9 Disturbing Side Effects of Soda

9 Disturbing Side Effects of Soda

By Emily Main, Rodale

Soda’s Bittersweet Side  Effects

If you’ve been reading health magazines and websites for any length of time,  you’ve read a litany of reasons why soda is bad for you. It’s nothing but sugar  water. It’s devoid of any nutritional value. It leads to obesity and diabetes. But we’ve dug up nine other disturbing  facts about what soda does to your body, besides packing on the pounds, that  don’t get much attention in broader discussions about soda and its impact on  your health.

Weird Fat in Weird  Places

In the latest bad news for the soda industry, Danish researchers discovered  that drinking non-diet soda leads to dramatic increases in fat buildup around  your liver and your skeletal muscles, both of which can contribute to insulin  resistance and diabetes. The study revealed that people who drank a regular soda  every day for six months saw a 132 to 142 percent increase in liver fat, a 117  to 221 percent jump in skeletal fat, and about a 30 percent increase in both  triglyceride blood fats and other organ fat. Their consumption also led to an 11  percent increase in cholesterol, compared with the people who drank other  beverages such as water or milk.


Diet-Soda Belly

It’s not surprising that drinking all the sugar in sodas would cause weight  gain, but what is surprising is that even diet soda will pack on the pounds:  Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center monitored 475  adults for 10 years, and found that those who drank diet soda had a 70 percent  increase in waist circumference over the 10-year study, compared with those who  didn’t drink any soda. Those who drank more than two diet sodas per day saw a  500 percent waist expansion! A separate study the same researchers conducted on  mice suggested that it was the aspartame, which raised blood glucose levels,  that caused the weight gain; when your liver encounters too much glucose, the  excess is converted to body fat.

Caramel  Cancer-Causers

In 2011, the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned  the Food and Drug Administration to ban the artificial caramel coloring used to  make Coke, Pepsi, and other colas brown. The reason: Two contaminants in the  coloring, 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, have been found to cause  cancer in animals, a threat the group says is unnecessary, considering that the  coloring is purely cosmetic. According to California’s strict Proposition 65  list of chemicals known to cause cancer, just 16 micrograms per person per day  of 4-methylimidazole is enough to pose a cancer threat, and most popular brown  colas, both diet and regular, contain 200 micrograms per 20-ounce bottle.


Accelerated  Aging

Diet or regular, all colas contain phosphates, or phosphoric acid, a weak  acid that gives colas their tangy flavor and improves their shelf life. Although  it exists in many whole foods, such as meat, dairy, and nuts, too much  phosphoric acid can lead to heart and kidney problems, muscle loss, and  osteoporosis, and one study suggests it could trigger accelerated aging. The  study, published in a 2010 issue of the FASEB Journal, found that the excessive  phosphate levels found in sodas caused lab rats to die a full five weeks earlier  than the rats whose diets had more normal phosphate levels–a disturbing trend  considering that soda manufacturers have been increasing the levels of  phosphoric acid in their products over the past few decades.

Water Pollution

The artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas don’t break down in our bodies,  nor do wastewater-treatment plants catch them before they enter waterways,  researchers have found. In 2009, Swiss scientists tested water samples from  wastewater-treatment plants, rivers and lakes in Switzerland and detected levels  of acesulfame K, sucralose, and saccharin, all of which are, or have been, used  in diet sodas. A recent test of 19 municipal water supplies in the U.S. revealed  the presence of sucralose in every one. It’s not clear yet what these low levels  are doing to people, but past research has found that sucralose in rivers and  lakes interferes with some organisms’ feeding habits.

Mountain Dew  Mind

Dentists have a name for the condition they see in kids who drink too much  Mountain Dew. They wind up with a “Mountain Dew Mouth,” full of cavities caused  by the drink’s excessive sugar levels. “Mountain Dew Mind” may be the next  medical condition that gets named after the stuff. An ingredient called  brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, added to prevent the flavoring from separating  from the drink, is an industrial chemical used as a flame retardant in plastics.  Also found in other citrus-based soft drinks and sports drinks, the chemical has  been known to cause memory loss and nerve disorders when consumed in large  quantities. Researchers also suspect that, like brominated flame retardants used  in furniture foam, the chemical builds up in body fat, possibly causing  behavioral problems, infertility, and lesions on heart muscles over time.

Whacked-Out  Hormones

It’s not just the soda that’s causing all the problems. Nearly all aluminum  soda cans are lined with an epoxy resin called bisphenol A (BPA), used to keep  the acids in soda from reacting with the metal. BPA is known to interfere with  hormones, and has been linked to everything from infertility to obesity and  diabetes and some forms of reproductive cancers. The Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention have pegged soda cans, along with restaurant, school, and  fast-food meals, as a major source of exposure to the chemical. And while Pepsi  and Coke are currently locked in a battle to see which company can be the first  to develop a 100 percent plant-based-plastic bottle–which they’re touting as  “BPA free”–neither company is willing to switch to BPA-free aluminum cans.


Dead Birds

Before you switch from cans to bottles, though, take a look at the  photographs of Chris Jordan, an environmentalist and photographer who visited  the Midway Atoll area in 2009. It’s close to the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,”  a mass of plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean where things like soda caps (which  often aren’t recycled) and plastic fish netting float just beneath the surface  of the water. Birds, sea turtles, and other wildlife mistake the debris for food  and eat large quantities of the plastic, which they are unable to digest.  Ultimately, the plastic causes them to starve to death. It’s estimated that  thousands of animals die this way every year.

