Monday, May 23, 2011

Are You Pouring on the Pounds?

The first step in my weight-loss journey was giving up soda entirely.  I had done this before, but always ended up picking the habit back up along the way-this time I'm determined to kick the habit for good.  

I've been off soda since January, though  I did have two cans of Mountain Dew at a friend's party a few weeks ago, and I've got to say-while it was "ok" it wasn't as great as I remember.  I guess my palate has adjusted to being without it, and my body certainly has because it really upset my stomach!  Then, because of the sugar overload-my body was craving the soda for the next week.  Luckily, I didn't give in.

Let's list some of the CONS of drinking soda:
  • Weight Gain. One 12-oz. soda is 140 calories, all of which can be attributed to sugar.
  • Disease. Drinking soda is linked to things like Diabetes, heart disease, etc. According to ScienceDaily, just 2 sodas a week increases your chance of Pancreatic Cancer.
  • Bones and Teeth: Not only does the sugar destroy your teeth, but soda has been known to leach calcium from your bones.  This increases your chance of osteoporosis.
Unfortunately, Diet Sodas are no better...  While they don't have all that sugar that makes goes straight to fat and leads to Diabetes-they still have the phosphoric acid that leaches your calcium and erodes the enamel on your teeth, and the sweeteners that have no nutritional value may increase the erosion.   

The Harvard School of Public Health conducted research which showed that the artificial sweeteners found in diet drinks can actually lead to weight gain.  Isn't the point of diet soda to not gain weight?  Apparently some studies show that the sweetener (which is actually much more sweet than sugar) tricks the brain.  The brain is used to associating "sweet" with "sugar" and "energy"; however sweeteners don't provide the calories needed to create energy-so the brain isn't quite sure what to do with it.
The human brain responds to sweetness with signals to, at first, eat more and then with signals to slow down and stop eating. By providing a sweet taste without any calories, artificial sweeteners could confuse these intricate feedback loops that involve the brain, stomach, nerves, and hormones. If this happens, it could throw off the body's ability to accurately gauge how many calories are being taken in.
How's that for a double whammy.  YUCK! Here's to getting off of the soda, and staying off!

When you want something more than water try one of these healthy options:
  • Infused Water: Some lemon, orange, grapefruit zest, herbs, veggies, etc. added to ice water-no sweetener, just fresh flavor and much-needed water! 
  • Tea. The benefits to tea are astounding, especially green tea.  My current favorite is Echinacea tea with Eucalyptus. If you want it sweeter, just add a few drops of natural honey!
  • Coffee.  Black coffee has almost no calories.  Take a pass on lots of cream (especially flavored creamer) and sugar, but if you want to add one teaspoon of sugar to a cup-that's still better.
  • Sparkling Water w/ a Splash of Juice. Regular sparkling juices are packed with sugar/sweetener, but if you get just the sparkling water and add a splash of natural juice-much better!
  • Low sodium broth or Miso. A savory and satisfying alternative to sweet!
  • Fresh Fruit Coolers. Store-bought or restaurant smoothies can be fatty and sugary, but if you make it yourself you know exactly what is going in it! Try this recipe:
1 cup of Ice
3/4 cup of sugar-free sparkling water
1/3 cup of melon or berries (melons and berries are low-carb)
Chopped mint leaves or citrus slices (optional)

Throw it all in a blender and voila! A tasty AND healthy choice!

Cons of Drinking Soda -
Sugary Drinks or Diet Drinks: What's the Best Choice? - Harvard School of Public Health
Six Ideas for Low-Sugar Drinks - Harvard School of Public Health

How about you?
Have you kicked the soda habit?
Also, if you have any related tips, please share!


Connie said...

I've kicked the soda habit about 15 times....only to pick it back up again. I recently started drinking one Diet Coke a day as a substitute. But I know this isn't good either.

Gift said...

I drink pop occasionally, not like eery day or anything, but last year my husbands mom got me and him drinking the mugs of pop eery day and after only like 4 days I noticed a weight gain. I was like WTF!~ And stopped drinking them immediately and th weight disappeared. So I completely agree, stay away from soda!

Beth said...

So true! Gotta avoid the high-sugar beverages of the booze variety, too, like lots of wine, daquiris, margaritas, etc. And frappucino style things are horrible, too- filled with empty calories and sugar and fat.

Bernie said...

I drink diet coke like they are going to stop making it. When I did a weight loss program for a local news station, I gave it up. I do know for me, once I give up soda and hop on the water train, I really loose weight quickly.

.:Bree:. said...

Beth, you're killing my list of love beverages! But I know everything in moderation!

Kristin said...

I don't drink soda (it's way too sweet) but I also very rarely drink diet soda either, as I'd heard about that study regarding artificial sodas tricking our bodies/brains and having the same effect as sugary drinks! This is so important to not just weight loss, but overall health!

I drink water, tea (decaf, hot), and the occasional small glass of 100% fruit juice. Water, water, water!


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