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When Pushing to the Point of Failure is Just Too Much…
it’s all in your head
For those of you who feel that pushing yourself to the point of muscle failure is just too much sometimes, there’s another study out that explains that too. In this study, researchers found that the old adage, “it’s all in your head” is true in that, typically, it’s your mind that limits you from pushing to failure, not your body. It’s taken more than a century for scientists to figure this out, and to explain how your brain works in conjunction with your body to ensure that you stop exercising before physical harm develops—a key to overall improvement in your exercise routine.
The study, which is aptly titled: “Fatigue is a Brain-Derived Emotion that Regulates the Exercise Behavior to Ensure the Protection of Whole Body Homeostasis,” explains that the fatigue you may experience when exercising vigorously is a mental or emotional regulator mechanism designed to protect your body from excessive harm. It may sound strange, but the explanation they offer is actually quite sensible. The authors write:
“An influential book written by A. Mosso in the late nineteenth century proposed that fatigue that “at first sight might appear an imperfection of our body, is on the contrary one of its most marvelous perfections. The fatigue increasing more rapidly than the amount of work done saves us from the injury which lesser sensibility would involve for the organism” so that “muscular fatigue also is at bottom an exhaustion of the nervous system.”
It has taken more than a century to confirm Mosso’s idea that both the brain and the muscles alter their function during exercise and that fatigue is predominantly an emotion, part of a complex regulation, the goal of which is to protect the body from harm…the CNS [central nervous system] regulates exercise specifically to insure that each exercise bout terminates whilst homeostasis is retained in all bodily systems.”
Furthermore, the idea that your athletic performance is based purely on your body’s physiological and metabolic responses appears to be false, according to this research, because “subconscious and conscious mental decisions made by winners and losers, in both training and competition, are the ultimate determinants of both fatigue and athletic performance.”
…as the article suggests, our perceived physical limitations are often “all in your head”. So the question is, is it necessary to push past the point of mental toughness?…that depends.
What is your exercise goal?…to lose some weight so that you look better in those jeans? Simply to improve overall health? Improve your fitness so you can run a marathon?
It may not be apparent, but exercising for maximal health or training for maximal fitness are two distinctly different objectives…let me explain. While of course training for a marathon or any other specific activity that requires a high level of ‘fitness’ is much better for your health than being a cigarette smoking couch potato, it is often NOT best for maximal health…training at intensity levels required for a high level of fitness is often very hard on your musculoskeletal, adrenal and cardiovascular systems.
So for you exercise zealots, if you’re like me and simply enjoy training for certain levels of ‘fitness’, as long as you are not pushing through physical pain, injuries or chronic fatigue, go for it…I understand what it can do for your mind and that goes a long way. However, if you are pounding away the miles and pushing through that knee and hip pain, or making sure you get to the gym come hell or high water, all in the name of improved ‘health’, you may want to reconsider your approach.
Most of us would answer a resounding, “YES”! However I would beg to differ…
On first impressions, a walk through your local grocery store seems to back up this claim …cheap, processed foods in every aisle and only small sections of fresh foods that are comparatively expensive.
However, while our food system is great at delivering sheer calories to the masses, it falls well short when it comes to supplying the specific nutrients everyone needs. In fact, research shows that it doesn’t even produce enough fruits and vegetables to supply every American with the recommended minimum daily number of servings of these essentials. Put another way, there aren’t enough whole foods to go around.
According to a study published in the journal Health Affairs, for the average American to change their eating habits to meet the governments recommendation for potassium alone would cost an extra $380. Getting enough Vitamin A and D costs another $255. Conversely, for every 1% increase in calories consumed from saturated fat, food costs drop $0.28 per meal. And for every 1% increase in calories gotten from sugar, you’ll save $0.07 per meal. No wonder so many people are eating junk, getting fat, and falling ill. All of this information seems to support the argument that eating healthy is too expensive for the short term budget…or not?
There are ways to eat healthy without resorting to a life of crime!
• Cook at home! The average American eats out 4-5 times per week. Even making the best choices at most restaurants is not nearly as healthy as a well planned meal at home, and will be much cheaper.
• Get a freezer…being able stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables while they are in season is a lot cheaper. The savings will pay for the freezer in no time.
