Your body on soda

Drinking soda could be impacting your health more than you think.

For many people, enjoying the warm summer months means getting outdoors and being physically active. With all this activity and heat, the body naturally will become dehydrated with thirst seeping in and being on the forefront of most people’s thoughts. While being active, a few meals may have been skipped causing a plummet in blood sugar (hypoglycemia), resulting in sugar cravings. When thirst, low blood sugar and tired feelings are on the brain, it is understandable a cola drink with sugar and caffeine is tempting.

According to a gallop poll, 48 percent of Americans turn to soda daily though they are aware it is bad for their health. Harvard’s school on public health newsletter blames rising obesity rates in the American public largely due to the consumption of sugary drinks. A 20-ounce soda contains 15–18 teaspoons of sugar and about 240 calories. It would take about an hour of walking to burn off these calories and many consume a 64-ounce fountain soda containing up to 700 calories. The Harvard health newsletter mentions when people consume this “liquid candy” they do not feel full if they had eaten the same amount of calories of fiber or protein so it is easy to guzzle more calories than is burned off with physical activities. Most people do not change their daily food intake to compensate the amount of calories ingested from drinking sugar.

What happens to our insides when we guzzle sugary soda?
  • 0-10 minutes: The 10 teaspoons of sugar hit the tongue which should be really sweet but the addition of phosphoric acid to keep this sweet taste at a pleasurable level. The phosphoric acid may keep the sweet taste palatable, but it eats your teeth enamel and can cause the absorption of calcium to not reach the bones taking away from bone density.
  • 10 minutes: The liquid sugar rapidly goes through the stomach and intestines because there is not any substance like fiber to slow digestion during it’s travel through the stomach and intestines. The blood stream is the next plausible spot for the corn syrup and fructose which will later be stored as fat (adipose tissue) in the body. The soda shoots through these tubes as if it were a child going down a slide.
  • 30–45 minutes: During this time blood sugar levels are rising and the caffeine has kicked in to ward off any tired feelings, sugar helps increasing energy as well. Both sugar and caffeine have reached the brain giving moods of euphoria. This euphoria can also demonstrate to have addiction properties.
  • 40–60 minutes: With the spike in blood sugar the body reacts by having a surge of insulin in the pancreas to bring blood sugar levels at reasonable levels. During this time, the caffeine has also worked hard on your kidneys requiring a bathroom break soon.
  • 60 minutes and beyond: Now the body has absorbed and coped with the sugar ‘high’ and the caffeine spike. At this point crashing have set in making another soda tempting to bring the pleasurable feelings of energy and sweetness. Sounds like this could be the beginning of a sugar and calorie laden cycle. Yikes!

Michigan State University Extension’s Health and Nutrition Institute has many programs to help the public with their overall wellness advice and goals. Experts from Michigan State University Extension make it possible to make your lifestyle healthy for the long haul. Being aware of your body’s reactions to drinking sugar soda’s is the start of making a positive difference in complete well-being.

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