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Soda has an extremely high amount of sugar. Once that much of the sweet stuff gets into the body, the pancreas begins working. It quickly produces insulin to handle the sudden high sugar intake, wreaking havoc on your blood. Your body cells have been alerted to absorb blood sugar for energy or storage in the form of fat. Big swings in your blood sugar levels can make you feel exhausted and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
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The maximum amount of sugar men and women should consume in a day is 150 calories (or 9 teaspoons) and 100 calories or (6 teaspoons), respectively, according to the American Heart Association. One can of carbonated soda has 132.5 calories. The only reason your body doesn’t crash right away after getting hit with so much sugar at once is the phosphoric acid in the soda that reduces the sweet flavor.
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The sugar and caffeine stimulate the pleasure centers in the brain, much in the way heroin does, by increasing the production of dopamine, the neurotransmitter behind good feelings and secret cravings. In the case of soda, your body thinks it needs more sugar. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda have the same effect because they trick the body into thinking more sugar is on the way.
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Your body has been working hard to process the tsunami of sugar you subjected it to while drinking a can of soda and now you’re tired. This is usually referred to as “sugar crash” or reactive hypoglycemia. Symptoms of sugar crash include irritability, hunger, fatigue, lethargy, or anxiety. Avoid this condition and restore your blood sugar levels back to normal by eating simple carbs – an apple or half a banana will do.
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A 2010 study has shown that people drinking more than one can of soda or other sugar-sweetened beverage a day had higher blood pressure. The more they consumed, the higher the blood pressure as people get more calories from nutrient-poor sources. High blood pressure is considered a significant risk factor for stroke and cardiovascular disease.
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Studies have found that diets high in sugar, and that includes drinking soda, affect the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Lower levels of this protein make it difficult for people to perform everyday tasks and even form memories. The BDNF helps regulate synaptic plasticity, which is important for learning and memory. The protein is found in regions of the brain that control eating, drinking, and body weight, and it likely contributes to the management of these functions.
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A Harvard study found that people who drink even one can of soda a day significantly increase their risk of chronic heart disease (CHD). The participants in the research who drank the least amount of soda were 20 percent less likely to have a heart attack. “Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with increased risk of CHD and some adverse changes in lipids, inflammatory factors, and leptin,” researchers found.
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This may come as a bit of a shock, but an Australian study of almost 17,000 people has linked drinking soda to a higher risk for respiratory diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Overall, 13.3 percent of participants with asthma and 15.6 percent of those with COPD reported consuming more than half a liter of soft drink per day. This is a dose-response relationship: The more you drink, the higher the risk.
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Soda contains caffeine which has diuretic properties. It is a stimulant that can irritate the bladder. If you drink soda often, then you’re probably overloading your bladder. Even though it stretches to take all the liquid in, it can’t hold it for a long time.
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“Sip All Day, Get Decay,” says the Wisconsin Dental Association (ADA). The sugar in the soda bonds with bacteria in your mouth, resulting in the production of acid, which damages the enamel. Research has attributed the long-term damage to soft drinks. This eventually leads to more plaque and cavities, which may result from a long-term high intake of soft drinks and deterioration in oral hygiene patterns. In other cases, slowly progressed cavities may suddenly become rampant.
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Metabolic Syndrome is a combination of factors that increase the chance of suffering from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. “Regular soft drinks contain sugar, which adds calories to your diet. Sugary drinks also raise insulin levels. This causes you to put on more visceral fat—fat deep inside, around the abdomen and other organs. Too much visceral fat can raise certain blood proteins, and that can lead to metabolic syndrome,” according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.
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In a study conducted by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, people who drank two or more diet sodas a day had waist sizes SIX TIMES bigger than those who didn’t. The 470+ participants were observed for about a decade. Several studies have suggested that diet soda causes weigh gain, not loss, simply because you consume more calories that come from a nutritionally poor source. In one study in particular, which included 749 people who were 65 and older, those who had sugar-free sodas gained three times more weight around the waist – 3.2 inches – than those who didn’t.
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Soft drinks increase your risk of cancer in a number of ways. One is elevated insulin levels; another is the caramel color, a common ingredient in colas and other dark soft drinks. A possible human carcinogen, known as 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), is formed during the manufacture of some kinds of caramel color, according to John Hopkin University.
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The caffeine in soda causes dehydration. Caffeine is a natural diuretic and causes your body to excrete fluid through urine. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and confusion, and it also affects the fluid levels around the heart, causing decreased cardiac function. A study has shown how dehydration overwhelmingly impairs cardiovascular function in hyperthermic endurance athletes during exercise. You get the same effect but by drinking soda.