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Cutting out the carbonation

Published 8:06pm Saturday, February 15, 2014

I am throwing down a personal gauntlet. No more diet soda. And I mean it this time.

I have grown to depend on the extra boost in caffeine to get me through my day. And to be honest, the kid in me still sees it as a treat.

I don’t typically drink more than one in a day — and not even every day. But I feel dehydrated and just overall “blah” after I have had one. I have even quit my soda habit multiple times, most recently last year during Lent.

As children, my brother and I coveted soda. My mom didn’t like buying soda, and when she did, we could only have one a day. At the time, this just seemed like torture. As soon as I got older and had my own money, I would grab sodas wherever and whenever I could.

Children tend to gravitate toward sugary drinks — including soda — and it contributes to the obesity epidemic.

On Friday, Oakland Elementary held its third annual Fitness and Nutrition Across Virginia Day In addition to an exercise challenge, the day included a “responses to sugar” experiment with Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community.

The partnership program manager for Healthy People Healthy Suffolk, Jett Johnson, used sports drinks and sodas to show the children how what may seem an innocuous beverage can actually do them harm.

“They were pretty wowed by knowing how much sugar was in each drink,” Johnson said.

Reading about this great event in Saturday’s Suffolk News-Herald was one of the blaring signs that seem to keep telling me that now is the time to eliminate soda from my diet.

First I heard on the radio about a recent medical study that links dark sodas to some cancers. And then today I came across an article on CNN’s website that spelled out some of other dangers of the carbonated beverage. Here are some of the things they listed:

  • It confuses your body: Artificial sweeteners have more intense flavor than real sugar, so over time it dulls our senses to naturally sweet foods like fruit.
  • Could lead to weight gain: Researchers from the University of Texas found that over the course of a decade, diet soda drinkers had a 70 percent greater increase in waist circumference.
  • Increased risk of Type 2 diabetes: Drinking one soda a day was associated with a 36-percent increased risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes in a University of Minnesota study.
  • Its sweetener is linked to headaches: Early studies on aspartame suggest that the artificial sweetener may trigger headaches.
  • Harms dental health: Excessive soda drinking can lead to the erosion of tooth enamel.
  • It may be bad for your bones: Researchers at Tufts University found that drinking regular and diet soda compounds osteoporosis.
  • May hurt your heart: Just one diet soda a day could boost your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

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