Fifty-eight year old Dawn Dawson loves three things in this world...her daughter, her cats and her morning can of Coca-Cola. “I’ve cut down in the past three years because of the sugar content, but I still get up in the morning and have a can of Coke,” said Dawn. Dawn is not alone in her addiction to what some health officials call ‘liquid candy’.
Grocery shopping at Pathmark in Harlem recently, I found that nine out of ten shoppers purchased more than two cases of soda (Coke, Pepsi, etc). Why do people buy so many cases? “Coke is always on sale,” says Dawn. “But as much as I love my Coca-Cola, I look for bargains. If the price went up, I would stop drinking it…well maybe I’d at least cutback.”
A can of Coke could soon cost New Yorkers more than just calories. As part of a $121 billion budget, Governor David Paterson has proposed an "obesity tax" of about 15% on non-diet drinks. The so-called obesity tax would generate an estimated $404 million a year. Milk, juice, diet soda, and bottled water would be exempt from the tax.
Will the tax put a stop drinking soda? While conducting a survey in Harlem’s Pathmark on 145th Street, I noticed 9 out of 10 shoppers purchased three or more cases of soda. When I asked why she was buying so many cases, Harlem resident Angie Coleman told me, “It’s cheap!” In the good ole days, families filled their liquid fantasies with Kool-Aid. Today, it’s Liquid Candy.
Soda is one of society’s favorite beverages. Each year, billions of gallons are sold in the United States alone. Health experts believe drinking soda may have serious health consequences and have linked the ‘liquid candy’ to obesity in children and adults. Soda is high in sugar and calories. Combined with its practically nonexistent nutritional value, soda may cause drinkers to pack on the pounds without receiving even the smallest nutritional benefit.
If you think drinking diet soda is better for you, guess again. Surprisingly, drinking diet soda has been linked to weight gain as well. A 2005 study at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, and separate studies released in 2007 at the University of Alberta in Canada and the University of Massachusetts, found that diet soda drinkers were more likely than regular soda drinkers to be obese.
“I don’t think they should blame soda for making people fat,” said Dawn. “I know lots of people who drink those bottled fruit juices that are fat.” She has a point. Some health experts assert that obesity may be caused not by drinking soda alone, but by the combination of drinking soda and leading a sedentary lifestyle.
Risks Of Drinking Soda
• Soda has been known to comprise certain chemicals that make you feel dehydrated. This is the reason why, even after drinking lots of soda, you continue to feel thirsty.
• Every can of soda contains carbonic acid, which is a highly corrosive material. Hence, regular and frequent consumption of soda can cause unimaginable damage to the human body.
• One of the prime side effects associated with the consumption of soda is that it is high in sugar content. This leads to the development of a number of health problems, like obesity and oral decay. Consumption of any form of aerated drink containing soda means that there is consumption of empty calories, which results in weight gain.
• There is high sugar content and too much fructose corn syrup in soda. Too much consumption of the drink can easily cause excessive weight gain.
• Soda does not have any nutritional value. Drinking it regularly means that you are just adding on empty calories.
• Excessive consumption of soda can result in high blood sugar, which can lead to faintness, rapid heart rate, and dehydration.
• Since soda contains too much sugar and acid, it can play havoc with your oral health. Not only does it dissolve the calcium out of tooth enamel, but can also cause many cavities.
• Soda is also loaded with caffeine, a stimulant, which is the reason why it quickly develops into an addiction. Consumption of excess of caffeine can cause irritability and restlessness.
• In case you are consuming soda from a can, you must also be aware of the fact that aluminum has been found to be a contributing factor of Alzheimer’s disease, which is an incurable, degenerative, and terminal mental condition.
• Caffeine removes calcium from our bodies. Therefore, if you are drinking too much soda, you are also ingesting too much cafeine, which ultimately will affect the strength of your bones.
• Irritability, restlessness, tension, insomnia, excitement, and gastrointestinal disturbance are some other side effects of caffeine, which often result from high consumption of soda.