Pop, soda, coke, whatever you call it there are three reasons why we should stop drinking it: Caffeine, Aspartame, and High-Fructose Corn Syrup.
Never having been a coffee drinker, I used to pride myself in not joining the flocking masses waiting in line for their morning fix at the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts. It wasn’t until I started working at one of my clients where they provided all-you-can-drink free soda of your choice that I began my own hook. It was Coke.
At first I drank one a day. It was a nice way to get me over that afternoon slump. Soon after, I added one more in the morning. This felt great for a little while and continued to be the pattern until I switched clients. Unfortunately, I couldn’t carry the free soda machine with me to the new client. My habits, however, did not get left behind.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
At that time I started reading about the effects of high-fructose corn syrup. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is produced by processing corn starch to yield glucose, and then in turn processing the glucose to produce a high percentage of fructose. It’s essentially a cheap substitute to beet and cane sugar.
Here are some of the side-effects of a diet high in fructose:
- Converts to fat more than any other sugar. This may be one of the reasons Americans are continually gaining more weight not less weight. Dr. George Bray, principal investigator of the Diabetes Prevention Program at Louisiana State University Medical Center told the International Congress on Obesity that in 1980, just after high fructose corn syrup was introduced in mass quantities, relatively stable obesity rates began to climb. By 2000, they had doubled.
- Inhibits copper metabolism. Copper deficiency leads to defects in the connective tissues and arteries, and bone fragility. As one chiropractor observed, “the bodies of the children I see today are mush.” The culprit is the modern diet high in fructose and low in copper containing foods, resulting in inadequate formation of elastin and collagen, the proteins that help hold our bodies together.
After reading about these side effects I stopped drinking coke altogether, but replaced it with something probably worse: Diet Mountain Dew.
About 2 months had passed since I cut out any intake of high-fructose corn syrup. But I noticed something…I had become an addict. It now took about three Diet Mountain Dews spread strategically throughout the day to continue having the same mental benefits I had had before. Anytime I had missed one, I got these nagging headaches and became fatigued. Although I felt alert, it was more difficult to concentrate and the energy I felt was more akin to an unnatural buzz than a true feeling of energy. Again I started to do some research on some of the ill-effects of caffeine. Here is a list of the top 10 caffeine-related health effects from teecino.com (where you can read more details surrounding these 10 points):
- Cardiovascular Problems
- Emotional Disturbances
- Blood Sugar Swings
- Gastrointestinal Problems
- Nutritional Deficiencies
- Male Health Problems
- Female Health Problems
- Adrenal Exhaustion
So with this new-found knowledge I went cold turkey on caffeine and replaced it with my third and final soft drink:Fresca.
Initially Fresca seemed like a great segue to becoming free of the caffeine addiction. There was no high-fructose nastiness to make myself fat or my bones weak, the caffeine was non-existent and best of all there were no calories thanks to a wonder-drug called aspartame. Things couldn’t have been better. I even found that I enjoyed drinking Fresca more than any of the other previous sodas. I liked it so much I drank 2-3 a day. But after two months, I felt worse than when I was addicted to caffeine. Weird symptoms began to pop up such as blurriness of eyesight and random headaches. I began feeling depressed, listless and was constantly fatigued. It was so bad that I wondered if I had developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Depression. My wife, knowing that I’m normally a very happy and energetic person, noticed that I was becoming irritable and argumentative. It just wasn’t me anymore and I couldn’t understand why I was feeling this way.
Pulling out a notepad I began to do a personal inventory. It seemed that all of my areas of life were generally balanced except for diet. It was then that I questioned some of the ingredients in Fresca and began to study the side effects of Aspartame. There are over 92 different health side effects associated with consuming Aspartame! (For a complete list see, Sweet Poison)
It has been over a half a year since I last had a soda of any kind. I feel worlds better now and would suggest to anyone to detox after they eliminate soda from their diet. The Master Cleanse being one of the best ways. The journey to becoming soda free has been long but well worth it. Since doing this, none of my previous symptoms have returned.