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Worst Side Effects of Drinking Too Much Soda (Slideshow)

Worst Side Effects of Drinking Too Much Soda (Slideshow)


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Just because it’s diet, doesn’t mean it’s healthy

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Tooth Decay

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Unless you plan on brushing each time you finish your drink, soda will wreck havoc on your pearly whites. The sugar content rots your teeth while the acidity strips your enamel. The mouths of those who regularly drink soda have even been compared to the mouths of people who use methamphetamines.

Caffeine Caution

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"Caffeinated soda causes heart rate to increase and blood pressure to rise,” says Dr. Verma. Additionally, caffeine intake can cause insomnia, nervousness, breast tenderness, migraines, and even urinary problems. Caffeine may also interact with certain medications, causing nausea, vomiting, and increased heart palpitations.

Caramel Color

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The caramel coloring used in many sodas may contain a potentially carcinogenic chemical called 4-methylimidazole. Consumer Reports recently looked at 4-Mel levels in different sodas. Check out their graph to see how your drink of choice stacks up.

BVO

Think you’re safe because you’re avoiding the caramel-colored drinks? Think again. Brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, found in Mountain Dew, Fanta, and Gatorade can cause memory loss and damage to skin and nerves.

Diet Disaster

Just because it’s diet, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. According to Dr. Verma, “Diet soda may not have real sugar, but the sugar substitutes are much more damaging. Aspartame, for example, has been associated with everything from birth defects to breast lumps to malnutrition to brain tumors to diabetes to obesity.”

BPA

Bisphenol A, or BPA, has been used to make plastic since the 1960s, and is likely coating that can or bottle you’re sipping. The Mayo Clinic advises reducing your exposure to this chemical, especially when it has been exposed to heat for long periods of time as it can cause reproductive issues and other hormonal problems.

Phosphoric Acid

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The addition of phosphoric acid, which is used to increase shelf life and cut sweetness levels, is associated with problematic kidney function, bone loss, tooth decay, and even accelerated aging.

Weight Gain

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And, of course, there’s weight gain. Verma, “If you consume even one can of soda daily, a person can add an extra 15 pounds per year just from the calories.”

Energy Crash

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Not worried about your weight? “Just one can often has over 100 percent of your daily intake of sugar,” says Dr. Verma, and ingesting this much sugar can cause your body to crash. (Tempted to try life without sugar? Take the sugar challenge at the Mayo Clinic, and cut sugar out of your diet for two weeks.)

Environmental Concerns

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Okay, so you don’t care what soda does to your body, but what about the rest of the planet? In addition to the waste caused by cans and bottles, a study in Switzerland recently found that diet soda sweeteners are entering the water supply and likely negatively affecting animal behavior.


The Danger Sign You're Drinking Too Much Soda, According to Experts

Though soda addiction isn't formally recognized by science as a real disorder, drinking too much of it can indeed result in a dependency with severe consequences for your body. After all, like any substance considered addictive, soda contains ingredients—chiefly caffeine and sugar—that are habit-forming and can lead to serious cravings and over-consumption. "In regular sodas, the sugar causes dopamine releases in the brain, stimulating pleasure centers," writes Natalie Stephens, RD, a lead dietitian in Nutrition Services at the Ohio State University Medical Center. "For some, it's not the ingredients that cause the addiction, but the lifestyle habit that leads you to the fridge."

If you're finding that your habits are leading you to the fridge too often, know that the insidious side effects of consuming too many of these nutritionally vapid and sugary beverages include weight gain, higher diabetes risk, tooth decay, excess fat around your midsection, joint pain, kidney health issues, greater heart disease risk, higher cholesterol, poor gut health, hormone issues (chiefly regarding leptin, your hunger hormone), memory loss, dehydration, hair loss, bloating, and an increased risk of death—to name a few.

"The optimal intake of these drinks is zero," Vasanti S. Malik, ScD, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The New York Times. "They have no health benefits." (Related: don't miss this list of the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.)

Now, if you knock back the occasional Coke every now and then, you likely aren't a sugar addict. But if you're concerned whether or not your everyday soda consumption is a real problem, one of the biggest danger signs you're drinking too much is if you're finding yourself experiencing headaches when you're not drinking it. "Like many addictive substances, you can go through withdrawal when you stop drinking soda," writes Ohio State's Stephens. "If you're consuming caffeinated sodas, your greatest symptom may be headaches. Consistently taking in a stimulant then abruptly stopping will likely give you headaches and leave you feeling a bit grumpy."

