When I was in high school, my dad and I performed an experiment. We were sitting around on a hot day at my cabin in central Minnesota drinking soda -- Diet Coke and Grape Crush -- and we got to talking about how unhealthy it was. Now, where our cabin is situated, the water quality is less than ideal. Even with a water softener, every time I take a shower, I'm overwhelmed with the smell of pennies. Over time, the rusty water stains our shower a deep red-orange color. We decided it might be interesting to pour a Diet Coke over the stains to see what would happen.
So there we were, the two of us side by side in the tiny bathroom, our backs arched over the rusty stain. He poured and, to our amazement, the rust erupted into a fizzling chemical reaction, stripping the stain straight off of the plastic. At first, we were fascinated by the visual display of it all, the sound it made. But that fascination faded into disgust when we thought about what kind of chemical reactions were taking place in our stomachs at that very moment. I felt sick.
Although Business Insider claims that there has been an "epic collapse of American soda consumption," it's not uncommon to have friends and family members who drink soda on a regular basis. It may not seem like that big of a deal. After all, people always say, "there are worse things to consume." And that's true to a certain extent. Obviously, it's better than being addicted to something like crack, but believe it or not, the list of things worse than soda is relatively short.
The slew of negative side effects is to blame for that. Drinking soda on a regular basis, for one, affects your weight. CNN reveals that "a 20-ounce bottle of soda would take 5 miles of walking or 50 minutes of jogging to burn off," thanks to the excess calories and sugar. It's common for people to drink soda during the day when they need a caffeine boost. But, believe it or not, it will actually make you more drowsy as soon as the immediate effects wear off. Other short-term consequences include fatigue and bloating. But those aren't necessarily the symptoms you should be worried about.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, "People who consume sugary drinks regularly -- 1 to 2 cans a day or more -- have a 26 percent greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks." High soda intake is also linked to heart disease, and since soft drinks lack calcium and other nutrients, it is also associated with osteoporosis.
Oral health is another area that is affected by soda intake. It's often forgotten, yet it's one of the most common long-term side effects. Huffington Post revealed, "Diet soda can have the same effect on your tooth enamel as methamphetamine or crack cocaine use." Soda intake has even been compared to consumption of battery acid.
Of course, everything is okay in moderation. If you have the occasional Diet Coke, you're not going to immediately gain weight and develop brittle bones. But, just like everything else, if it develops into a habit or addiction it can be dangerous. Try substituting soda for beverages like water, milk or tea. You'll be doing your organs a favor. Not to mention, you'll be more attentive and, in turn, more successful at school or in the workplace.
So the next time you reach for a can of soda, think about the rusty shower--the way it fizzled like a chemistry experiment, tore the rust right off the bottom of the shower. Then think about your stomach (your insides are the rust in this scenario). And if that doesn't disturb you, I don't know what will.