Before you read anything else in this article, I have a little assignment for you. Go to your kitchen and measure out 9.75 teaspoons of sugar and zip it up in a plastic bag. You’ll need this for later. Do it now, I’ll wait…
Back? Good. Moving on.
We all know that drinking soda is bad for our bodies, but do we really know why?
Our brains crave sweetness. And the chemicals in our brains haven’t quite caught up with the chemicals in our sodas yet. Recent studies have shown that sugar triggers the same areas in the brain that cocaine stimulates. Every time you give in to your cravings, your brain not only craves more sugar but in larger amounts. Pretty soon you want more than one, two or three sodas in a single day. If you start cutting back on the sodas and eliminate them altogether, your brain stops craving all that sugar and it’s easier to stay away from soda for good. Trust me, cutting soda is worth withdrawal.
Wondering why you filled up that bag? Well the amount of sugar in your plastic bag right now is the amount of sugar in ONE single 12-ounce can of Coke. Almost 10 teaspoons of sugar in one small can! Other sodas may have a little more or a little less, but Coke is generally the standard when it comes to the amount of sugar in soda. You would never sit down and eat almost 10 teaspoons of sugar, so why would you drink it? To figure out the amount of sugar in other drinks (and any foods) you can take the number of grams of sugar and divide it by four. (There are 39 grams of sugar in one can, divided by four, equals 9.75 teaspoons.)
Another recent study demonstrated that liquid calories do not register as calories in the stomach. This finding means that while you are drinking your soda, your stomach isn’t telling your brain that you are putting something in it. If your stomach doesn’t communicate that it’s getting full, you are going to end up filling it with way more calories than you need in a day. This is why you can have refill after refill after refill of soda while eating dinner. Your appetite continues long after your hunger has been satisfied.
There are 140 calories in our Coke-can example. If you drink only ONE can a day, that’s 51,100 extra calories a year that you don’t need. We all know that extra calories equal weight-gain. However, if you stop drinking that single can of Coke and do nothing else to change your diet or exercise habits, you’ll still shed some pounds this year!