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Why you should stop drinking soda all day every day

Josette Corazza

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Of all the beverage options available at D-Hall, students should not be opting for soda. The high- sugar, high-calorie drink is not worth the slight sugar rush that has proved tempting enough for advertisers to prey on. Commercials can make a can of Pepsi seem so tempting, but you would never guess what lies below its surface.

Soda dehydrates you. Its artificial brown color- ing has been linked to cancer and vascular is- sues. It is extremely high in calories. A 20-ounce can of Coca Cola contains 17 teaspoons of sugar and 240 calories – empty calories, that is, devoid of any nutritional value. According to The Food Revolution Network, caffeine in soda blocks the absorption of magnesium, which is essential for more than 325 enzyme reactions in the body. Magnesium also plays a role in your body’s detoxification processes and is important for minimizing damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals and other toxins.

Soda presents a whole slew of medical problems as well. According to the Food Revolution Network, it has been proven to increase heart disease in men. Each soda consumed per day in- creases the risk of heart disease by 20 percent in men. Both genders are also at a risk for metabolic syndrome. According to a study published by Harvard Medical School, individuals consuming one or more sodas a day in the study had a 48 percent increased risk of metabolic syndrome compared to those consuming less than one soft drink daily.

Any type of soda additionally increases the risk for diabetes – according to The Food Revolution Network, drinking one or two sugary drinks per day increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 25 percent.

Even the can alone poses a threat. Soda cans are lined with BPA, which has been linked to health issues ranging from heart disease to obesity to reproductive problems.

The different ingredients found in soda are also cause for concern. According to The Food Revolution Network, the acid found in soda wears away at dental enamel, and the phosphoric acid found in some types of soda removes calcium from your bones. Further, the artificial sweeteners that some sodas contain have been linked to numerous illnesses and diseases, including cancer.

Brominated vegetable oil is also added to many citrus-based sodas to prevent the drink from separating. That oil is patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant, and has been banned in over 100 countries.

Diet soda is even worse than regular soda. To begin with, diet soda can cause a decline in kidney function. Harvard Medical School studied diet cola and its effects for 11 years. They found diet cola is linked with a two-fold increased risk for kidney decline. Diet sodas contain mold inhibitors, going by the names sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate. The preservatives have been linked to hives, asthma and other allergic conditions, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Research presented at the American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions in 2011 even showed that diet sodas can actually contribute to weight gain.

If these facts aren’t enough to scare you away from drinking soda, consider the benefits you can bring to your body by opting for a healthier drink. As an alternative to a soft drink, you could mix fruit juice with soda water so you still get that refreshing fizzy taste. The fruit-infused water served by the salad bar in D-Hall is a great way to spruce up plain H2O.

Although coffee isn’t the best beverage out there either, consider getting your caffeine boost from this beverage instead of soda – at least you are avoiding some of the sugar. Once you stop drinking soda, your body will thank you.

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The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University
Why you should stop drinking soda all day every day