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Why To Avoid Excessive Soda Consumption

The number one killer in America isn’t gun violence or cancer; it’s heart disease. During my freshman year in high school, I remember the first day of class, our health class teacher brought a tub of table sugar. She took measuring spoons and shoveled out scoop after scoop while talking about our day-to-day diet. She asked the class how many of us would have a can of soda with our lunch. Pretty much everyone raised their hand; it was what was available in the cafeteria besides milk or water. She filled a small transparent cup with 39 grams of sugar and asked if anyone thought it would be healthy to eat this much sugar all at once. No one thought it was healthy. Apparently, this is the amount of sugar in a 12-ounce can of regular Coke: 39 grams of sugar, which is 9 1/3 teaspoons. That’s what a lot of Americans do without thinking about it; no wonder heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US!

Thirty-nine grams of sugar is a lot, but that’s in a can. She doubled it to 65 grams; that’s your typical 20 fl oz bottle of Coke. It is unbelievable that we send as much sugar down our throats without thinking about it. That health class affected me even today in the GWC cafeteria when I was selecting a drink to go with my lunch on Monday. Hmm, let me get a 7up. That can’t be too bad, right? Wrong! A 20 fl oz bottle of 7up has 63 grams of sugar in it, which is two grams less than a Coke! Ok, how about an Arizona iced tea? NOPE! A 15.5 fl oz can of Arizona runs you 22 grams, which is still a lot. Root beer can’t be that bad; let’s see what that will run me. 20 fl oz A&W root beer has a whopping 75 grams of sugar!!! Come on, are you serious!? So, I began looking at drinks that most people associate with healthier options.

20 fl oz Vitamin Water seems like a healthy choice; yeah, if 32 grams of sugar is healthy. Apparently, Vitamin Water is owned by Coke, sugar water with vitamins you may or may not need to be camouflaged as a health drink. Very sneaky Coke, but not sneaky enough for me! 16 fl oz Langers Mango nectar, 35g of sugar, what is going on? Why does everything have so much sugar in it? 20 fl oz of Snapple Mango Madness can’t have that much sugar in it. Yeah if 56g isn’t that much sugar (56g is a lot of sugar) what is going on!?

I was exhausted by the time I found the 17 fl oz sparkling ice water at 0g of sugar. I’m no health nut, I don’t eat as well as I can but just finding a drink that isn’t unnecessarily loaded with sugar is just that, exhausting. How did that much sugar get on the shelves? Added sugar contains no essential nutrients and is just awful for your teeth. There are no proteins, essential fats, vitamins, or minerals in sugar. Sugar highs and crashes are as fun and terrible as they are extremely harmful to your health. “Growing evidence has shown that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight gain and increased risk of obesity. Reducing consumption of these beverages in the population is currently regarded as a key component of any comprehensive obesity prevention strategy.” (Stern)

When most people think of sugar, they think of simple white granulated sugar. But sugar comes in many forms; there are as many as 56 types! Corn syrup, diastatic malt, ethyl maltol, dextrin, Monosaccharides, sugars like glucose, aka dextrose, and fructose, to name a few. Dextrose sounds like a type of fluid that should go in an automotive transmission rather than in my stomach. It’s hard to hide from these sugars because they hide behind so many different names, but all of them in large doses are very unhealthy. Personal health doesn’t have to start with understanding exactly what a carb is or learning how each vitamin affects your body. It can start with simple things like looking at the nutritional facts under sugar and learning how much sugar you’re consuming. You wouldn’t dump a handful of sugar into your drinking water before you go to bed. But people do this every day without knowing it. Drinking liquids crammed with sugar is a common practice in our culture. You don’t have to be part of the unhealthy practice that has put America in the number one spot for obesity and heart disease. Personal health can start with avoiding drinking sugar water.

Work Cited

Stern, Dalia, et al. “Changes in Sugar-Sweetened Soda Consumption, Weight, and Waist Circumference: 2-Year Cohort of Mexican Women.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 107, no. 11, Nov. 2017, pp. 1801-1808. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2105/AJPH.2017.304008.

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