I used to drink coke like it was going out of style. In fact, before I stopped drinking coke, I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t drink it. I grew up on it – coke went well with everything, pizza, burgers, tacos. Then one day, about 3 years ago, I quit.
I want to start by saying that I am in no way judging your decision to drink it. It’s legal, sold in stores, your children can buy it, and the FDA approves of it. I used to drink it everyday day, several times a day. And on that note, I hope I never come across as “judge-y.” My beef with junk food is rooted deep in the fear of the inevitable disease that will occur in my life if I don’t get a handle on my nutrition and fitness. I share my stories because if there is one other soul on this planet that can relate, I’ve done my job. If this doesn’t relate to you, you may feel free to stop reading.
Now back to cola…
I loved the way a really cold can of coke sounded when it opened and felt when it hit my lips. I totally get why people drink it. It tastes good, it feels good, it makes people happy, the advertising of it is sexy and clever. I. GET. IT!
What I don’t get is what it does to our bodies when we drink it, and why I continued to drink it for over 20 years.
It’s true that you don’t know what you don’t know.
So here we go, a nice list of facts about a few of the pit falls of drinking soft drinks (I’m sorry, I just feel like I need to include it. It won’t be long. Don’t stop reading, feel free to scan if you must):
- One 12 ounce can of coke contains almost 10 teaspoons of high fructose corn syrup (aka: sugar). According to the American Heart Association, this is 200% of your daily intake. We all know that ingesting sugar increases your blood sugar. Well ingesting 10 teaspoons of sugar, REALLY increases your blood sugar. What happens when your blood sugar spikes? What goes up must come down, right… You’re left in a post-high, crashed state, desperately craving another coke or something else sweet. When our bodies get more sugar than they need, they begin to store that sugar as fat. I think we can all agree that 10 teaspoons, is more than we need.
- Phosphoric Acid: Phosphoric acid has a wide variety of uses, including food additive, fertilizer feedstock, and a component of some home cleaning products. Studies link it to lower bone density and chronic kidney issues. I know lots of people drink coke and don’t have kidney issues or osteoporosis. I feel like this is a “use at your own risk” ingredient. The truth of the matter is that there aren’t enough studies of large groups of people over a long range of time to determine the effects of phosphoric acid when used specifically in cola.
- Caramel Color: This begs the question… why must coke be brown? Brown is an awful color. Anyway, at a very basic level, it’s a food additive that has been show to cause cancer in rat studies. By the way, lots and lots of the processed foods we eat contain some kind of food dye.
I’m not going to address diet coke, but just know that if you drink it, it is not really a good substitute for fully leaded, real deal cola. Artificial sweeteners are used in diet drinks, and who wants to ingest anything “artificial.” As the saying goes, “Life is too short for fake food.” The jury is out on extended use of artificial sweeteners, and I feel as though it’s another “use at your own risk” ingredient.
Back to quitting coke. About 3-4 years ago, I kept noticing that I was always tired and I had those 5-10 extra pounds that would not go away. I thought it was the “love pudge” because I was recently married. Then I started cutting out soft drinks. I began to notice that what I thought was giving me energy (cola) was actually bringing me down. When I cut out soft drinks, I developed a new energy level I had never really experienced before because for the last 20 years I’d basically been addicted to soft drinks. I’m now 3 years cola free, and I hydrate mainly with water, a morning coffee and an occasional glass of red wine.
Here are a few things that worked for me when I quit soda:
- Keep a refillable water bottle. I really love the Bobble. They are refillable, and have filter, so you can essentially fill it anywhere you go.
- If you don’t like straight water, add flavoring to it. There are so many options for flavored water. You can buy a water bottle with an infuser (these are great) or just squeeze some fresh lemon and add a few drops of Stevia leaf extract. Try to stay away from flavored water with artificial sweeteners.
- Do it gradually. If you drink 8 glasses of soda per day, going cold turkey may set you up for failure. Start small, maybe eliminate one glass per week until you’re down to zero.
- Remember your “why?” Do you want to stop drinking soda because it’s expensive? Do you want the health benefits? Do you want to lose a few pounds? Write down your “why” and remind yourself of it daily.
I know Coca-Cola has a really clever marketing campaign this summer titled “share a coke.” I’m sorry, but because I care about you, I’m not going to share a coke with you, but you’re welcome to some of my water.
Send questions, comments or hate mail to JadaDanos@gmail.com
Looking for an all natural way to lose weight, control your blood sugar, develop healthy habits and supplement your nutrition, or kick the cola habit click here.
If you don’t have time to read all of the articles, please at least read the Mercola article. There are so many resources about cola on the internet, just be smart about what you read. Use caution and do your best.