Unknown Side Effects of  GMOs

Take a look at the ingredients list for any soda and chances are most of  those ingredients are derived from corn. As much as 88 percent of the corn grown  in the U.S. is genetically modified to resist toxic pesticides or engineered to  create pesticides within the plant itself. Thanks to lax government safety  regulations, and tight corporate control over who gets to test these proprietary  seeds, there are no human studies that can prove or disprove whether these crops  are safe. Independent scientists have found that, in animals, genetically  modified crops, or GMOs, are linked to digestive tract damage, accelerated  aging, and even infertility. By drinking soda, you’re taking part in the biggest  science experiment on the planet.


Lighten Up – You May Be a Yuppie Pagan If…

You May Be a Yuppie Pagan If…

Your BMW stands out among the Toyotas and VWs at the Grand Coven.

You have a three-piece ritual robe.

Your ritual preparation includes stopping at the dry cleaner.

The Priestess sends the ritual wine back to the cellar.

You have considered calling the quarters by telephone.

You purchase astrological charts for companies listed on the NASDAQ.

You use an alphanumeric pager in circle to represent Air.

You want to use the  Weber Gas Grill  as the ritual bonfire.

You actually buy an Eostara bonnet each year.

You ask your bank for a VISA Gold Card with Stonehenge depicted on its face.

You try to break a $100 bill in the donation pot at a public circle.

The ritual wine is more European than your tradition.

Your ritual robe has no cord because you’ve gone cellular.

Ritual is postponed due to a bad hairpiece day.

You worry that you don’t have a robe that goes well with bare feet.

Jet-lag is a common excuse for being late to coven.

Perrier is the only water you will tolerate in the West.

You initiate your lawyer, insurance agent, and cardiologist just to be on the safe side.

Ritual was canceled because the  CD player  is in the shop.

You never do a healing ritual for your car.

You have a cute little alligator sewn on the breast pocket of your ritual robe.

Perfect love and perfect trust in your coven oath are annotated with footnotes and conditions.

You have a notarized pre-handfasting agreement.

Your first degree initiation had valet parking.

Spilled wax really matters to you.

You have a Ginsu athame.

Cakes and wine for a dozen sets you back $139.

Your coven is known in the community as “The Rich Corinthians.”

You view drawing-down as being the Account Executive to the Gods.

You worry that it would be inappropriate to do Yule at your summer house.

Not everyone gets to use the “good” chalice.

Your ritual bath is a Jacuzzi.

You don’t do astral projection, frequent flyer miles are so much easier.

The gardener spends more time in your outdoor temple than you do.

Your familiar is leased.

You stop at the 7-11 to pick up a half cord of firewood for the bonfire.

You are offended by the “We are the old people…” chant ever since the facelift.

You shopped for a ritual staff and came back with two MBAs and an administrative assistant.

Five-fold kiss or not, the thought of lips on your Guccis turns you on.

You would invite the coven to your new house but, well, they’re just so messy.

You have not read The Spiral Dance and are waiting for it to be made into a movie.

You had a pocket added to your ritual robe for your cellular phone.

You would go to Pagan festivals if they would just hold them at a nice resort.

Invoking the spirit of fire is expressly forbidden by your townhouse covenants.

You wouldn’t use a script in ritual, that’s what the laptop computer on the altar is for.

If “In the cool of the evening, we used to gather…” makes you think of getting in a late 18 holes.

Your ritual tools are itemized on your homeowners insurance.

Your car payment is more than your priestess’ monthly take home pay.

You wear paste replicas of your ritual jewelry to rituals.

After casting the circle you feel compelled to click that alarm thing on your keychain.

You have a tattoo designed by Nybor and paid for the rights to the design.

You have both the  Jerry Garcia  and Tim Leary hand painted collector’s edition plates on your altar.

The square footage of your ritual circle is a status thing.

Great carpeting is next to godliness.

It just doesn’t seem right to call upon the spirits of water without a twist of lime.

Your covenstead has gone condo.

You seldom are asked to call North since everyone knows you just don’t do dirt.

You have to hurry the Yule ritual along, the plane for Aspen leaves in an hour.

Daily Feng Shui Tip for July 2nd – ‘I Forgot Day’

Let’s see — where was I? Oh, that’s right, trying to remember what to share with you on ‘I Forgot Day.’ The ancients say there’s no better way to boost your own memory than to employ the medicinal herb rosemary! This herb actually has a history that goes back thousands of years. Along with its abilities to aid memory, it was also considered a symbol of friendship and loyalty. Even 13th century Queen Elizabeth of Hungary drank rosemary water every day to help her regain both beauty and strength. This herb was burned in living spaces during the Plague of 1665 to protect against contagion and purify the air, and it was also burned in French hospitals during World War II to kill germs. Rosemary’s ability to stimulate the mind and increase the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain makes it a perfect addition to any soup or stew, meat dish or veggie medley. Steep two teaspoons of fresh rosemary in hot water for ten minutes and drink before meals for better digestion, liver support and to remember how cool, savvy and green you actually are!

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com