Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Body and Coca-Cola

What fizzy beverage is enjoyed by half of the U.S. population, contains 10 teaspoons of added sugar, and is associated with several health conditions?  Coca-Cola!  Let’s face it; pop doesn’t really do anything good for our body.  So what exactly is it doing to our body?

According to a British pharmacist Niraj Naik, before a can of coke enters the body, due to it’s high sugar content, it really should make us vomit.  What helps us keep it down is phosphoric acid, which plays down some of the sweetness.  It kind of sounds like our body is trying to warn us! 

Around 20 minutes after drinking the coke, your blood sugar spikes while your liver converts the excess sugar into fat.  40 minutes in and at this point, the caffeine has been absorbed, and you begin to feel the effects.  Your blood pressure increases, pupils dilate, and fatigue is prevented.  5 minutes later, and your body increases its production of dopamine.  This is a neural transmitter that helps to control the pleasure centers of the brain.  Naik points out, this works “physically the same way [as] heroin.”  Think about it, could you just have one can of pop or do you always reach for another one?

60 minutes after you’ve had your pop, just like a kid who has had too much birthday cake, you experience a sugar crash.  The effects from the caffeine are short lived as they begin to wear off and you become tired once again.  At this point, the water from the beverage has completely gone through us and has, unfortunately, taken significant nutrients with it.  Who knew that one beverage could do all that?

1 can of Coca-Cola contains 140 calories, 45mg sodium, and 39g carbohydrates, all in the form of sugar.  The World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar daily, and 1 can of Coca-Cola contains 10 teaspoons.  The Harvard School of Public Health has concluded from a study that people who drink 1-2 cans of sugary beverages daily are 26% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.  Consuming processed food and drinks often, according to Naik, can contribute to higher blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  His advice?  Enjoy small amounts every once in a while by practicing moderation.

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