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7 Compelling Reasons to Never Drink Soda!

Robyn Openshaw - Updated: September 19, 2023 - - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

I watch the addiction of a few people close to me, to soda.

One of my closest friends drinks it every day and calls it her “binky.” She kicks the habit but always goes back—because when she quits diet soda, she finds herself taking up sugar.

Another tells me he is not addicted but seems to be in denial. I see him drink it 2 or 3 times a day. I’m not saying this to judge—just to express my concern. Because soda is not food. It’s toxic acid.

In this article:

Why Not Soda?

One of my tennis teammates is 70 years old, athletic and quick and has never been overweight. One of the Jackson brothers, two local osteopathic surgeons, told her regarding a surgery they were planning related to her arthritis, “If you are going to drink soda after the surgery, I won’t do it. It will just quickly undo my work.”

Bone Density
Robyn having a bone density scan

If you drink soda, you can virtually guarantee that you will have arthritis by age 50. (Both my parents, nearing 70, have “bone on bone” arthritis problems, and neither of them drink soda.)

Oh, and guess what. I don’t care how young you are—50 is coming up faster than you think! If you’re 25 and think that when you’re 50, you’re washed up and don’t care about anything anyway (I thought this when I was 25)…well, you’re wrong.

When you’re 50, you love your life, you want lots more of it, you care about how you look, you’re a sexual person, and you have lots of goals. (For some reason, being at that age right now, I feel the need to tell 20-somethings to care more about their future! I wish I had! I wish I didn’t eat so much sugar in my 20s and get so much sun.)

Some time ago, Forbes magazine interviewed me for ranking things to drink on a 1 to 10 health scale. When it came to ranking soda, I asked him, “Can we have negative numbers?’

I’ve also been asked whether regular or diet soda is worse—my answer is that both are equally terrible, tied neck and neck for “worst foods ever.”  That’s because they aren’t food.  They don’t even have any food ingredients.

I wonder if seven sobering facts about accelerated aging and disease risk from drinking soda would help any of my friends—including you?—kick the habit? Share this with anyone you know who loves the burn of carbonation—or is addicted to the caffeine rush—or maybe both.

Here Are 7 Kicks in the Pants, to Help You Quit the Soda Habit:

1. Soda Brain

Brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, is added to soft drinks. It’s an industrial chemical used in plastics as a flame retardant. (It’s also in sports drinks.) It is known to cause nerve disorders and memory loss. It builds up in body fat and causes behavioral and mood problems, infertility, and heart problems.

2. Fat on the Inside

Researchers in Denmark found that those who drink soda have fat stores around their liver, other organs, and skeletal muscles, which leads to diabetes. Soda drinkers in the study also had much higher triglyceride blood fats and cholesterol than non-soda drinkers.

3. Hormone Upset

Aluminum cans are coated with BPA, which interferes with hormones and causes obesity, diabetes, cancer, and infertility. Neither Pepsi nor Coke has been willing to switch to BPA-free, while everyone else in America is doing so.

4. Frankenfood

Lots of soda ingredients are corn-derived, and nearly 90 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is now genetically modified. The U.S. government isn’t particularly interested in testing this horrible social experiment, but we know that genetically modified crops are linked to rapid aging, infertility, and gastrointestinal tract damage.

Not that those ingredients really resemble corn by the time you drink them…but you get none of the fiber and other nutritional benefits of corn (which are limited anyway) and all the downside of the GMO “frankenfood.”

soda: a "frankenfood"!

5. Caramel Cancer

Two chemicals with reeeealllly long names are known to cause cancer in animals, and they make the lovely brown color in colas. The Center for Science in the Public Interest tried unsuccessfully to get the FDA to ban them. The chemicals are just cosmetic, but of course, Coke and Pepsi aren’t gonna back down. (Look how big the experiment went over when Pepsi tried to make a clear cola called Crystal Pepsi in 1992. All they care about is what sells.)

6. Diet Ain't Any Better

Even diet soda makes you fat. A study in Texas found that those who drink diet soda gained 70 percent in waist circumference in 10 years, compared with people who don’t drink soda. Those who drank more than two per day? They had a 500 percent waist expansion! The culprit is the neurotoxin aspartame. It actually raises your blood glucose levels, even though it contains chemicals rather than sugar.

7. Get Old Faster

Phosphates in cola extend their shelf life and improve taste. But they rob your bones and blood of desperately needed minerals. That leads to kidney problems, osteoporosis, heart disease, and rapid aging.

It stops children and teens from building bone mass, in the critical period they are developmentally meant to do so. (After 30, we generally lose bone mass.) Soda manufacturers have increased phosphate levels higher and higher—but a medical journal article two years ago showed that lab rats with elevated phosphates died much earlier than normal.

Soda Replacements

I’ve been quizzing my readers who talk to me at classes about their soda addiction. I ask them what they like about it, and carbonation is a major answer.