If this sounds familiar, you should wean yourself off the soda as you would most addictive substances—gradually. "If you cannot stop drinking sweetened beverages cold turkey, try to taper off as best you can," says Irina Todorov, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "If you're drinking a 20-ounce bottle of soda a day, try a 12-ounce bottle instead. If you're drinking two sodas a day, try one."

Stephens agrees. "Consider making small goals to reduce your soda intake by one unit per day each week," she writes. "For example, if you drink four cans of soda in a day, try to limit it to three a day for one week, then two a day for a week, until you've weaned down. You can set a goal that for each ounce of soda you drink, you must also drink that much water. You may find that by drinking more water, you're more satisfied and don't need soda."

Todorov notes that if you're looking to change your habits, it's less effective to focus on what you can't drink than what you can. So consider changing your daily soda to one of these healthy alternatives we've compiled right here. And if you're availing yourself of a soda every now and then, make sure you're aware of The Single Worst Time of Day to Drink a Soda, According to Experts.


The Danger Sign You're Drinking Too Much Soda, According to Experts

Though soda addiction isn't formally recognized by science as a real disorder, drinking too much of it can indeed result in a dependency with severe consequences for your body. After all, like any substance considered addictive, soda contains ingredients—chiefly caffeine and sugar—that are habit-forming and can lead to serious cravings and over-consumption. "In regular sodas, the sugar causes dopamine releases in the brain, stimulating pleasure centers," writes Natalie Stephens, RD, a lead dietitian in Nutrition Services at the Ohio State University Medical Center. "For some, it's not the ingredients that cause the addiction, but the lifestyle habit that leads you to the fridge."

If you're finding that your habits are leading you to the fridge too often, know that the insidious side effects of consuming too many of these nutritionally vapid and sugary beverages include weight gain, higher diabetes risk, tooth decay, excess fat around your midsection, joint pain, kidney health issues, greater heart disease risk, higher cholesterol, poor gut health, hormone issues (chiefly regarding leptin, your hunger hormone), memory loss, dehydration, hair loss, bloating, and an increased risk of death—to name a few.

"The optimal intake of these drinks is zero," Vasanti S. Malik, ScD, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The New York Times. "They have no health benefits." (Related: don't miss this list of the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.)

Now, if you knock back the occasional Coke every now and then, you likely aren't a sugar addict. But if you're concerned whether or not your everyday soda consumption is a real problem, one of the biggest danger signs you're drinking too much is if you're finding yourself experiencing headaches when you're not drinking it. "Like many addictive substances, you can go through withdrawal when you stop drinking soda," writes Ohio State's Stephens. "If you're consuming caffeinated sodas, your greatest symptom may be headaches. Consistently taking in a stimulant then abruptly stopping will likely give you headaches and leave you feeling a bit grumpy."

If this sounds familiar, you should wean yourself off the soda as you would most addictive substances—gradually. "If you cannot stop drinking sweetened beverages cold turkey, try to taper off as best you can," says Irina Todorov, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "If you're drinking a 20-ounce bottle of soda a day, try a 12-ounce bottle instead. If you're drinking two sodas a day, try one."

Stephens agrees. "Consider making small goals to reduce your soda intake by one unit per day each week," she writes. "For example, if you drink four cans of soda in a day, try to limit it to three a day for one week, then two a day for a week, until you've weaned down. You can set a goal that for each ounce of soda you drink, you must also drink that much water. You may find that by drinking more water, you're more satisfied and don't need soda."

Todorov notes that if you're looking to change your habits, it's less effective to focus on what you can't drink than what you can. So consider changing your daily soda to one of these healthy alternatives we've compiled right here. And if you're availing yourself of a soda every now and then, make sure you're aware of The Single Worst Time of Day to Drink a Soda, According to Experts.


The Danger Sign You're Drinking Too Much Soda, According to Experts

Though soda addiction isn't formally recognized by science as a real disorder, drinking too much of it can indeed result in a dependency with severe consequences for your body. After all, like any substance considered addictive, soda contains ingredients—chiefly caffeine and sugar—that are habit-forming and can lead to serious cravings and over-consumption. "In regular sodas, the sugar causes dopamine releases in the brain, stimulating pleasure centers," writes Natalie Stephens, RD, a lead dietitian in Nutrition Services at the Ohio State University Medical Center. "For some, it's not the ingredients that cause the addiction, but the lifestyle habit that leads you to the fridge."

