater.