The Soda You’re Drinking is Wrecking Your Body

The Soda You’re Drinking is Wrecking Your Body

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  1. When I worked nightshift in the hospital as a respiratory therapist, I used to carry a 32 oz. plastic thermal mug with me to every nursing unit. For the first few hours of the shift, it held coffee (with plenty of sugar and cream) and I’d refill it at least once; for the rest of the night it held Pepsi. The nurses who didn’t know what I was drinking all marveled at how quickly I managed to get all my therapy and charting done, then tried to keep up with my flow-of-consciousness soliloquies as I talked nonstop faster than any court stenographer could possibly type. While my fellow workers weren’t remotely slow or lazy, no one could keep pace with me when I walked the hallways and no matter where I worked, the first thing I always memorized was the location of every single restroom.

    When I had a hypertension crisis, it came as a surprise to me, and even after strong recommendations from the doctor that got my blood pressure under control (thereby saving my life), I continued with my excessive intake of caffeine on a nightly basis. I heard all of the same warnings that everyone hears: too much caffeine will raise your blood pressure and weaken your heart; too much sugar (and every non-diet soda contains over eight teaspoons of sugar; you do the math) can lead to diabetes and/or obesity. Do you know what finally got me off the soda? It was when my dentist told me that I might lose all of my teeth if I didn’t change my habits soon.

    Who cares if the stuff is going to give you a debilitating disease that will eventually destroy your pancreas and shorten your lifespan by decades? Why worry about obesity when you work in a profession that keeps you running ten hours a night? The thing that really worried me was the thought of all of my coffee and nicotine stained teeth dropping out of my mouth like autumn leaves shed by a maple tree. Since then (and that was about fifteen years ago), I can count the sodas I’ve had on both hands.

    Those working in manual labor jobs or any career that is physically active don’t really have to worry much about blimping out (I never did, not until I hurt my back, wound up on disability, found even walking painful and promptly gained over 50 pounds). Diabetes seems like an abstract concept to those who have never been exposed to sufferers of the disease. Chronically high blood pressure usually only afflicts those who carry around a second, third or fourth tire and is usually treatable with medication. But who wants to wear dentures at the age of forty?

    We all grew up around dentists who told us that the sugar in sodas will eventually rot our teeth, and hardly any of us believed them. Why should we? We were always being told ridiculous, outrageous things by adults (like if you cross your eyes they’ll stay that way, or if you aren’t careful your Halloween candy will be spiked with razor blades or LSD, or if you cross the street without an adult present you’ll tear a hole in the space-time continuum and wind up in a parallel universe—which actually happened to me once, so be sure to have a grown up with you while crossing streets; I always do).

    Having an education in chemistry helped me to heed at least one dentist’s warning concerning sodas. He did not stress the dangers of excessive sugar in the mouth, but instead pointed out that carbon dioxide (CO2) is an acid, and acids will eat through almost anything, including bone and tooth enamel. And what do you suppose makes sodas fizz? That’s right: CO2.

    So while you are ignoring medical advice that warns of the dire consequences of drinking sodas (diabetes, obesity and the like, which only apply to sodas with sugar and not diet sodas), remember that all sodas—including that one you’re holding that says “One Calorie” and caffeine-free carbonated beverages—contain plenty of CO2, and CO2 is an acid, and acid eats teeth, which I find rather ironic.

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