• Shop in season…don’t eat apples in the summer or strawberries in the winter
• Focus on “super foods”…here are a few:
o Tumeric and other herbs and spices
o Wild salmon
o Raw nuts
o Pastured, organic eggs
• Grow your own…it’s as cheap and as healthy as it gets!
• Plan your menu, make a grocery list and don’t shop when you are hungry!
• Make soup from leftovers…you can do this with virtually anything!
Also, keep in mind the long term costs of eating unhealthy…health care costs the typical household $12,000-$15,000 per year! This is an estimate of the median cost of health care for households in this country, including all insurance premiums, employer contributions, co-payments, Medicare and Medicaid taxes and everything else. 80% of all health care is reactive…meaning it can be avoided by making better choices.
So, is eating healthy really that expensive???
A Disorder or Just a Symptom?
Exercise is a generally a healthy behavior that promotes wellness. However, some individuals become addicted to physical activity and engage in compulsive, excessive exercise that is extreme in frequency and both psychologically and psychosocially impairing. Exercise becomes the most important priority in the excessive exerciser’s life. All other obligations and responsibilities such as families, careers, and social engagements suffer. This addiction is referred to by a variety of names such as exercise dependence, exercise addiction, obligatory exercise, compulsive athleticism, compulsive exercising, and exercise abuse.
People who are addicted to exercise may have various motivations for their behavior, including a desire to control their body weight or shape, a feeling of inexplicable dread is exercise is not performed, or to achieve an exercise-induced “high.”
Exercise addicts may have a very rigid fitness schedule to which they always adhere. They may compulsively exercise alone to avoid attracting the attention of others, including trainers and gym staff. Addicts will exercise even though they are sick or injured, in the end causing more physical problems for themselves. They may miss work, school, or other social obligations to exercise.
“I do still get the same feelings of distress if I can’t go because exercise is such a major part of my life… I get very very depressed — depression to the point where I can weep and berate myself for not going.”
Seven Warning Signs of Exercise Addiction
1. Always working out alone, isolated from others.
2. Always following the same rigid exercise pattern.
3. Exercising for more than two hours daily, repeatedly.
4. Fixation on weight loss or calories burned.
5. Exercising when sick or injured.
6. Exercising to the point of pain and beyond.
7. Skipping work, class, or social plans for workouts.
What is known is that there are many individuals who suffer from an addiction to exercise. Often they will continue to workout even through the pain of an injury or against the advice of their physician. The psychological torment of not exercising is greater than the negative consequences that affect their physical and social well-being. Often when exercise is withheld, these individuals will experience irritability and depression. These symptoms are relieved by exercising, and thus the cycle is continued. Regardless of the reason behind the excessive exercise, whether or not it is caused by an eating disorder, the effects are harmful to the individuals on psychological, physiological, and psychosocial levels.
While there is an important debate about exercise dependence and eating disorders, it is also important to realize that this is a real addiction that affects real people and real families. Regardless of the cause, more research needs to be done on effectively treating this behavior. Ultimately, the goal is help these individuals overcome this harmful dependence.
Despite the fact that the average American lives into his or her late 70s, the United States ranks only 50th on the CIA’s life expectancy list. This is largely due to advancements in medical technology…this sounds good on the surface and in some ways, it is. However, these advancements haved evolved largely to deal with our nations growing disease epidemic…take more drugs to make us feel better…take even more drugs to compensate for the side effects of the other drugs, etc., etc..
What is attributed to the prolonged life expectancy of the top 10 countries?…physical activity and nutrition!
WHAT ARE CARBOHYDRATES?
Everyone knows that food comes in three forms: fat, protein, and carbohydrate. Most foods have all three, in varying proportions.
Carbohydrates are made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The main carbs are sugar, starches, and cellulose.
Sugars are sweet carbohydrates, either single or double molecules: monosaccharides or disaccharides.
Starches are the main form of carbohydrate storage in plants. Starches are polysaccharides, which means strings of more than two carbohydrate molecules. Starches break down to sugars – that’s why if you keep a cracker in your mouth for a minute, it begins to taste sweet.
Cellulose is made of long, fibrous strings of carbohydrate, mainly for structural support of a plant. It is cellulose that provides us with fiber in the diet.
Fruits contain mainly sugars, while vegetables contain mainly starches. And both contain cellulose.
COMPLEX VS. SIMPLE
An apple contains natural sugar: fructose. A potato contains natural starch. But these are whole foods containing much more than just isolated carbohydrates. Apples and potatoes grown in good soil also contain vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Such foods are complex carbohydrates, meaning that they are complete foods.
The problem comes in with processed sugar and processed starch. White table sugar has no nutrients. White bread is a processed, artificial starch. These are not foods – they do not nourish. We call them simple carbohydrates. Even when they are broken down to individual glucose molecules by digestion, it is completely different from the glucose end-product of a digested apple, for example. That’s because apples don’t simply break down into isolated glucose molecules. Other nutrients and co-factors are present, which are necessary for the body to make use of the glucose: enzymes, minerals, vitamins.
White sugar and white bread require enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and insulin from the body in order to act. And the action is one of irritation, removal, and defense instead of nutrition.
All enzymes and nutrients have been purposely removed from white sugar and white flour by processing. The result is a synthetic manmade carbohydrate, occurring nowhere in nature. The body regards such as a foreign substance, as a drug.
Most books, most doctors, and most nutritionists fail to make this simple distinction between simple and complex carbohydrates. They talk about apples and Coca-Cola both as carbohydrates, because they say that both ultimately break down to glucose, and that’s the form the body needs. It’s the standard medical approach. Same mentality that thinks vitamin C is ascorbic acid (see Chapter). The same mentality that thinks that milk is a good source of protein, or of calcium. Loads of information, very little understanding. These are the type of nutritionists who confuse organic gardening with organic chemistry, and talk about when you buy organic produce in the supermarket, that’s the kind that is carbon-based. Or the type of “nutrition” mentality that has bypass patients eating mashed potatoes and gravy and canned sugar drinks the day after surgery so they’ll “get their strength back.”
Most nutritionists are trained to think that diabetes is genetic and therefore may have to be controlled with drugs. Like any other area that concerns health, most of what is published about diet and nutrition is unfounded speculation. Worse if they have credentials.
With sugar, ingestion is far different from digestion: just because you ate it doesn’t mean you can use it. This is why counting calories and food combining and blood typing and the Zone and other passing fads are so irrelevant: it doesn’t matter what you eat; it matters what you digest.
Omega-3 fatty acids…you’ve probably heard a lot about their value to your health, but do you really understand the ways in which they are beneficial to your health and which foods to get them from?
If not, this article will help you make sense of omega-3 fatty acids and help you make food choices that will ensure that your cells are nourished with them on a regular basis.
First, here are the key health benefits of including omega-3 fatty acids in your diet:
1. Omega-3 fatty acids can help keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. In doing so, they can reverse and prevent high blood pressure, as well as reduce your risk of suffering a stroke.
2. Omega-3 fatty acids can decrease pain and inflammation throughout your body.
3. Omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent breast and colon cancer.
4. Omega-3 fatty acids can help reverse and prevent depression and other mental/emotional health challenges.
Omega-3 fatty acids are called essential fatty acids because your body cannot manufacture them from other nutrients; you must obtain them from your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids come in three varieties:
1. ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid) – found primarily in dark green leafy vegetables, flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, and a variety of vegetable oils. Dark green vegetables, freshly ground flax seeds, and raw walnuts are the healthiest sources of ALA.
2. EPA (EicosoPentaenoic Acid) – found primarily in cold water fish like salmon, cod, mackerel, and tuna, as well as in fresh seaweed. Also found in smaller amounts in organically raised animal products like free-range eggs, chickens, and grass-fed beef.
3. DHA (DocosaHexaenoic Acid) – found in the same foods that EPA is found in.
Your body is able to convert ALA into EPA and DHA. So theoretically, if you are in excellent health and eat lots of dark green leafy vegetables, ground flax seeds, and walnuts, your body should be able to produce enough EPA and DHA from ALA to provide all of the health benefits listed above.
People who support the use of fish oil as a direct source of EPA and DHA will sometimes cite studies that claim that some groups of people are not able to convert ALA to DHA, at least not very efficiently.
People who support exclusive use of plant foods tend to point to studies that suggest that humans don’t have a problem converting ALA found in plant foods to EPA and DHA, thereby suggesting that it is not essential to eat animal foods that contain EPA and DHA.
Ultimately, the only way to know with absolute certainty that you are getting enough ALA, EPA, and DHA from your diet is to analyze your fatty acid profile with a specialized blood test.
Rather than spend money and time getting an expensive fatty acid profile test, rely on a well balanced diet that includes lots of dark green leafy vegetables, some walnuts, and a small amount of clean animal foods like wild salmon, organic eggs, and krill oil to ensure that you are getting enough ALA, EPA, and DHA to support the best health.
Do you need to use a high quality fish/krill oil on a regular basis to get enough EPA and DHA to support your best health? Not necessarily. If you regularly eat foods that are listed beside each of the omega-3 fatty acids listed above, chances are that you will get enough omega-3 fatty acids to support your best health.
What if you want to be strict vegan? Then eat lots of dark green leafy vegetables, some walnuts, some freshly ground flax seeds, and take a DHA supplement made from a plant source.
It is best for most people to obtain their omega-3 fatty acids from a variety of the plant and clean animal foods mentioned in this article. This is what people of all cultures have done throughout the history of our world. As it is with all of the nutrients that we know of, omega-3 fatty acids work synergistically with many co-factors to provide their health promoting effects. Flow charts in biochemistry textbooks are important to understand and apply to our dietary choices, but they represent only a partial picture of the countless physiological reactions that keep our cells alive. With this in mind, it is wise to eat a variety of foods that are naturally rich in ALA, EPA, and DHA rather than to rely on a supplement that contains just one or more of these omega-3 fatty acids as isolated nutrients.
If you are planning on attending a New Year’s celebration, you may want to take a few precautions to lessen your chances of starting the New Year with an alcohol-related hangover. The surefire way to keep a clear head is not to drink at all and to be the designated driver for your friends who do drink. Alcohol is a strong toxin to both the liver and the nervous system, and it irritates the upper digestive tract and urinary system as well. If you do drink, remember:
• Moderation is the best way to avoid hangovers – make sure to pace yourself.
• Eat food if you have more than a drink or two.
• Avoid dehydration (and cut down on alcohol intake) by drinking as much water as possible while you’re drinking alcohol.
• Take a B-complex vitamin supplement plus extra thiamine (100 mg) to counter the B-vitamin depletion caused by alcohol.
• Choose beverages that are “cleaner.” Some distilled beverages are rich in types of alcohol called congeners – toxic impurities that can greatly add to your woes. Bourbon, rum and cognac are particularly dirty, while vodka, which is alcohol and water with just trace amounts of impurities, is the cleanest.
Be safe this New Year’s Eve and live well!
I am going to generalize, but most women when goal setting will describe pretty much the same ultimate goal but all will be beginning from different starting points in order to achieve it.
The common aspirations are to lose weight, and “tone up”, particularly in the Oestrogen hormone sites, the legs, bum and triceps (lose the bingo wings). Some may wish to lose stomach fat too.
The word “tone” needs to be clarified with the client first, although I am pretty sure that by now I have mastered that the female meaning of wanting to be more toned, means to be leaner and firmer, with the absence of flab/fat. A male definition of being toned means that ones muscles are more defined and visible without need for tension due to having low body fat around the muscle.
Effectively in order to become toned, one must reduce ones body fat mass and at the same time retain or increase their bodies muscle/lean mass. If, lets say for example that someone has both fat to lose and lean mass to gain, the general female assumption, and in some cases men too, is to head straight for the bike or the treadmill.
This is because there is an unwritten social norm in our society that all the free weights are there for the boys, to make them nice and muscular, and that the cardio machines and the classes are for the girls. This ever-present barrier often makes it difficult for women to feel comfortable or feel slightly intimidated by trying to lift weights in the free weight section of the gym amongst all the big strong men. This is perhaps, why almost 100% of my circuit training class that I run is made up of girls and why Body Pump classes also have a predominantly female attendance in our gym.
Women often believe that the thing that they should be doing is lifting lightweights when they do resistance training. This is mostly the fault of the media and women’s health and fitness magazines, which show a girl who is in perfect shape, showing the reader how they can look just like her by demonstrating a few exercises, all involving a nice pink Swiss ball, a purple Yoga mat and two 5lb dumbbells.
People tend to go along with this, because it sounds like something that girls are told they should be doing, as well as sounding like something that one might want to do, ‘lifting a heavy weight seems like hard work, but its fine because the magazine told me I don’t have to do that.’
Training methods do not vary from men to women. Becoming toned means to increase muscle, the same training methods of muscle building a man would do to achieve this is exactly the same to that of a women. The only difference is the physical results that will occur from it.
Men will get bigger and women will become leaner, this is because ones hormones, women do not have the same levels of testosterone as men to get really big from resistance training. The muscular women that women are scared that they might end up looking like are taking steroids or other drugs.
I never thought initially that my career as a Personal trainer would involve such an element of female enlightenment and liberating women from the belief that they are physically weak, and can’t become stronger. In most aspects of our lives today, women are regarded and regard themselves as equals. When it comes to physical ability, many women still hold a rather patriarchal view of their physical condition.
All of my clients do different forms of resistance training, the girls amongst them become leaner and slimmer as they wanted and it didn’t come from them using light weights. They start off with lightweights, mostly to build their confidence even if I am 100% convinced they could have lifted more and progressively they become stronger, and in some exercises they are stronger than some of the men that I train.
Women have a lot more strength than they think they have or want to think that they have. It is invoked by the fear that they may end up with big muscles. It will take a significant amount of training for women to become that big. I train men who do have the testosterone levels to become that big and they struggle to bulk up, even when they are lifting “heavy”. This should serve as an indication that by women increasing the weight to above 10lb will not make them look anything like Schwarzenegger.
Aside from the fact that women will not only become leaner and more toned from resistance training, there is another reason why everyone including women should engage in strength training and building muscle.
From the age of 25 onwards our bodies lose around 10% of muscle per decade. As well as a decrease in bone density and become frailer. Consequently as we become older we tend to gain weight. This weight gain is often said to be that our metabolism is slowing down, as we get older. The cause of this slowing down of ones metabolism is in part to do with ones loss of muscle mass. The more lean mass that our body carries the more calories our body burns. A decrease in lean mass means a decrease in calories burned and therefore a slower metabolism.
This chain of events can however be reversed through engaging in resistance training and by building muscle. There is no men’s activity or women’s activity when it comes to training, other than individual confidence that one may have in doing something that they believe society dictates is not for them, or not the fashionable thing to do. Some people do find certain forms of exercise to be more enjoyable than others but may not be what is required in order to achieve ones goal. Getting lean triceps to avoid the development of Bingo wings will not come from a spinning class. Nor will building strength and lean mass in ones legs come from punching pads. Enjoyment is important, particularly when one is new to exercising, as one is more likely to quit if the training isn’t fun. But at the same time I believe that people ultimately want to see results.
Success comes through finding the balance between being taken out of ones comfort zone and doing something that one may find quite difficult and unfamiliar whilst at the same time find it challenging, rewarding and enjoyable.!
Does a bear s#!t in the woods?!
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a cheap sweetener chemically derived from corn. This ubiquitous ingredient of junk food has been in the news lately, in part due to a proposed name change by the Corn Refiners Association – the group wants to rename it “corn sugar.” Whatever you call it, HFCS is a marker for low-quality food and has no place in a healthy diet. But unfortunately, it is widely used: HFCS is found as a primary ingredient in soft drinks and often hidden in processed foods including salad dressings and ketchup, jams, jellies, ice cream, bread and crackers. It is one of the biggest sources of calories in the American diet.The most widely used kind of HFCS may have disruptive effects on metabolism, as the body doesn’t utilize fructose well. In fact, regular consumption of HFCS undoubtedly contributes to obesity, which in turn is a risk factor for many other things, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, several types of cancer and diabetes, just to name a few. In my opinion, HCFS is definitely bad for you and should be avoided – read food labels carefully and minimize your consumption of items that list HFCS as an ingredient.
Most of us drink soda. Some drink more than others. And probably many regular soda drinkers are aware that soft drinks are bad for the health. At the same time, United States ranks first among countries in soft drink consumption.
I think we need to know more about this drink that we love so much. And so here are some reasons why we drink soda:
Most Think It’s Very Tasty
The taste could be one thing that gets us addicted to drinking soda, it is delicious. In fact, it is so good, that many people drink it with every meal!
Even if you wanted to drink something else, you would be hard-pressed to find it as prominently displayed in vending machines, at fast-food chains, and supermarket checkouts. You might not realize how ubiquitous Coke, Pepsi, and the like are in our society until you try to stop drinking soda.
The most addictive thing about soda is the convenience. If you want something quick or are in a hurry, it is so easy to grab and convenient to drink.
