Read, then decide.
First of all, let me say that soda, at the least, is not a beneficial drink. It has no nutritional value (meaning it is not a significant source of anything good for you), and the ingredients that go into it are questionable. If you're drinking soda, whether it's regular or diet, you're drinking a synthetic, chemical product.
The average cola contains carbonated water, caramel color, natural flavors, caffeine, phosphoric acid and high-fructose corn syrup. The first three ingredients are not bad, but the rest are.
Caffeine is addictive. Phosphoric acid breaks down starches into sugar. High-fructose corn syrup is sugar. One cola can have 17 teaspoons of sugar.
Even if you drink diet soda, the controversial "aspartame" has been added in place of the high fructose corn syrup. Aspartame is the basis of NutraSweet and Equal, and has been connected with harm to the brain and nervous system (i.e. headaches, spasms, seizures, shooting pains, numbness, tinnitus, depression, impaired vision, memory loss, dizzyness). As a result, "Aspartame Disease" is a new term that has been coined to describe the pathology that results from ingestion of this chemical.
Diet Soda has recently been linked to an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a combination of high cholesterol, elevated blood glucose levels, and abdominal obesity. All of these health traits are most commonly known to be factors of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
It's actually not that simple, and there are many other factors involved as well. But this is a blog, and not a book, so I'll refer you to some other sites at the end of this discussion. In the meantime:
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU CONSUME COLAS/SODAS AND YOU'D LIKE TO STOP?
The old fashioned soda jerks of the 30s and 40s would pour a cola-like syrup into a glass and just add soda water.
I think the reason why people think colas are 'refreshing' is the bubbly feeling in the mouth. So go out and buy some good old fashioned seltzer water. You can find it in the supermarket. It's just carbonated water, and contains nothing else, and no salt. Don't buy club soda, as it is high in sodium (salt).
Pour the seltzer into a nice tall glass with ice, fill it about half way, and fill the rest with some great tasting natural juice that has not had any sugar added. Grape juice is a strong choice to start with. Its flavor holds up nicely when mixed with seltzer. You might want to try altering the percentages of seltzer to juice as well. I now mix about 30% juice with 70% seltzer. It tastes great, and it's even nutritional!
This is the idea that was used by Crystal Geyser to make their Crystal Geyser Juice Squeeze. It's carbonated water and natural juice. Sometimes I keep these in the fridge, and sometimes I even dilute them down even more with seltzer.
Experiment with your own blends. In the health food store, you can also find concentrated fruit syrups that don't contain any added sugar, such as cherry concentrate.
It's fun, and it's so much healthier for you. If you keep these in the house as staples, you'll never have to buy another canned, chemical-laden cola again.
Need to bring some with you to work? Make your favorite blended bubbly drink portable by investing in some stainless steel water bottles. Keep a couple in the fridge, air tight and nice and cold. E voila! Your very own soda in a can -- ready to go.
I think you'll find it's the most satisfying carbonated drink you've ever had. And you'll be getting the benefit of knowing you're drinking something that actually has real fruit juice in it and is good for you!
Mmm. I'm thirsty. I think I'll go have a seltzer water with a splash of lemon.
P.S. Herbal and aromatherapy alternatives are possible as well. However, the above is the closest to drinking cola, and I feel would be the easiest way to start. I'll address and suggest some different options in another post. Thanks for the comment, Laura, that led to this posting.
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