Reasons to Just Say "No" to Sodas
Heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and alcohol are not the only life-destroying drugs available; soda beverages contain dangerous drugs, too. Actually, these drinks contain a mixture of different chemicals that can do more harm than good, especially for people that experience chronic pain. Make this year the year that you say, "No more sodas."
According to the New York Times: "The first batch of Coca-Cola was brewed in 1886 by John Styth Pemberton, a pharmacist, who described the product as a ‘‘brain tonic and intellectual beverage.’’ The original recipe included coca with cocaine, but the narcotic was removed just after the turn of the century, according to company spokesmen.’’
Yes, the origins of soda drinks can be traced to a pharmacist that wanted to stimulate the brain by creating a mixture that contained cocaine. Despite the removal of the cocaine, though, many more drugs that activate the brain remain in these popular drinks like caffeine, sugar and flavor enhancers. What’s the harm in a few chemicals like these? Plenty. Those that drink sodas regularly have much to worry about when it comes to the effects of the potentially harmful chemicals contained in these beverages.
More and more popular drinks are heavily loaded with caffeine. Rockstar, Red Bull and Mountain Dew are all known to give people an energy boast and, when consumed regularly, these drinks also cause caffeine dependency. The constant ups and downs of a caffeine roller coaster ride cause headaches, insomnia, mood instability and pain. Caffeine is a brain stimulant, a drug that can over-stimulate the brain and sometimes even cause death.
According to a recent news story: "FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg recently said that the agency needs to better understand the role of the stimulant (caffeine), especially on children. The agency is investigating the safety of energy drinks and energy shots, prompted by consumer reports of illness and death. FDA is also looking at caffeine in food as manufacturers have added caffeine to candy, nuts and other snack foods in recent years."
This message was prompted by the death of the healthy 18 year old son of Katie Stiner on May 27, 2014. The cause of death was ruled to be a caffeine overdose when he ingested pure caffeine in powder form. Although the amount of caffeine in his system was far more than seen with normal consumption of caffeinated beverages, those that may be vulnerable to the harmful effects of this chemical, like those with chronic pain, might want to avoid it.
What about sugar in soda? Is sugar a drug? You bet. Sugar is one of the original drugs that used to be only available by prescription as noted in Bittersweet: The Story of Sugar by Peter Macinnis. This drug not only stimulates the brain and causes dependency, it also harms the body in other ways. Has anyone died from a sugar overdose? Yes, people die everyday from complications caused by diabetes, a disease hallmarked by the harmful effects of frequent blood sugar spikes and consistently high blood sugar levels. Now that our society is chemically-numb to sugar, it is available in every market in the world, usually in a soda product.
Anyone who is experiencing pain should be extra cautious about avoiding anything that contains sugar because sugar promotes inflammation and inflammation leads to pain. That is why one of the keys to an Anti-Inflammatory Diet is to avoid sugary foods. In addition to sugar, sodas contain another, lesser known chemical that can lead to more pain, Aspartame. For years, researchers have reported about the potential harmful effects of Aspartame, a flavor enhancer. The effects are primarily seen in the nervous system such as: headaches, depression and blurred vision. This chemical is meant to stimulate the taste buds but it appears to do more than that in some people. Aspartame could even contribute to a painful experience by sensitizing the nervous system in some people.
So, with all this evidence about the potentially harmful effects caused by the chemicals contained in soda, why on earth do people drink it? The caffeine, the sugar and the flavor enhancers may delight the tastebuds and stimulate the brain, but at the risk of pain, disease, and potentially death by poisoning. Isn’t it time to say "No" to sodas and "Yes" to your health?
Christina Lasich, M.D., wrote about chronic pain and osteoarthritis for HealthCentral. She is physiatrist in Grass Valley, California. She specializes in pain management and spine rehabilitation.