Promotion and Advertising
Soft drinks are heavily consumed in part because companies promote them vigorously – Billions of dollars are spend on advertising sodas – and market them everywhere – in stores, restaurants, gas stations, museums, and even schools.
For some people, drinking several sodas a day is a force of habit. You know drinking soda is a habit when you find yourself going to the grocery store at 10 p.m. because your refrigerator is tapped out.
It Is Cheap
Soda may be pretty inexpensive when compared with fruit juice and milk. With combo meals, a large soda is only an extra dollar, and you get fries!
Often people drink soda to quench the thirst. However, this is probably the worst time to drink soda, because when you are very thirsty or dehydrated you have low levels of saliva. And saliva helps to neutralize acids (soda is the most acidic beverage you can buy) and wash your teeth clean.
Many soft drinks contain caffeine and caffeine is mildly addictive. This fact is part of the reason soda is such a hard habit to break. If you’re addicted to the caffeine in soda, you’re really having two habits – the soda habit and the caffeine habit.
Reasons To Stop Drinking Soda
These were reasons why we drink soda and here are powerful reasons to give up soda drinking.
Do you know the extent to which drinking carbonated, caffeinated, sugared, or artificially sweetened beverages harms your body? Giving up soft drinks can be one of the best things you can do to improve your health.
Soda Is Useless.
First of all, there are no nutritionally beneficial components in soft drinks. Soft drinks mostly consist of filtered water and refined sugars. Yet the average American drinks about 57 gallons of soft drinks each year.
Weight Gain & Obesity
Many people either forget or don’t realize how many extra calories they consume in what they drink. Drinking a single 330 ml can a day of sugary drinks translates to more than 1lb of weight gain every month.
Several scientific studies have provided experimental evidence that soft drinks are directly related to weight gain. The relationship between soft drink consumption and body weight is so strong that researchers2 calculate that for each additional soda consumed, the risk of obesity increases 1.6 times.
According to the results of high quality study3 reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages helped reduce body mass index in the heaviest teenagers.
This is a consequence of #2. Anything that promotes weight gain increases the risk of diabetes. Drinking soda not only contributes to making people fat, but it also stresses the body’s ability to process sugar5. Some scientists now suspect that the sweet stuff may help explain why the number of Americans with type 2 diabetes has tripled from 6.6 million in 1980 to 20.8 million today.
Rapidly absorbed carbohydrates like high fructose corn syrup put more strain on insulin-producing cells than other foods. When sugar enters the bloodstream quickly, the pancreas has to secrete large amounts of insulin for the body to process it. Some scientists believe that the unceasing demands that a soda habit places on the pancreas may ultimately leave it unable to keep up with the body’s need for insulin. Also, insulin itself becomes less effective at processing sugar; both conditions contribute to the risk of developing diabetes.
Interestingly, women who consumed a lot of fruit juice–which is high in natural fructose–were not at increased risk of diabetes, leading researchers to speculate that naturally occurring sugars may have different metabolic effects than added sugars. They also speculate that vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals in fruit juices may have a protective effect against weight gain and diabetes, counterbalancing the adverse effects of sugar.
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School4 analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study II, a trial tracking the health of more than 51,000 women. None of the participants had diabetes at the onset of the study in 1991. Over the following 8 years, 741 women were diagnosed with the disease. Researchers found that women who drank one or more sugary drinks a day gained more weight and were 83% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who imbibed less than once a month.
Weakened Bones And Risk Of Osteoporosis
Frequent consumption of soft drinks may also increase the risk of osteoporosis,6 especially in people who drink soft drinks instead of calcium-rich unpasteurized milk7. High soda consumption (particularly cola15) in children poses a significant risk factor for impaired calcification of growing bones.
In the 1950s, children drank 3 cups of milk for every 1 cup of sugary drinks. Today that ratio is reversed: 3 cups of sugary drinks for every cup of milk. Tellingly, osteoporosis is a major health threat for 44 million Americans. Most experts now say that the real culprit is soda’s displacement of milk in the diet, though some scientists believe that the acidity of colas may be weakening bones by promoting the loss of calcium.
Dental Caries And Erosion
Soda eats up and dissolves the tooth enamel8. Researches9 say that soft drinks are responsible for doubling or tripling the incidence of tooth decay.
The acidity can dissolve the mineral content of the enamel, making the teeth weaker, more sensitive, and more susceptible to decay. Soda’s acidity makes it even worse for teeth than the solid sugar found in candy.
