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With so many health issues ravaging the world’s population, it’s high time people started to cut back on unhealthy lifestyles, like drinking soda. A can of Pepsi or Coke packs an average of 36 grams of sugar, which is way above what the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends. The organization reports that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks was associated with coronary vascular disease mortality. Even the hyped diet coke isn’t any better, with research showing that it increases the risk of weight gain and waist circumference. If you’re still not convinced that kicking your soda drinking habits is the best thing for your health, here are some of the potential side effects that might help you make a sound decision.

Obesity

Sugar is no good for your body, and with the staggering amounts used in sodas, the number of obesity cases has been on the rise. A can of soda contains up to 140 calories, and combined with other high calories junk foods that normally accompany sodas and other sweetened beverages, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when you start gaining weight.

Increased Risk of Tooth Decay

Apart from sugar, soda contains acids that can be a disaster for your dental health. Acids like carbonic and phosphoric acid create a highly acidic environment in your mouth, making your teeth vulnerable to decay.

Sugar, on the other hand, feeds the bad bacteria in your mouth. After a while, as your dental health weakens, your teeth will end up decaying. It’s not an experience you want to go through.

Receding Gums

Tooth decay is not the only issue you should be worried about. Your gums may also start receding. The sugars, acids, preservatives, and artificial coloring in soda get trapped beneath your teeth. Over time, the trapped particles begin to build up (due to poor cleaning) and cause deterioration, gum infections, and destruction of gum tissue, which is almost impossible to regenerate.

The good news is that if you quit your soda drinking habits before it’s too late, you can reduce the risk of receding gums.

Diabetes

Both regular soda and diet coke have been linked to type 2 diabetes. The thing is, when you consume soda, the temporary sugar spike forces the body to transform sugar into fat in your liver. With time, the fat deposits increase in volume and increase your risk of developing diabetes.

Sodas also create cravings for sugar, meaning you’ll be more inclined to continue drinking soda to satisfy your cravings. The problem is that the more soda you drink, the more you stuff yourself with these artificial sweeteners, further increasing your risk for diabetes.

Excess Belly Fat

Soda has been blamed for the build-up of fat around your belly (love handles). What happens when you drink soda is that the refined sugar gets quickly absorbed, causing a spike in blood sugar. This sudden surge in blood sugar triggers insulin production, which is in turn converted to the fat around your waist.

And as you may have heard, excessive belly fat is linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. If you are struggling with belly fat, the first step is to stop gulping gallons of soda every year.

Kidney Issues

Studies show that consuming soda regularly can lead to the formation of kidney stones, which cause excruciating pain. Kidney stones develop as a result of an accumulation of minerals in the kidneys, which eventually pass through the urethra.

Excessive sugar in the body and dehydration are some of the leading causes of kidney stones, and it happens that soda is the main culprit here.

Risk of Insulin Resistance

Insulin is a hormone that transports glucose from your bloodstream into your cells. With excessive consumption of sugary beverages like soda, your cells become less sensitive or resistant to the effects of insulin.

As a result, your pancreas is forced to create even more insulin to remove the glucose from your bloodstream, causing a spike of insulin levels in your blood. This condition is called insulin resistance and has been associated with high risks of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Increased Risk of Heart Disease

Sugar-sweetened drinks like sodas and milkshakes have long been linked to increased risk factors for heart diseases, such as high blood sugar, LDL particles, and blood triglycerides. The Journal of General Internal Medicine published a report suggesting that soda drinkers are at a higher risk for heart disease, stroke, and death from vascular disease.

Heart failure is also a major concern for people who drink lots of soda, and the risk of heart failure is closely linked to obesity, diabetes, and uncontrolled blood pressure, all of which can be directly linked to regular soda consumption.

Faster Aging

All those chemicals and colors in your soda may have some aging effects on your skin. The sugar and phosphates in soda have been found to accelerate the aging process at the cellular level. Moreover, the dehydrating caffeine causes your skin to dry and puts you at a greater risk for wrinkles and fine lines.

Infertility

Certain types of citrus soda contain a substance called brominated vegetable oil (BVO), an additive used to maintain the flavor and appearance of the soda. The substance, which has already been banned in Japan and Europe, has been found to cause infertility and early onset puberty.

So, if you have plans to have kids of your own soon, ditch that soda and opt for good old plain water or fruit and vegetable smoothies.

All images by Shutterstock

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