Whether you’re thinking about the sugar content, fat content, or the types of preservatives in your food, it’s always a good idea to know what you’re putting in your body!
In terms of the sweetness of your soda, there are approximately 40 grams of refined sugar in a 12 oz soft drink, which equals about 10 teaspoons of sugar. Colas generally have 9-10 teaspoons of sugar, while orange sodas are an even sweeter choice with closer to 13 teaspoons per 12 oz.
If you are a teen stuck on soda, keep in mind that health professionals agree that it is important not to go too overboard when it comes to soda and sugar consumption. Since high sugar foods and drinks contain a lot of calories, it is possible to consume more calories from these foods than is necessary to achieve a healthy weight. Over time consuming more calories than is necessary can lead to obesity, which increases your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. And foods with high sugar content, such as sodas, can also promote tooth decay.
In addition to considering the effects of the sugar content in sodas, it is also important to be aware of the stimulant and diuretic effects associated with caffeinated sodas. Higher doses of caffeine can contribute to anxiety, dizziness, headaches, the “jitters,” and can interfere with normal sleep. Caffeine is also addictive and may cause withdrawal symptoms for those who abruptly stop their caffeine consumption (withdrawal symptoms can include headaches, muscle aches, irritability, fatigue, and temporary depression). The diuretic effects of caffeine refer to the changes that can occur with the kidneys as a result of caffeine consumption. Caffeine increases the blood flow in the kidneys and simultaneously inhibits sodium and water from being reabsorbed. Caffeine can also weaken the detrusor muscle in the bladder, which provokes the need to urinate more frequently.
For many teens soda as become a less nutritious substitute for other drinks that better nourish and hydrate the body (such as milk and water). So to generally stay fit, and to keep those pearly whites as white as possible, make sure to include milk and plenty of water in your daily beverage choices – and think “moderation” when it comes to soda and sugar-filled foods!