The Case Against Soft Drinks

The Case Against Soft Drinks

Article Highlights

  • The ingredients in your daily soda may suprise you
  • What sugar has to do with all of it
  • Is diet better than regular?

I know Americans love their soft drinks, but have you ever stopped to think, “What is in that drink?” The answer might surprise you. It doesn’t matter if it is regular or diet. There are some things in all kinds of sodas that you should know. (more…)

Soft Drinks that Stress You Out

Soft Drinks that Stress You Out

Article Highlights

  • Both regular and diet sodas contribute to tooth decay and weakened enamel
  • Sodas create an insulin response that readily converts the sugar from the drink into fat
  • Those who eat (or drink) artificial sweeteners actually eat more sugar calories throughout the day than those who don’t

When people are stressed they sometimes reach for a soft drink, but have you ever stopped to think, “What’s in this drink?” The answer might surprise you. It doesn’t matter if it is regular or diet. There are some things in all kinds of soft drinks that may stress you out.

More Trips to the Dentist

If going to the dentist causes you anxiety, consider that the first ingredient in any soda is carbonated water. Most manufactured drinks create this carbonation artificially by forcing carbon dioxide into the water. This may change the pH in your mouth to weaken and slowly dissolve the enamel in your teeth.

Research has also shown that even though diet drinks resulted in less tooth decay, they were no less acidic than regular drinks and contributed to destroying children’s teeth from the outside. Studies found that teenagers drinking four or more glasses a day increase their risk of decay by 513 percent, which is significant considering 92 percent of 14-year-olds consume fizzy drinks. The next big concern in sodas is sugar. (You drink diet? You may need to be more concerned. Hang on, I’ll tell you why.)

Sending Your Cells into Shock

A serving size for soft drinks is usually 8 ounces or a cup. The bottle of Sunkist I have in my hand has about 130 calories per serving, but it has 2.5 servings in the bottle. Most people don’t stop drinking at 8 ounces; they finish the whole thing which means they are drinking 325 calories, not 130.

Since there is usually no protein or fat in sodas, all of these calories must come from sugar. That is about 20 teaspoons worth, almost a half a cup of sugar! Most sodas have at least 12-15 teaspoons of sugar (a little more than a fourth of a cup). Sure, it tastes yummy, but the quick rise in blood sugar creates these changes in your body within 60 minutes of drinking the soda!

To add insult to injury, when your blood sugar rises quickly, your pancreas produces insulin to try to clean up the mess and get the sugar out of the bloodstream. Water is taken from cells in other parts of your body to try to dilute it (so much for great hydration). In a little while, your blood sugar drops just as fast as it was rising. The end result is that the ¼ to ½ cup of sugar you drank is immediately and easily converted to fat. To make matters worse, because your blood sugar has dropped, you’re hungry and ready for another snack, even though you could already be packing on extra pounds.

In the long run, when people go through this sugar-insulin cycle too many times, they get problems like insulin resistance or sensitivity, irritability, depression, headaches, or lethargy. They also get diseases like diabetes, heart illness, and obesity. These are diseases that kill people, no stress there!

A Different Type of Sugar

After saying all of that, there is still more to soft drinks that might stress you out. The type of sugar in soft drinks is a huge negative. Most sodas are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. Fructose is a sugar our bodies are not designed to digest in large amounts, yet our nation has increased its fructose consumption by more than 10,673% between the years 1970 to 2005. Fructose is a major problem for the liver, and studies show that this type of sweetener actually lessons the effect of the hormone called leptin, which is supposed to tell you that you’re full! It also stimulates the hormone ghrelin, which tells you you’re hungry! So your brain doesn’t get the message that you are full, and your body continues to crave things like, you guessed it, more sugar!

Diet soft drinks are sweetened with artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Some of the common brands of sweeteners that use aspartame are Equal, NutraSweet, and Splenda. These products still stimulate your brain and digestive system by making them think sugar calories are coming. Since they never do, your brain seems to stay on the lookout for sugar throughout the day to fill that need.

Studies have shown that those who use artificial sweeteners actually eat more sugar calories during the day than people who don’t use artificial sweeteners! And more sugar means more calories, more weight gain, and more stress.

Other Ingredients in Soft Drinks

Of course, there are other magnificent ingredients in sodas, including caffeine and phosphoric acid.

Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive stimulant drug in the world. It is found naturally in some foods where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants.

I think we all understand that caffeine can be addictive, and addictions can increase anxiety for everyone. I had a roommate in college who went through caffeine withdrawals when she tried to give up Diet Coke. We didn’t like her very much. She had headaches, she was insanely irritable, and she couldn’t sleep. It was awful.

