What’s the deal with soda?

This article was originally published in The Scope of New London, CT.

I know. It seems ridiculous to waste my time and yours bashing soda. Whether we drink it or not, we all seem to know that it is terrible. But do we really understand the specifics of why America’s flagship beverage is so detrimental to our health?

Here’s a little story from one of my favorite nutrition resources, Sean Croxton, which takes place at a health fair where he was doing basic bone density tests. That day, there were a lot of construction and custodial workers from a nearby resort who came to receive various free health screenings. To quote Sean, “I have never had to tell more men that they have osteopenia or osteoporosis. It was crazy.”

These guys, most of them under forty, had been drinking massive amounts of soda. And when Sean told them they should just drink water, they were incredulous. We’re really supposed to just drink water?
Here’s Sean’s explanation: “Soda has phosphoric acid. It creates acidity within the body. Now what happens is your body has to buffer that out. So it’s gonna use the minerals, primarily calcium, from your bones . . . to buffer that acidity.”

Put another way, phosphoric acid is an antinutrient. Not only does it not provide nutrients to your body’s cells, but actually takes nutrients away during digestion.Unfortunately, phosphoric acid isn’t the only antinutrient in soda. Let’s talk about sugar.

Fruits and vegetables all have sugar in them, so it seems like sugar itself is not the problem. But when you eat these whole foods, unlike when you drink processed foods like soda, you also get a package of vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. These accompany the sugar and help your body process it. Without them, your body has to pull nutrients—including calcium, potassium, thiamin, and chromium—out of its own cells to deal with the sugar, just like with phosphoric acid and calcium.

Mankind has simply never adapted to refined sugar; it’s a modern invention, it’s unnatural, and it’s slowly killing us.
Soda, juice, iced tea, energy drinks, and almost every drink I’ve ever seen with a label all contain treacherous amounts of sugar. One tall glass of orange juice might contain the sugar of five oranges, yet it will offer virtually none of the health benefits of the original fruit. In juice production, the fiber is processed out and the heat of pasteurization destroys most of the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Unless you drink fresh squeezed unpasteurized juice, you’re just drinking just sugar water.

And what about this vitamin water? How stupid are we to combine a bunch of garbage synthetic nonfood vitamins with a stupid amount of sugar, which steals real vitamins from your cells, and think that we’re drinking something healthy? This is ridiculous.

As for the aspartame and sucralose that replace sugar in diet sodas, these are modern chemicals that the human body has never encountered and is unable to process, and the debate about them just frustrates the hell out of me. All of the corporate studies show they’re fine; many of the independent studies find serious problems (brain tumors in animals, for example). Aspartame has been proven to actually stimulate hunger and cause the majority of users to gain weight. Look into it. The only sweetener I’d recommend is unadulterated stevia.

Anyway, sugar does a whole lot more than deprive your system of nutrients. Refined sugar is closely related to the development of ailments like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Sugar will make you gain weight, provoke parasite infections, and feed fungal overgrowths. If you unable gain weight and eat a lot of processed carbs, you may very well have a number of serious nutrient deficiencies. Sugar also inhibits vitamin C circulation, depressing the immune system.

Here’s my point. Simply eating less processed carbs (like soda and bread) and eating more whole foods (like spinach and free range eggs) can make all the difference in helping you to be healthy, feel good, and avoid future health problems.
Converting to a diet low in processed carbs often leads to hangover like symptoms, and I’ve experienced them. Your brain will feel fuzzy, you’ll be tired, you’ll have headaches, and you’ll crave sugar like never before, but the benefits of getting through this are innumerable. Today is the day to stop putting nutrient depleted garbage fraud foods in your mouth. Good luck.

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