Try drinking kombucha from the health food store once a day instead. Synergy brand is most popular. Or if you need the caffeine boost and haven’t gotten your nutrition to the level where it sustains you, rather than needing the caffeine kick, drink an unsweetened, or stevia-sweetened bottled green tea from the health food store.

Read Next: Can Soda Dissolve Teeth?

Photograph of Robyn Openshaw, founder of Green Smoothie GirlRobyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.

7 reasons not to drink soda

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that help support the GSG mission without costing you extra. I recommend only companies and products that I use myself.

Posted in: Detox

10 thoughts on “7 Compelling Reasons to Never Drink Soda!”

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  1. Diann says:

    I also have the same question about flavored seltzer waters with no sugar or sugar substitute in them. I used to be a diet soda drinker until a couple years ago when I started reading about the true effects of soda, diet or otherwise, on your body. That did it for me! However, I started drinking the flavored seltzer waters and have not been able to find any concrete data about whether they are damaging to your body or not. Can anyone address this? I did read the comment above about drinks containing citric acid harming your teeth, so that might be a clue these flavored seltzer waters are not good for us either?? Do their “natural flavors” come from some form of citric acid? Thank you!

  2. Robert Knull says:

    What about club soda any risks with that? How can I tell if BPA is added to the can??

  3. Melanie Bartlett says:

    Hi Robin – thank you for all of your insight on food we eat etc. I have tried to get on the members facebook twice now and am not having any luck. Please can u advise? thank you

  4. Emily Fathom says:

    I still remember when I got my braces and my doctor was going thru the “foods” to avoid or not to have if at all possible. We were fine until we hit the last one – soda! I worked at a theater in high school and the two items we were allowed to eat were popcorn and soda so giving this up wasn’t going to happen. So my dentist gave me a tip, which really made a huge difference and planted a seed to change my behavior: Immediately after drinking soda wash out your mouth with luke warm water! He said it would help to keep the sugar from attaching to your teeth (i.e., cavities).

    Anyways, it was shortly after that the cinema chain I worked at changed from Pepsi to Coca Cola. While I have heard the debate about one soda being “better” than the other and that they tasted different I never believed it. I believed it after the change!

    While soda was a “luxury” item in our household – sometimes more frequent than other times – I never became addicted to soda until I started working at the cinemas. It started out as a sip here and a sip there. Then I needed it as a bit of a wake-up jolt when I started in the morning – especially after working the closing shift. Then it spiraled where I was sipping / drinking it thru the day when it was possible.

    The best thing that happened was when my company switched to Coca Cola because the drastic change from sweet to acidic prevented me from drinking soda after that. There were only 2 exceptions that I can recall – both due to the lack of sleep and both met with disgust afterward as I managed a few sips.

    But more than that, I realized when I had soda cravings I was addicted to the soda and the idea of not controlling what I wanted angered me. It took a bit of time – I didn’t dive into a lot of nutrition back then in high school – but I managed it. And so can you!

    More than that though, when I won my fight against soda addiction, I later applied this lesson and my memory of winning to my fight against sugar, too! It took 3 weeks to purge my sugar addiction out of my system, and it nearly broke me / my resolve almost crumbled – but I reminded myself of what was important to me – living my life on my terms – and I succeeded again.

    Overall, you can do this. I know because of all the stories told. Happy journey!

  5. I have some studying to do… we have been using a “carbonator” that uses CO2 to fizz water. We flavor it with things like lemon, lime, ginger, concentrated tea, stevia, etc. CO2 is a product of our respiration. Our bodies are make to eliminate it through our lungs… but I never studied how it might affect digestion when we consume it in our water. I suppose moderation is the key. It doesn’t seem to violate any of these 7 points.

  6. Blaine says:

    Hey Robin – I’m with you on this 100%. How do you feel about Zevia tho? No aspartame, sugar free … I’m not sure about pH levels but it seems like a good “gateway” for people tying to kick soft drink habits that would be much healthier than diet / crap drinks

  7. Gena Seaman-Gregory says:

    Does what you said about soda the same for sparkli g waters. Are sparkling waters just as bad?

  8. Mandy Koggan says:

    A lot of hyp over nitric oxide supplements, can you make a comment on this product because I trust your opinion. Do you sell it?

  9. Christine says:

    I am horrified when people give soda to children. My Step son and his wife give their twins any soda they want. They are 4 years old. This has been going on since they were old enough to walk. The worst part she is a Dr (Pharmacologist). And I am the monster in the family because I say NO? Blech SMH

  10. Brit says:

    Love everything you said. Soda is deadly. We don’t drink it. We usually just stick to water. We really like sparkling water, and spring water! Oh my gosh, so good. We get it from Cedar Springs. It’s sooo tasty, we don’t miss those unhealthy drinks at all! Great article!

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