Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

More Bad News For Soda Drinkers

Your daily can of pop may increase your risk for high blood pressure and psychological dependency, even if it's diet soda.

soda cans

Photo: poolie (flickr)

Regular pop drinkers (or people sipping any other sugary beverage) are at risk for higher blood pressure.

Add “high blood pressure” and “risk of addiction” to your list of reasons to kick the soda habit.

Blood Pressure On The Rise

Last week, a study linked diet soda to strokes and heart attacks. Now, there may be more evidence that soda drinkers of all kinds face health risks.

Regular pop drinkers (or people sipping any other sugary beverage) are at risk for higher blood pressure. The more you drink, the higher your blood pressure likely is, even after being adjusted for other risk factors like weight and genetics.

The study from the School of Public Health at Imperial College in London found that drinks sweetened with both sugar and corn syrup had the same increasing effects, though representatives from the beverage industry say it’s unfair to lump together the effects of different sweeteners in the same study.

But What About Diet?

Though diet soda may be sugar-free, a new article in Health magazine compiles more evidence that it’s not a great substitute for the real thing.

When we taste diet soda, we taste sugar, so that’s what our bodies expect – a sweet, satisfying sugar rush. Except it never happens, as those artificial sweeteners like aspartame aren’t capable of giving it to us. Our instinct then kicks in to drink more until we hit the sugar peak that’s never coming, and in the process, we increase our risk of heart disease and stroke.

This can create a potentially addictive cycle. For some, compulsive soda drinking is an example of addiction swapping, like trading a regular cigarette for a glass of Diet Coke.

“You think, ‘Oh, I can drink another one because I’m not getting more calories,’” says Harold C. Urschel, MD, an addiction psychiatrist. “Psychologically you’re giving yourself permission.”

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Carrie Schedler

Carrie Schedler is a senior at Indiana University studying journalism, English and French. She's originally from Columbus, Ohio, and still dreams often about salty caramel ice cream from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams and baguettes from her semester abroad in Paris. Hopefully, she'll learn how to cook eventually.

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