Dental experts continue to urge that people drink less soda pop, especially between meals, to prevent tooth decay and dental erosion.
People who down sugary drinks don’t feel as full as those who consume the same amount of calories in solidfood.
This theory was born out by researchers at Purdue University who, in 2000, gave 15 volunteers 450 calories a day of either soda or jelly beans for a month and then switched them for the next month, while monitoring their total calories. The candy eaters compensated for the extra calories by eating less food and maintained their weight; during the soda phase, the volunteers ate more and gained.
There is good evidence that cola beverages can increase the risk of kidney problems, more so than non-cola sodas.
Researches clearly demonstrated that large quantities of cola result in enhanced kidney stone formation16-17. If you’re wondering exactly how soft drinks cause kidney stones, it’s because of their acidity and radical mineral imbalances. Your body must buffer the acidity of soft drinks with calcium from your own bones. As this calcium is eliminated through your urine, it slowly forms kidney stones.
In a study published in the journal Epidemiology14, the team compared the dietary habits of 465 people with chronic kidney disease and 467 healthy people. After controlling for various factors, the team found that drinking two or more colas a day (whether artificially sweetened or regular) was linked to a twofold risk of chronic kidney disease.
Increased Blood Pressure
Overconsumption of fructose, particularly in the form of soft drinks, leads to an increase in blood pressure. This is secondary to weight gain and obesity.
Likely To Cause Heartburn
Soft drink consumption is a strong predictor of heartburn.
Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factor
Soft drink consumption is a significant risk factor for developing of metabolic syndrome18, a combination of the symptoms such as high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance.
Harmful Effects On Liver
There is evidence that consumption of too many soft drinks puts you under increased risk for liver cirrhosis similar to what chronic alcoholics have.
Impaired Digestive System
Soda, no matter who makes it, is the most acidic beverage you can buy, with a pH of about 2.51, about the same as vinegar, but the sugar content disguises the acidity. To put that into perspective, consider that battery acid has a pH of 1 and pure water has a pH level of 7.
Interesting fact: A pH below 4 or above 10 will kill most fish and very few animals can tolerate waters with a pH below 3 or above 11.
Why does that matter? Throughout the digestive system, that starts from the mouth and ends up at the anus only the stomach can resist an acidic environment up to pH 2.0. But before the acidity of soft drink reaches the stomach it passes through all the other organs involved in the digestive system thus causing an abnormal acidic environment. The linings of the mouth, pharynx and esophagus are highly sensitive to acids.
The phosphoric acid present in soft drink competes with the hydrochloric acid of the stomach and affects its functions. When the stomach becomes ineffective, food remains undigested causing indigestion, gassiness or bloating (swelling of stomach).
High Caffeine Content
Another advantage of avoiding sodas is that you will avoid the unnecessary caffeine. Soda drinks are a major source of caffeine in the American diet.
High doses of caffeine can cause irritability, restlessness, tension, insomnia, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disturbance, excessive urination, irregular heartbeat and other side effects.
Toxins – Aspartame
If you think diet soda is better think again. The poison in diet soda is an artificial sweetener aspartame. Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. It is used because it’s about 200 times sweeter than table sugar.
Despite US FDA approval as a “safe” food additive, aspartame is one of the most dangerous substances added to foods. After you drink an aspartame-sweetened product, aspartame breaks down into its starting components: phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol (that further converts to formaldehyde and formic acid, which are known carcinogens.). There are over 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption.
Possible Cell Damage Ability
A new health scare erupted over soft drinks recently amid evidence that they may cause serious cell damage. Research from a British university suggests a common preservative E211, known as sodium benzoate, found in drinks such as Fanta and Pepsi Max has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA.
Sodium benzoate occurs in small amounts naturally in berries, but is used in large quantities to prevent mould in soft drinks.
There Are So Many Healthy Alternatives!
Soda replaces healthier drinks. By drinking soda, you cut the intake of fresh squeezed juices, raw unpasteurized milk, and even water and deprive yourself from essential vitamins and minerals.
•Water. Water is the best drink in the world.
•Tea. Any kind of tea – herbal, green or black – is rich in antioxidants, which were shown to protects the body form many health problems.
•100% fresh squeezed juice…not fruit juice in a bottle or concentrate. Fruit juice can be also useful for flavoring your water and teas.