Everyone pretty much agrees that soda isn't good for you. Even those who drink it regularly know it isn't wise, yet continue to consume it for some odd reason. (addiction?)
The average cola contains carbonated water, caramel color, natural flavors, caffeine, phosphoric acid and high-fructose corn syrup. Carbonated water is plain water infused with carbon dioxide, which creates the bubbles. Caramel color is a natural additive that tints food products, providing the familiar color consumers expect to see. Natural flavors are often of the citrus variety and added for taste. All of these are simple, harmless ingredients. Next is caffeine, a diuretic and stimulant known to be addictive.
What's left on the list of ingredients is what solidifies soda's bad name: sugar. Phosphoric acid is a chemical that adds a tangy or sour flavor by breaking down starches into sugar. We should consume as little sugar as possible, especially refined sugar.
Many products on supermarket shelves contain the final ingredient on our soda list: high-fructose corn syrup.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup: 'Most horrific ingredient'
High fructose corn syrup is in most foods because it is a way cheaper form of sweetener than anything else. "It is also one of the single most horrific ingredients in the food supply." says Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS. Adding high-fructose corn syrup to foods provides little or no nutrition and but lots of calories.
If this is the case, then what about diet soda: Does it help or hinder weight loss? "There's no hard-core scientific evidence that it hinders," says Bowden. "But there is a ton of anecdotal information and intelligent observation that leads one to think that might be so.
Diet Soda Is No Diet At All
New research shows that noncaloric food and beverages deregulate our innate ability to judge caloric intake. Secondly, there's the psychological part: Many people subconsciously think they're taking in less calories by drinking no-cal drinks and then subconsciously allow themselves more food.
Two years ago, a study at the University of Texas Health Science Center found that there was a 41% increase in the risk for being overweight for every single can of diet soda a person consumed daily.
Lastly, there is some buzz among nutritional scientists that sweet tastes (through a Pavlovian conditioning method) might signal insulin to release even though there are no actual calories or sugar. (another reason Splenda sucks)
A recent study in International Journal of Food Microbiology found that 48% of soda fountains at fast food restaurants in the U.S. contain a bacteria that grows in feces - coliform bacteria.
Do you REALLY need another reason not to drink it?
(I have more if you do...!)