Breaking Down the Ingredients in Soda

Earlier this year, Pepsi made headlines when they 'kicked aspartame to the curb' as they put it. We've talked a lot about sugary beverages leading the obesity epidemic and many companies are being forced to take a long, hard look at their ingredients. But let's break down what's really in our soda.

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What's really in a 12 fl. oz. can of soda?

Many people believe their coffee has a ton of caffeine but the truth is one can contains less than 1% caffeine. The reason we feel that energy high after drinking a can is because the small amount of caffeine is paired with sugar. Combined, these culprits lead to weight gain. 

Back to this idea of "natural" many of the items are kept secret at the discretion of the soda companies. The FDA doesn't have any serious efforts to control what the word "natural" means when it comes to soda and many other foods and this is increasingly coming under scrutiny. 

There's also a good amount of caramel color which would be okay if the sugar was made the old fashioned way —on the stove with water— but instead it's treated with ammonia which can cause serious carcinogens. 

Phosphoric and citric acids provide a sour balance to the sweetness of soda but in soda it's not taken from citrus fruits, it's actually taken from corn. Corn is bad for out weight. Remember that. 

And the biggest culprit of all is high fructose corn syrup. There's that word corn again. 

Reducing Your Soda Intake Could Lower Risk of Diabetes

Since the 1970’s sugar consumption has decreased 40%, this is slightly misleading since there has been an increase in fructose consumption in the form of high fructose corn syrup. This is the type of sugar is found in most sodas and sugary soft drinks. Fructose, as it happens, is the sweetest of all sugars and leaves us craving more. Fructose consumption triggers euphoric or ‘feel good’ chemical activity in the brain, similar to a ‘reward system’ such that when you eat sugar, your brain feels pleasure.  The more sugar you eat, the greater your threshold to reach this pleasure sensation is, so you need more and more daily.  

A reduced-sugar diet has many benefits including weight loss, reduction in risk for diabetes, and decreased risk of heart disease.  A new study actually found that switching out just one sugary soda per day for water, or unsweetened coffee or tea – could lower the risk for type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, by 25%.  The findings are based on detailed food diaries from over 25,000 middle-aged and older British adults.  When the study started all participants were diabetes-free, but almost 1000 were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by study end.  Overall, the study found that the more sugary soda people consumed, the higher their risk of developing diabetes. There was an increased risk of diabetes by about 22% for every extra daily serving.

Repeated surges in blood sugar, that soda causes, make the pancreas work harder and can contribute to insulin resistance, thereby increasing the risk for Type 2 diabetes.  Sugars in fruit metabolize slowly because they are contained in fibrous walls.  This means the digestive tract takes more time to break them down and sugars enter the bloodstream more slowly giving the liver more time to metabolize them.  Fruit can also help keep us from overeating by making us feel fuller.  This sensation of feeling fuller happens because the fiber-rich fruit breaks down more slowly, traveling longer through the digestive tract, triggering the satiety hormones that tend to cluster further down the small intestines, unlike processed, sugary, junk food.