Healthy Swaps

Why is Soda Bad For You?

There’s nothing like opening a can of Coke. The delightful crack and pshhh of carbonation releasing, the kick of dopamine as you realize you are about to get a healthy dose of sugar. For many of us, it’s the caffeine bump that gets us through the rest of the day. 

Recently, there’s been a lot of attention in the media about the dangers of soda. Even New York State passed a beverage law to ban sodas from public schools. In the wake of this, I have a lot of friends asking me, what’s the deal? Why is soda so bad for you? My parents drink it, it’s been served at every social function since birth, why are people suddenly acting like it’s a drug?

The answer is pretty simple. Because soda, as it stands today, is kind of like a drug. It may not be illegal or certainly not demonized by the masses. But the soda produced today is made of sugar or sugar-like substances. 1 Can of Coke contains 9 1/2 teaspoons of sugar to be exact, or 33 Grams. In one can. For comparison, a Krispy Kreme donut has 10g of sugar and a bowl of Fruit Loops has about 12g. 

The problem with soda is that being made up of sugar, a soda drinker is ingesting far more calories on a daily basis purely on soda alone. Every time you drink a can of coke is equivalent to eating about 3 Krispy Kreme donuts or 2 Hershey Bars. Woof. 

Aside from the empty calories, sugar is a drug, in the sense that it is an addictive substance. The fact that you love soda so much is not even your fault. Sugar is 10x more addictive than cocaine. Seriously. Insert citation here did experiments on rats who were addicted to cocaine and asked them to choose between sugar water and water laced with cocaine. What did they choose? They picked the sugar water. Every. Single. Time. 

But you say, what about Diet Coke? Diet Coke doesn’t have calories…or sugar! Not so fast…Diet Coke may not have any straight-up sugar, but it contains plenty of additives such as Aspartame. What we know about artificial sweeteners is that they do not lower blood sugar levels overall and diet soda drinkers still absorb gut bacteria that may lead to health problems down the road.

Other soda products contain various types of sugars or artificial sweeteners. They are commonly disguised as different names, so for a list check out this page. 

How can we break this soda cycle? What are some alternatives that will help you reap the benefits of soda, without sugar intake, addiction and long term health problems? Here’s a few suggestions for replacing your daily can with something healthier:

  • Zevia - stevia, best sweetener on the market because it’s natural, from a plant. no x y or z, and it comes in cola flavor! 
  • Green Tea - Antioxidents, perfect for the winter. 
  • Green Smoothie - Natural High, Contains Nutrients to help you get through the day
  • And also, plenty of water! Water saves lives. Water water water. 

You got this, you gorgeous babe!