If you're finding that your habits are leading you to the fridge too often, know that the insidious side effects of consuming too many of these nutritionally vapid and sugary beverages include weight gain, higher diabetes risk, tooth decay, excess fat around your midsection, joint pain, kidney health issues, greater heart disease risk, higher cholesterol, poor gut health, hormone issues (chiefly regarding leptin, your hunger hormone), memory loss, dehydration, hair loss, bloating, and an increased risk of death—to name a few.

"The optimal intake of these drinks is zero," Vasanti S. Malik, ScD, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The New York Times. "They have no health benefits." (Related: don't miss this list of the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.)

Now, if you knock back the occasional Coke every now and then, you likely aren't a sugar addict. But if you're concerned whether or not your everyday soda consumption is a real problem, one of the biggest danger signs you're drinking too much is if you're finding yourself experiencing headaches when you're not drinking it. "Like many addictive substances, you can go through withdrawal when you stop drinking soda," writes Ohio State's Stephens. "If you're consuming caffeinated sodas, your greatest symptom may be headaches. Consistently taking in a stimulant then abruptly stopping will likely give you headaches and leave you feeling a bit grumpy."

If this sounds familiar, you should wean yourself off the soda as you would most addictive substances—gradually. "If you cannot stop drinking sweetened beverages cold turkey, try to taper off as best you can," says Irina Todorov, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "If you're drinking a 20-ounce bottle of soda a day, try a 12-ounce bottle instead. If you're drinking two sodas a day, try one."

Stephens agrees. "Consider making small goals to reduce your soda intake by one unit per day each week," she writes. "For example, if you drink four cans of soda in a day, try to limit it to three a day for one week, then two a day for a week, until you've weaned down. You can set a goal that for each ounce of soda you drink, you must also drink that much water. You may find that by drinking more water, you're more satisfied and don't need soda."

Todorov notes that if you're looking to change your habits, it's less effective to focus on what you can't drink than what you can. So consider changing your daily soda to one of these healthy alternatives we've compiled right here. And if you're availing yourself of a soda every now and then, make sure you're aware of The Single Worst Time of Day to Drink a Soda, According to Experts.


The Danger Sign You're Drinking Too Much Soda, According to Experts

Though soda addiction isn't formally recognized by science as a real disorder, drinking too much of it can indeed result in a dependency with severe consequences for your body. After all, like any substance considered addictive, soda contains ingredients—chiefly caffeine and sugar—that are habit-forming and can lead to serious cravings and over-consumption. "In regular sodas, the sugar causes dopamine releases in the brain, stimulating pleasure centers," writes Natalie Stephens, RD, a lead dietitian in Nutrition Services at the Ohio State University Medical Center. "For some, it's not the ingredients that cause the addiction, but the lifestyle habit that leads you to the fridge."

If you're finding that your habits are leading you to the fridge too often, know that the insidious side effects of consuming too many of these nutritionally vapid and sugary beverages include weight gain, higher diabetes risk, tooth decay, excess fat around your midsection, joint pain, kidney health issues, greater heart disease risk, higher cholesterol, poor gut health, hormone issues (chiefly regarding leptin, your hunger hormone), memory loss, dehydration, hair loss, bloating, and an increased risk of death—to name a few.

"The optimal intake of these drinks is zero," Vasanti S. Malik, ScD, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The New York Times. "They have no health benefits." (Related: don't miss this list of the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.)

Now, if you knock back the occasional Coke every now and then, you likely aren't a sugar addict. But if you're concerned whether or not your everyday soda consumption is a real problem, one of the biggest danger signs you're drinking too much is if you're finding yourself experiencing headaches when you're not drinking it. "Like many addictive substances, you can go through withdrawal when you stop drinking soda," writes Ohio State's Stephens. "If you're consuming caffeinated sodas, your greatest symptom may be headaches. Consistently taking in a stimulant then abruptly stopping will likely give you headaches and leave you feeling a bit grumpy."

If this sounds familiar, you should wean yourself off the soda as you would most addictive substances—gradually. "If you cannot stop drinking sweetened beverages cold turkey, try to taper off as best you can," says Irina Todorov, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "If you're drinking a 20-ounce bottle of soda a day, try a 12-ounce bottle instead. If you're drinking two sodas a day, try one."