Phosphoric acid is an acidifying agent used to give colas their tangy flavor and is also commonly used to remove rust. Because of the addition of phosphoric acid in soft drinks, they are actually more acidic than lemon juice and vinegar. This acid has been linked to lower bone density and risk for osteoporosis and bone disease. Aside from the risk of osteoporosis, cola consumption has also been linked to chronic kidney disease and to kidney stones.

The bottom line is there is nothing nutritionally good for you or your loved ones in soft drinks. They cost a lot, they are empty calories, they may be addictive, they take the place of other more nutritious foods, they contribute to cavities and chronic disease, and in the long run, they don’t seem to be the best answer for you when you feel stressed out.

Think before you drink!


Boost Metabolism While You Sleep

Boost Metabolism While You Sleep

Article Highlights

  • Process of energy metabolism is explained
  • As the body adapts to an increase in exercise, metabolism skyrockets
  • The best way to train your body to use stored fuel is through exercise

Remember in biology class when you learned about the parts of the cell and you wondered why you had to know this stuff?

Really, when would you ever use this information in real life?

Well here it is.


The Powerful Mitochondria

Inside of the cell is the “powerhouse,” organelle known as the mitochondria. Mitochondria produce the energy that a cell needs to perform its functions; divide, move, etc. In cells that are not required to do very much work,(such as an unfit muscle cell), there is one, wimpy mitochondria. It doesn’t provide much energy. It just hangs around, bored and out of shape. To make matters worse, the fuel lines (arteries and capillaries) to these kinds of cells are usually out of shape, plaque ridden, and few and far between. These conditions lead to some lonely, bored, and depressed mitochondria.

Then one day, the woman in whose body these cells reside decides to get up and move a bit. Let’s call her Suzy. At first the cells don’t take Suzy seriously. They think she is just running to the refrigerator so the mitochondria grab the stored fuel in the cell to get her there, (remember ATP?) But it runs out immediately and she is still moving. Next they go for other sources of fuel in the cell, and then the glucose (sugar), but there’s not much of that either.

As Suzy continues to move, the cells send messages to the brain telling it that they need more fuel. After a while, the brain reluctantly sends a message to the fat cells to release some of the reserves. But this fuel has a hard time making it to the mitochondria. Suzy hasn’t exercised in a long time and her arteries are not equipped to handle the load. To make matters worse, cells need oxygen to convert the fat into fuel. Not only are Suzy’s lungs unable to absorb the extra oxygen from the air she breathes, but her blood is unable to ship it to where it is needed.

Suzy tires out quickly. She is out of breath and overwhelmed with the loud complaints coming from the muscles in the form of aches and pains. Her brain however, realizes that if she keeps doing this she will be stronger which furthers the chance of her survival, so it rewards her with “feel good” chemicals called endorphins (lovingly referred to as the “morphine within”). These endorphins will actually reduce pain and help her feel good.

Suzy is exhausted, so she goes to bed early and sleeps well that night, BUT HER BODY DOESN’T! It is busy repairing the damage that she did to it while she was exercising. This repair work requires energy, which burns a lot of calories, maybe even more calories than she burned while exercising! While Suzy sleeps, the body, which doesn’t like to be caught off guard, is worried that she might try this exercise thing again tomorrow. SUZY’S METABOLISM SKYROCKETS as cells are repaired and waste products are eliminated.

As the days go by and Suzy continues to exercise, her body is trained to burn more and more fat while it creates her new look. Her body is forming new arteries, creating new muscle tissue, and shifting some of the fat from around her waist to inside of her muscles where it is needed. Best of all, the mitochondria in each cell have doubled. Now they are efficient, competent, and not so lonely mitochondria. Suzy is literally full of energy.

People often say, “I have a slow metabolism.” Then I say, “okay, change it.” The best way to boost your metabolic rate is to train the body to become an efficient, fuel releasing, fuel burning machineTHROUGH EXERCISE.

There are other things that can boost metabolism temporarily, but the overall effects are not even close to what exercise can do for you.

The Advantages of Being Really Out of Shape

The Advantages of Being Really Out of Shape

Article Highlights

  • The more out of shape you are, the faster your body responds to exercise efforts
  • The very best type of exercise is the one that you will do!
  • Seek support and friends to help you in your exercise efforts

There are many obvious advantages to being in shape, but what about being out of shape?

People who are fit tend to look good, feel good, have more energy, less disease, can wear the clothes they want to wear, and can do the things they want to do.

They are healthier, happier, they get better sleep, have better quality lives, live longer, and have more self-confidence.


They also fit into the movie seats at the local theater, don’t have to pay more for airline tickets, have better sex lives, can be more fun to be around, better parents, and they can eat more without feeling guilty.

