Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The pause that refreshes?
by Joseph Mercola
I’ve been warning readers of the dangers of soda since I started this site, well over a decade ago. Since then, science has caught up; now definitively showing the profound health risks of this popular beverage.
Amazingly, as of 2005, white bread was dethroned by soft drinks as the number one source of calories in the American diet! I keep repeating that statistic because I find it so incredible. According to recent statistics, Americans consume close to 50 billion liters of soda per year, which equates to about 216 liters, or about 57 gallons per person. That equates to a staggering amount of sugar!
Play-By-Play of what Happens in Your Body when You Drink a Soda
Soda is on my list of the five absolute worst foods and drinks you can consume. The video above offers a compelling illustration of why I make this claim.
In it, reporter Yunji DeNies drinks a 20-ounce glass of cola, which contains the equivalent of 16 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This is nearly three times the maximum daily sugar intake recommended by the American Heart Association.
HFCS typically contains a mixture of 45 percent glucose and 55 percent fructose (although recent investigations have found that many brand-name sodas actually contain 65 percent fructose!).
Once ingested, your pancreas rapidly begins to create insulin in response to the sugar. The rise in blood sugar is quite rapid. Here’s a play-by-play of what happens in your body upon drinking a can of soda:
Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat.
Within 40 minutes, caffeine absorption is complete; your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. As you could see in the report above, DeNies’ blood glucose level was 79 at the outset of the experiment, and after 40 minutes it had risen to 111!
Around 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain – a physically identical response to that of heroin, by the way.
After 60 minutes, you’ll start to have a blood sugar crash, and you may be tempted to reach for another sweet snack or beverage.
As I’ve discussed on numerous occasions, chronically elevated insulin levels (which you would definitely have if you regularly drink soda) and the subsequent insulin resistance is a foundational factor of most chronic disease, from diabetes to cancer.
Fructose Turns into Fat Far Faster than Other Sugars, and Fats
Lately, the media has finally begun reporting on the science of fructose, which clearly shows it is far worse than other sugars.
Fructose is processed in your liver, and unlike other sugars, most of it gets shuttled into fat storage. This is why fructose is a primary culprit behind obesity – far more so than other sugars. According to the news report above, drinking two bottles of soda per day can make you gain a pound of fat per week!
Aside from the weight gain, eating too much fructose is linked to increased triglyceride levels. In one study, eating fructose raised triglyceride levels by 32 percent in men! Triglycerides, the chemical form of fat found in foods and in your body, are not something you want in excess amounts.
Intense research over the past 40 years has confirmed that elevated blood levels of triglycerides, known as hypertriglyceridemia, puts you at an increased risk of heart disease.
Meanwhile, one of the most thorough scientific analyses published to date on this topic found that fructose consumption not only leads to insulin resistance but also decreases leptin signaling to your central nervous system. Leptin is responsible for controlling your appetite and fat storage, as well as telling your liver what to do with its stored glucose.
When your body can no longer “hear” leptin’s signals, weight gain, diabetes and a host of related conditions may occur. So, as you can see, fructose contributes to poor health through a number of mechanisms...