Stephens agrees. "Consider making small goals to reduce your soda intake by one unit per day each week," she writes. "For example, if you drink four cans of soda in a day, try to limit it to three a day for one week, then two a day for a week, until you've weaned down. You can set a goal that for each ounce of soda you drink, you must also drink that much water. You may find that by drinking more water, you're more satisfied and don't need soda."

Todorov notes that if you're looking to change your habits, it's less effective to focus on what you can't drink than what you can. So consider changing your daily soda to one of these healthy alternatives we've compiled right here. And if you're availing yourself of a soda every now and then, make sure you're aware of The Single Worst Time of Day to Drink a Soda, According to Experts.


The Danger Sign You're Drinking Too Much Soda, According to Experts

Though soda addiction isn't formally recognized by science as a real disorder, drinking too much of it can indeed result in a dependency with severe consequences for your body. After all, like any substance considered addictive, soda contains ingredients—chiefly caffeine and sugar—that are habit-forming and can lead to serious cravings and over-consumption. "In regular sodas, the sugar causes dopamine releases in the brain, stimulating pleasure centers," writes Natalie Stephens, RD, a lead dietitian in Nutrition Services at the Ohio State University Medical Center. "For some, it's not the ingredients that cause the addiction, but the lifestyle habit that leads you to the fridge."

If you're finding that your habits are leading you to the fridge too often, know that the insidious side effects of consuming too many of these nutritionally vapid and sugary beverages include weight gain, higher diabetes risk, tooth decay, excess fat around your midsection, joint pain, kidney health issues, greater heart disease risk, higher cholesterol, poor gut health, hormone issues (chiefly regarding leptin, your hunger hormone), memory loss, dehydration, hair loss, bloating, and an increased risk of death—to name a few.

"The optimal intake of these drinks is zero," Vasanti S. Malik, ScD, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The New York Times. "They have no health benefits." (Related: don't miss this list of the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.)

Now, if you knock back the occasional Coke every now and then, you likely aren't a sugar addict. But if you're concerned whether or not your everyday soda consumption is a real problem, one of the biggest danger signs you're drinking too much is if you're finding yourself experiencing headaches when you're not drinking it. "Like many addictive substances, you can go through withdrawal when you stop drinking soda," writes Ohio State's Stephens. "If you're consuming caffeinated sodas, your greatest symptom may be headaches. Consistently taking in a stimulant then abruptly stopping will likely give you headaches and leave you feeling a bit grumpy."

If this sounds familiar, you should wean yourself off the soda as you would most addictive substances—gradually. "If you cannot stop drinking sweetened beverages cold turkey, try to taper off as best you can," says Irina Todorov, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "If you're drinking a 20-ounce bottle of soda a day, try a 12-ounce bottle instead. If you're drinking two sodas a day, try one."

Stephens agrees. "Consider making small goals to reduce your soda intake by one unit per day each week," she writes. "For example, if you drink four cans of soda in a day, try to limit it to three a day for one week, then two a day for a week, until you've weaned down. You can set a goal that for each ounce of soda you drink, you must also drink that much water. You may find that by drinking more water, you're more satisfied and don't need soda."

Todorov notes that if you're looking to change your habits, it's less effective to focus on what you can't drink than what you can. So consider changing your daily soda to one of these healthy alternatives we've compiled right here. And if you're availing yourself of a soda every now and then, make sure you're aware of The Single Worst Time of Day to Drink a Soda, According to Experts.


The Danger Sign You're Drinking Too Much Soda, According to Experts

Though soda addiction isn't formally recognized by science as a real disorder, drinking too much of it can indeed result in a dependency with severe consequences for your body. After all, like any substance considered addictive, soda contains ingredients—chiefly caffeine and sugar—that are habit-forming and can lead to serious cravings and over-consumption. "In regular sodas, the sugar causes dopamine releases in the brain, stimulating pleasure centers," writes Natalie Stephens, RD, a lead dietitian in Nutrition Services at the Ohio State University Medical Center. "For some, it's not the ingredients that cause the addiction, but the lifestyle habit that leads you to the fridge."