Yes- fit people can eat more without getting fat.

But what about the advantages of being really out of shape? Well, there is a big one and here it is . . .

People who are really out of shape, who fat manstart exercising, get fitter faster! The fact is your body wants to be in shape. It wants to be healthy. It wants to look good. It wants to be hot! So, the more out of shape you are, the faster your body will respond to your exercise efforts.

Think of the Olympic athlete. Those guys work out for 8 to 10 hours a day for months and years at time just to improve their scores by a hundredth of a second. Someone who is really out of shape can go for a 30 minute walk each day and reduce their risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, by 20, 30, even 40% – right off the bat!

Wow! And it isn’t just reducing the risk of disease, by beginning an exercise program your body will jump start other areas too, like weight loss, muscle strength, energy levels, intellectual, emotional, and social enhancements, self-esteem, and yes, looking and feeling sexy again.

What Exercise is Best?

So just what is the best exercise, and how much of it do you need to do? Research has shown over and over and over again, that if you want the benefits, you should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most or preferably all days of the week for the rest of your life. So for beginners, remember three things.

First, you don’t have to exercise for 30 minutes at a time. If you’d like to break it up into three 10 minute sessions, that’s fine too. Just accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a day.

Second, moderate-intensity means you are working your heart and lung muscles enough so that they must recover and get stronger for the next day. You can monitor this by your breathing. If you feel out of breath or you are gasping, you are working too hard. If you are easily breathing you need to work harder.

The talk test is another way to measure your intensity. If you can sing while you are working out, you might be having too much fun and you’re not working out hard enough. If you can’t talk at all, slow it down. If you can talk, but you are also breathing more, you are probably in the right range.

Third, what exercise should you do? The absolute best, no questions, hands down, exercise is . . . the one you will do! Just do one! It doesn’t matter how great other activities are if you won’t do them. So pick one or two that you will do and get to it! Walking, swimming, yoga, shooting hoops, an aerobics DVD, spinning class, snow showing, gardening, elliptical machine, whatever it is you will do – just do something.

Find Some Support

Most people are more committed to exercise if they find a buddy to go with them. Making exercise a social event isn’t necessary, but it is an excellent idea. Friends help keep friends motivated and exercising is more fun that way. If we are committed to someone else, we are more likely to continue.

Remember, if you stop moving, you not only stop progressing, you slide backwards. My sister used to tell me, “Move it or Lose it,” when she wanted me to help her clean the house. (She scared me sometimes), but the same principal is true with the bodies we live in.

If we don’t move them, we’ll lose them.

So go- and have fun!

Coping with Stress? Cheat on Your Diet.

Coping with Stress? Cheat on Your Diet.

Article Highlights

  • When restrictions are placed on foods, those are the foods you focus on
  • Restricting calories leads to a rise in cortisol – a stress hormone
  • Irregular cortisol levels can also alter blood sugar and metabolism which leads to weight gain

“That which you resist, tends to persist” – and gets bigger.

Ever noticed that the longer you battle a craving, the stronger it gets?

Suddenly, the thought of a satisfying piece of chocolate becomes the uncontrollable urge to eat the whole bag.


A recent study showed this result when they asked three groups of female college students to think about chocolate, avoid thinking about chocolate, or think about whatever they wanted.

Guess who ended up eating the most chocolate?

Yep, it was the group that tried to avoid thinking about it.1 Coping with Stress? Cheat on Your Diet. 1

Is Gatorade Good for Kids?

Is Gatorade Good for Kids?

Article Highlights

  • Sports drinks are a great way to replace glycogen and electrolytes lost during exercise
  • Sports drinks are full of sugar and may increase the insulin response in kids who haven’t been exercising
  • If you are going to exercise for 45 minutes or more, supplementing with a sports drink may be a good idea

Sports drinks are different from protein drinks, meal replacement drinks, vitamin drinks, recovery drinks, fitness waters, endurance drinks, and recreational drinks like Kool-Aid and colas.


Each drink has a specific purpose, but the purpose of quality sports drinks is three fold.

    1. Hydration

    2. Replacing glycogen stores (sugar that is stored in the liver and muscles)

    3. Replacing electrolytes

The Beginning of Sport Drinks

We will use Gatorade as our example because it was the first of the major sports drinks.

Is Gatorade Good for Kids? 2

It was created by physicians and researchers at the University of Florida in 1965 to combat some of the problems facing the school’s football team.

The players were suffering from cramps, exhaustion and a host of other problems caused by training in the area’s hot and humid conditions.

The researchers discovered that the players were not drinking enough water or replacing the electrolytes and glycogen that was lost through sweat and exercise. (more…)