I have been a coke addict. Yes, i confess. Mine was particularly bad especially during my undergraduate years. My addiction got so bad that i could tell the difference between coke in a bottle, a can, coke from London, Nigeria or even Thailand. Either that or i have a pretty awesome sense of taste. All my years of drinking coke, i knew it was bad for me because i had basic knowledge of chemistry and biology. Over the years when my health conscious lifestyle took centre stage, i decided to drop the habit quickly because it was easy for me to understand the chemical and biological responses that occurred once i drank coke. Now, because most people dont go around understanding chemical reactions, it is my job to let you know what happens once coke enters your body. At least once you know, then you are able to make informed decisions about your health. You have probably heard that drinking coke is bad for you but do you know the extent? Let me explain:
Within the first 10 minutes of drinking coke,10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. This is 100 percent of your recommended daily intake, and the only reason you don’t vomit as a result of the overwhelming sweetness is because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor.
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 livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream.
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 sugar crash.
Now whats in your can or bottle of coke?
- Phosphoric Acid: Which can interfere with the body’s ability to use calcium, leading to osteoporosis or softening of the teeth and bones.
- Sugar: It is a proven fact that sugar increases insulin levels, which can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, premature aging and many more negative side effects. Most sodas include over 100 percent of the RDA (recommended daily amount) of sugar.
- Aspartame: This chemical is used as a sugar substitute in diet soda. There are over 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption including brain tumors, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and epilepsy/seizures.
- Caffeine: Caffeinated drinks cause jitters, insomnia, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, elevated blood cholesterol levels, vitamin and mineral depletion, breast lumps, birth defects, and perhaps some forms of cancer.
- Tap Water: I recommend that everyone avoid drinking tap water because it can carry any number of chemicals including chlorine, trihalomethanes, lead, cadmium, and various organic pollutants. Tap water is the main ingredient in bottled soft drinks.
Clearly, the over-consumption of sodas and sweet drinks is one of the leading causes fueling the world-wide obesity epidemic.
One independent, peer-reviewed study published in the British medical journal The Lancet demonstrated a strong link between soda consumption and childhood obesity. They found that 12-year-olds who drank soft drinks regularly were more likely to be overweight than those who didn’t. In fact, for each additional daily serving of sugar-sweetened soft drink consumed during the nearly two-year study, the risk of obesity jumped by 60 percent.
Just one extra can of soda per day can add as much as 15 pounds to your weight over the course of a single year!
Other statistics on the health dangers of soft drinks include:
One soda per day increases your risk of diabetes by 85 percent
Soda drinkers have higher cancer risk. While the federal limit for benzene in drinking water is 5 parts per billion (ppb), researchers have found benzene levels as high as 79 ppb in some soft drinks, and of the 100 brands tested, most had at least some detectable level of benzene present
Soda has been shown to cause DNA damage – courtesy of sodium benzoate, a common preservative found in many soft drinks, which has the ability to switch off vital parts of your DNA. This could eventually lead to diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver and Parkinson’s
If you are still drinking soda, stopping the habit is an easy way to improve your health. Pure water is a much better choice, or if you must drink a carbonated beverage, try sparkling mineral water with a squirt of lime or lemon juice.
There is absolutely NO REASON your kids should ever drink soda. The elimination of soft drinks is one of the most crucial factors to deal with many of the health problems you or your children suffer. If you struggle with an addiction to soda, remember, sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine!
In a continent like Africa where we are not only battling with infectious diseases, but are now dealing with non-communicable diseases (and also HIV), the current health system cannot manage all of these burdens. We currently do not have the resources for that. It is best for individuals and families to take charge of their own health and adopt preventative measures as that will directly impact our quality of life.