If you're finding that your habits are leading you to the fridge too often, know that the insidious side effects of consuming too many of these nutritionally vapid and sugary beverages include weight gain, higher diabetes risk, tooth decay, excess fat around your midsection, joint pain, kidney health issues, greater heart disease risk, higher cholesterol, poor gut health, hormone issues (chiefly regarding leptin, your hunger hormone), memory loss, dehydration, hair loss, bloating, and an increased risk of death—to name a few.

"The optimal intake of these drinks is zero," Vasanti S. Malik, ScD, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The New York Times. "They have no health benefits." (Related: don't miss this list of the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.)

Now, if you knock back the occasional Coke every now and then, you likely aren't a sugar addict. But if you're concerned whether or not your everyday soda consumption is a real problem, one of the biggest danger signs you're drinking too much is if you're finding yourself experiencing headaches when you're not drinking it. "Like many addictive substances, you can go through withdrawal when you stop drinking soda," writes Ohio State's Stephens. "If you're consuming caffeinated sodas, your greatest symptom may be headaches. Consistently taking in a stimulant then abruptly stopping will likely give you headaches and leave you feeling a bit grumpy."

If this sounds familiar, you should wean yourself off the soda as you would most addictive substances—gradually. "If you cannot stop drinking sweetened beverages cold turkey, try to taper off as best you can," says Irina Todorov, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "If you're drinking a 20-ounce bottle of soda a day, try a 12-ounce bottle instead. If you're drinking two sodas a day, try one."

Stephens agrees. "Consider making small goals to reduce your soda intake by one unit per day each week," she writes. "For example, if you drink four cans of soda in a day, try to limit it to three a day for one week, then two a day for a week, until you've weaned down. You can set a goal that for each ounce of soda you drink, you must also drink that much water. You may find that by drinking more water, you're more satisfied and don't need soda."

Todorov notes that if you're looking to change your habits, it's less effective to focus on what you can't drink than what you can. So consider changing your daily soda to one of these healthy alternatives we've compiled right here. And if you're availing yourself of a soda every now and then, make sure you're aware of The Single Worst Time of Day to Drink a Soda, According to Experts.


The Danger Sign You're Drinking Too Much Soda, According to Experts

Though soda addiction isn't formally recognized by science as a real disorder, drinking too much of it can indeed result in a dependency with severe consequences for your body. After all, like any substance considered addictive, soda contains ingredients—chiefly caffeine and sugar—that are habit-forming and can lead to serious cravings and over-consumption. "In regular sodas, the sugar causes dopamine releases in the brain, stimulating pleasure centers," writes Natalie Stephens, RD, a lead dietitian in Nutrition Services at the Ohio State University Medical Center. "For some, it's not the ingredients that cause the addiction, but the lifestyle habit that leads you to the fridge."

If you're finding that your habits are leading you to the fridge too often, know that the insidious side effects of consuming too many of these nutritionally vapid and sugary beverages include weight gain, higher diabetes risk, tooth decay, excess fat around your midsection, joint pain, kidney health issues, greater heart disease risk, higher cholesterol, poor gut health, hormone issues (chiefly regarding leptin, your hunger hormone), memory loss, dehydration, hair loss, bloating, and an increased risk of death—to name a few.

"The optimal intake of these drinks is zero," Vasanti S. Malik, ScD, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The New York Times. "They have no health benefits." (Related: don't miss this list of the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.)

Now, if you knock back the occasional Coke every now and then, you likely aren't a sugar addict. But if you're concerned whether or not your everyday soda consumption is a real problem, one of the biggest danger signs you're drinking too much is if you're finding yourself experiencing headaches when you're not drinking it. "Like many addictive substances, you can go through withdrawal when you stop drinking soda," writes Ohio State's Stephens. "If you're consuming caffeinated sodas, your greatest symptom may be headaches. Consistently taking in a stimulant then abruptly stopping will likely give you headaches and leave you feeling a bit grumpy."

If this sounds familiar, you should wean yourself off the soda as you would most addictive substances—gradually. "If you cannot stop drinking sweetened beverages cold turkey, try to taper off as best you can," says Irina Todorov, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "If you're drinking a 20-ounce bottle of soda a day, try a 12-ounce bottle instead. If you're drinking two sodas a day, try one."

Stephens agrees. "Consider making small goals to reduce your soda intake by one unit per day each week," she writes. "For example, if you drink four cans of soda in a day, try to limit it to three a day for one week, then two a day for a week, until you've weaned down. You can set a goal that for each ounce of soda you drink, you must also drink that much water. You may find that by drinking more water, you're more satisfied and don't need soda."

