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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | June 17th, 2018


    It started out with me not ordering it when I went out to eat, then I made the decision to only have it in my house when I was hosting an event or at work when we had parties and then I went to a conference and was introduced to Marion Nestle’s book, Soda Politics, Taking on Big Soda (and Winning). I finally bought the book and read it. When I had to give my Toastmasters speech 9: Persuade with Power last week, it was not difficult. The title of the speech was – IT IS TIME TO STOP. I held a can of soda up and I told the audience that it was time to stop drinking soda or what some might call pop.

    I outlined three reasons why one should consider not drinking soda anymore:

    1. There is absolutely no nutritional value in drinking soda. When we talk about empty calories, this truly meets the definition. The average drink has about 140 calories of nothing of value. There are no vitamins, no protein, and no fiber – NOTHING OF VALUE. Take a look at the ingredients:
      1. Carbonated water – this is what gives the refreshing taste.
      2. High fructose corn syrup – promotes obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.
      3. Caramel color – depending on how it is processed, may be carcinogenic.
      4. Sugar – promotes obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.
      5. Phosphoric acid – erodes the teeth.
      6. Caffeine – mildly addictive stimulant drug.
      7. Citric acid- a preservative to extend the shelf life of soda.
      8. Natural flavors – companies refuse to release their secret.
    2. Soda is a sugary drink. The amount of sugar in soda is like putting 10 teaspoons of sugar in a cup of water – 10 TEASPOONS. It has been linked to obesity and diabetes. I had a patient that lost 25 pounds in one year just by giving up soda. When you drink any sugary drink, the body takes it in faster than if you ate that amount of sugar through food.  The ingredients in soda have been shown to be a major cause of tooth decay. You literally have to drink soda and brush your teeth immediately to be able to minimize the damage to the teeth.
    3. Soda companies advertise to community of color three times more than they advertise to the white community. They purposely advertise in communities that are most affected by health care inequities and they do it in a most disingenuous fashion. They provide philanthropic gifts like scholarships, inducing brand loyalty while selling products that are linked to obesity and diabetes. They use this same strategy to target people in developing countries.

    If you are used to drinking soda, it may be hard to stop cold turkey. I would suggest that you decrease the amount to half. Diet soda is not the solution.  Even though diet soda might not have the calories, studies have shown that it contributes to getting diabetes, because the body is fooled with the artificial sweeteners thinking that it is sugar and the body releases the hormones in the body similar to what it would do if it got a sugar load.

    If you are someone that likes the fizz like I do, just get carbonated water. I find it funny that carbonated water which has fewer ingredients than soda is more expensive. The issue is that it does not have the addictive ingredients that have people buying a lot so the profit margin is less. For the soda companies, it is all about the money.

    I have made a decision to no longer buy soda not even for special events. As you read more and more about soda, I believe you will come to the same conclusion, IT IS TIME TO STOP.

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