What About Soda?

Soft Drinks are Hard on Your Brain: When levels of circulating glucose drop, the initial sugar-high turns into an energy crisis for your brain. (Neurons cannot store glucose, like body cells can.) An hour or two after drinking a sugary soft drink, you feel the need for another boost.

What Happens in Your Body When You Have a Soft Drink?: If you’ve ever had a blood test that measured your fasting blood glucose level, it should be somewhere around 100 milligrams per deciliter. That’s one gram of blood sugar per liter of blood, which translates into only about five grams (a teaspoon) of sugar in circulation throughout your entire bloodstream. Let’s say you suck down the typical non-diet soft drink that contains ten times that amount of sugar, which is then quickly absorbed and enters into your bloodstream. Sensors in your brain’s hypothalamus will instruct your pancreas to secrete insulin, which causes the cells in your body to pull this overload of glucose out of your bloodstream and store it for later use. Even when blood sugar levels are again normalized, insulin levels can remain high, because your liver may be unable to remove the circulating insulin fast enough. In addition, drinking carbonated soft drinks decreases the amount of pure water a person consumes, which can lead to dehydration that depletes the brain and other organs of fluids. (The brain contains a high percentage of water.)

Soda and Vitamin Deficiencies: Drinking large quantities of soda can lead to deficiencies in several important vitamins and minerals. A survey of more than 4,000 children, aged 2 to 17 years, found that soda consumption rose 41% between 1989-1995. Soda drinkers were less likely to get the recommended levels of vitamin A or calcium, and were at increased risk of magnesium deficiency. Sugar depletes magnesium, and the high levels of phosphoric acid in soft drinks can combine with calcium and magnesium in the gut to cause a loss of these vital minerals.

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