Todorov notes that if you're looking to change your habits, it's less effective to focus on what you can't drink than what you can. So consider changing your daily soda to one of these healthy alternatives we've compiled right here. And if you're availing yourself of a soda every now and then, make sure you're aware of The Single Worst Time of Day to Drink a Soda, According to Experts.


The Danger Sign You're Drinking Too Much Soda, According to Experts

Though soda addiction isn't formally recognized by science as a real disorder, drinking too much of it can indeed result in a dependency with severe consequences for your body. After all, like any substance considered addictive, soda contains ingredients—chiefly caffeine and sugar—that are habit-forming and can lead to serious cravings and over-consumption. "In regular sodas, the sugar causes dopamine releases in the brain, stimulating pleasure centers," writes Natalie Stephens, RD, a lead dietitian in Nutrition Services at the Ohio State University Medical Center. "For some, it's not the ingredients that cause the addiction, but the lifestyle habit that leads you to the fridge."

If you're finding that your habits are leading you to the fridge too often, know that the insidious side effects of consuming too many of these nutritionally vapid and sugary beverages include weight gain, higher diabetes risk, tooth decay, excess fat around your midsection, joint pain, kidney health issues, greater heart disease risk, higher cholesterol, poor gut health, hormone issues (chiefly regarding leptin, your hunger hormone), memory loss, dehydration, hair loss, bloating, and an increased risk of death—to name a few.

"The optimal intake of these drinks is zero," Vasanti S. Malik, ScD, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The New York Times. "They have no health benefits." (Related: don't miss this list of the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.)

Now, if you knock back the occasional Coke every now and then, you likely aren't a sugar addict. But if you're concerned whether or not your everyday soda consumption is a real problem, one of the biggest danger signs you're drinking too much is if you're finding yourself experiencing headaches when you're not drinking it. "Like many addictive substances, you can go through withdrawal when you stop drinking soda," writes Ohio State's Stephens. "If you're consuming caffeinated sodas, your greatest symptom may be headaches. Consistently taking in a stimulant then abruptly stopping will likely give you headaches and leave you feeling a bit grumpy."

If this sounds familiar, you should wean yourself off the soda as you would most addictive substances—gradually. "If you cannot stop drinking sweetened beverages cold turkey, try to taper off as best you can," says Irina Todorov, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "If you're drinking a 20-ounce bottle of soda a day, try a 12-ounce bottle instead. If you're drinking two sodas a day, try one."

Stephens agrees. "Consider making small goals to reduce your soda intake by one unit per day each week," she writes. "For example, if you drink four cans of soda in a day, try to limit it to three a day for one week, then two a day for a week, until you've weaned down. You can set a goal that for each ounce of soda you drink, you must also drink that much water. You may find that by drinking more water, you're more satisfied and don't need soda."

Todorov notes that if you're looking to change your habits, it's less effective to focus on what you can't drink than what you can. So consider changing your daily soda to one of these healthy alternatives we've compiled right here. And if you're availing yourself of a soda every now and then, make sure you're aware of The Single Worst Time of Day to Drink a Soda, According to Experts.


The Danger Sign You're Drinking Too Much Soda, According to Experts

Though soda addiction isn't formally recognized by science as a real disorder, drinking too much of it can indeed result in a dependency with severe consequences for your body. After all, like any substance considered addictive, soda contains ingredients—chiefly caffeine and sugar—that are habit-forming and can lead to serious cravings and over-consumption. "In regular sodas, the sugar causes dopamine releases in the brain, stimulating pleasure centers," writes Natalie Stephens, RD, a lead dietitian in Nutrition Services at the Ohio State University Medical Center. "For some, it's not the ingredients that cause the addiction, but the lifestyle habit that leads you to the fridge."

If you're finding that your habits are leading you to the fridge too often, know that the insidious side effects of consuming too many of these nutritionally vapid and sugary beverages include weight gain, higher diabetes risk, tooth decay, excess fat around your midsection, joint pain, kidney health issues, greater heart disease risk, higher cholesterol, poor gut health, hormone issues (chiefly regarding leptin, your hunger hormone), memory loss, dehydration, hair loss, bloating, and an increased risk of death—to name a few.

"The optimal intake of these drinks is zero," Vasanti S. Malik, ScD, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The New York Times. "They have no health benefits." (Related: don't miss this list of the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.)

