4 reasons you should stop drinking soda

Are you a chronic soda drinker? If so, you’ve probably heard all the textbook reasons as to why you should quit drinking it. Lots of sugar, empty calories, blah blah blah…although those are all valid reasons to quit, there are many reasons other than the massive amount of sugar as to why you should quit once and for all.

Here are four unconventional reasons you should quit drinking soda:

1. Dehydration

Most of us know that we are supposed to drink water. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water. That is more than half your body’s composition in case you missed that last sentence! It only makes sense that throughout the day we should be drinking a steady amount of water to make up for the water we lose throughout our daily lives.

It’s estimated that at any given time, up to 75% of Americans are functioning in a chronic state of dehydration. When you start to feel thirsty, you are technically already seeing signs of dehydration. When you reach for soda instead of water you are potentially causing your body more harm than good.

Sodas are packed with sodium, sugar and caffeine. As soda is consumed over a period of time, it dehydrates the body and can even cause chronic dehydration. Obviously, if you are thirsty and there is nothing else to drink, drink a soda but switch to water as soon as you can. Your body will thank you.

2. Bad for your teeth

According to a recent study published in the Journal of General Dentistry comparing the mouths of a cocaine-user, a methamphetamine-user and a habitual diet-soda drinker, researchers found the same level of tooth erosion in each. What’s the culprit?

Citric acid weakens and destroys tooth enamel over time. Besides tooth erosion, the dark components in darker-colored sodas cause surface staining on your teeth. Over time, your tooth enamel absorbs these components causing brown or yellow discoloration. Drinking soda regularly will also cause plaque to build on the teeth and can lead to cavities and gum disease.

 3. The out of pocket cost of drinking soda adds up.

The average American soda drinker drinks 216 liters of soda a year. That’s 7304 ounces or about 365 20-ounce bottles a year. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans drink at least one soda a day. Let’s break down the cost a little further.

 If you purchase your soda at a vending machine, the cost would add up to about $550 a year. If you put this into a retirement account for 30 years at a 7% interest rate compounded annually, you would have about $60,000. Even if you are buying your soda at a grocery store in cases to save money, the average cost is still 40 cents per can. That amount equals $243 per year or $26,000 over 30 years. According to Time Magazine, the average American household spends $850 annually on soda drinks.

 4. Causes insomnia and sleeping disorders

It’s estimated that 30%-50% of the general population is affected by insomnia and 10% have chronic insomnia. Soft drinks contain caffeine, which is a psychoactive drug. This affects our central nervous system and alters our brain function, resulting in temporary changes in perception, mood and behavior. There is a lot of conflicting information on caffeine, but it is agreed upon that caffeine at certain levels affects sleep.

Caffeine prevents drowsiness by blocking the effects of the hormones serotonin and melatonin. It also blocks adenosine receptors (sleep-inducers) from being blinded. Eventually, even when you do manage to fall asleep this will prevent you from getting the full benefits of sleep. The long-term problem with caffeine is the effect it has on sleep. Adenosine reception (sleep induction) is important to sleep, especially to deep sleep. The half-life of caffeine in your body is about six hours, meaning that if you consume a drink with 200 mg of caffeine in it at 3:00 p.m., by 9:00 p.m. about 100 mg of that caffeine is still in your system. Although you still may be able to fall asleep you will most likely miss out on the benefits of deep sleep.

So the next time you are thirsty, try reaching for that ice-cold water. In the long run, it will provide you with more hydration and your body will thank you!