I read an interesting research study that found drinking sugar soda on a regular basis could lead to the premature aging of immune cells, leaving the body more susceptible to chronic disease like diabetes. And they compared it to the way smoking increases our risk of disease, by damaging tissues, causing inflammation and insulin resistance.
We always say that eating or drinking sugar does not cause diabetes but maybe we as health care professionals will need to re-evaluate that answer.
If you have diabetes or prediabetes you might be thinking “How bad can it be to have a soda now and then?” In my experience teaching and coaching on diabetes, I have seen many people bring their blood sugars down to normal or near normal just by weaning off regular soda. Plus you are also likely to get healthier teeth, more energy and easier weight control.
How much is too much sugar? The American Heart Association guidelines for added sugar consumption recommend women get no more than 100 calories a day from added sugar, or about 6 teaspoons. That’s only slightly more than a half of a 12 ounce can! For men, they recommend no more than 9 teaspoons.
What can I drink instead? Check out this comparison of sugar in drinks for some ideas.
Is there any benefit of drinking regular soda? Drinking liquid sugar is great if you need to get your blood sugar up fast from hypoglycemia but there is no other benefit to health from drinking soda. It’s too easy to get too much sugar too fast and like drinking too much alcohol it can be toxic if your body can’t process it quickly enough.
My Thoughts and Suggestions: Excess intake of sugar leads to weight problems, health problems, which leads to higher health care costs, similar to smoking. So do we start banning soda like we do cigarette smoking in many places? Do we tax soda?
Companies are marketing high sugar food and drink everywhere but I am not one to promote more government control. So here’s my take on it . . .If we don’t buy it they won’t make it, so instead I would encourage personal responsibility. If you don’t care about your own health then look at the example you are setting for your kids or grandkids. If we care about their future and all of our health care costs in the future then we need to start with our own personal habits. It’s not easy to quit soda but instead of me rambling on I want to recommend a great resource to you. Check out the kindle book Breaking the Sugar Habit: Practical Ways to Cut the Sugar, Lose the Weight, and Regain Your Health by Margaret Wertheim, MS, RD.
I would love to hear your comments, especially if you have been able to kick the sugar soda habit!