Now, if you knock back the occasional Coke every now and then, you likely aren't a sugar addict. But if you're concerned whether or not your everyday soda consumption is a real problem, one of the biggest danger signs you're drinking too much is if you're finding yourself experiencing headaches when you're not drinking it. "Like many addictive substances, you can go through withdrawal when you stop drinking soda," writes Ohio State's Stephens. "If you're consuming caffeinated sodas, your greatest symptom may be headaches. Consistently taking in a stimulant then abruptly stopping will likely give you headaches and leave you feeling a bit grumpy."

If this sounds familiar, you should wean yourself off the soda as you would most addictive substances—gradually. "If you cannot stop drinking sweetened beverages cold turkey, try to taper off as best you can," says Irina Todorov, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "If you're drinking a 20-ounce bottle of soda a day, try a 12-ounce bottle instead. If you're drinking two sodas a day, try one."

Stephens agrees. "Consider making small goals to reduce your soda intake by one unit per day each week," she writes. "For example, if you drink four cans of soda in a day, try to limit it to three a day for one week, then two a day for a week, until you've weaned down. You can set a goal that for each ounce of soda you drink, you must also drink that much water. You may find that by drinking more water, you're more satisfied and don't need soda."

Todorov notes that if you're looking to change your habits, it's less effective to focus on what you can't drink than what you can. So consider changing your daily soda to one of these healthy alternatives we've compiled right here. And if you're availing yourself of a soda every now and then, make sure you're aware of The Single Worst Time of Day to Drink a Soda, According to Experts.


The Danger Sign You're Drinking Too Much Soda, According to Experts

Though soda addiction isn't formally recognized by science as a real disorder, drinking too much of it can indeed result in a dependency with severe consequences for your body. After all, like any substance considered addictive, soda contains ingredients—chiefly caffeine and sugar—that are habit-forming and can lead to serious cravings and over-consumption. "In regular sodas, the sugar causes dopamine releases in the brain, stimulating pleasure centers," writes Natalie Stephens, RD, a lead dietitian in Nutrition Services at the Ohio State University Medical Center. "For some, it's not the ingredients that cause the addiction, but the lifestyle habit that leads you to the fridge."

If you're finding that your habits are leading you to the fridge too often, know that the insidious side effects of consuming too many of these nutritionally vapid and sugary beverages include weight gain, higher diabetes risk, tooth decay, excess fat around your midsection, joint pain, kidney health issues, greater heart disease risk, higher cholesterol, poor gut health, hormone issues (chiefly regarding leptin, your hunger hormone), memory loss, dehydration, hair loss, bloating, and an increased risk of death—to name a few.

"The optimal intake of these drinks is zero," Vasanti S. Malik, ScD, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The New York Times. "They have no health benefits." (Related: don't miss this list of the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.)

Now, if you knock back the occasional Coke every now and then, you likely aren't a sugar addict. But if you're concerned whether or not your everyday soda consumption is a real problem, one of the biggest danger signs you're drinking too much is if you're finding yourself experiencing headaches when you're not drinking it. "Like many addictive substances, you can go through withdrawal when you stop drinking soda," writes Ohio State's Stephens. "If you're consuming caffeinated sodas, your greatest symptom may be headaches. Consistently taking in a stimulant then abruptly stopping will likely give you headaches and leave you feeling a bit grumpy."

If this sounds familiar, you should wean yourself off the soda as you would most addictive substances—gradually. "If you cannot stop drinking sweetened beverages cold turkey, try to taper off as best you can," says Irina Todorov, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "If you're drinking a 20-ounce bottle of soda a day, try a 12-ounce bottle instead. If you're drinking two sodas a day, try one."

Stephens agrees. "Consider making small goals to reduce your soda intake by one unit per day each week," she writes. "For example, if you drink four cans of soda in a day, try to limit it to three a day for one week, then two a day for a week, until you've weaned down. You can set a goal that for each ounce of soda you drink, you must also drink that much water. You may find that by drinking more water, you're more satisfied and don't need soda."

Todorov notes that if you're looking to change your habits, it's less effective to focus on what you can't drink than what you can. So consider changing your daily soda to one of these healthy alternatives we've compiled right here. And if you're availing yourself of a soda every now and then, make sure you're aware of The Single Worst Time of Day to Drink a Soda, According to Experts.


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Comments:

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