Sugar-laden beverages have become an epidemic in our country. The average American drinks about 56 gallons of soda every year. Many children drink sugary drinks more than water. Instead of natural juices, we serve what is essentially flavored sugar-water.
Many of these drinks provide little-to-no nutritional value. Sodas offer the body nothing. They can even dehydrate you. Drinking a soda may feel refreshing, but that feeling is misleading.
Even flavored juices provide very little. The juice flavor comes from concentrate, which means the fruit is squeezed, pasteurized, filtered and evaporated to remove anything that might spoil. Then, some of the essences and oils are added back to return the flavor. Unfortunately, this strips the juice of most of its nutritional value. Manufacturers will then add a flavor pack to ensure that all their juices taste the same. (The flavor pack is largely sugar.)
1. Sugar isn’t quite a toxic chemical. It has its place in cooking and careful consumption can negate its effects, but it’s worth noting. A single 8 oz. can of soda or juice can contain 10 teaspoons of sugar. Excessive sugar (especially in its liquid form: high fructose corn syrup) increase blood sugar and forces an insulin reaction, which over time leads to diabetes.
When it’s not burned as energy (which most of it isn’t because there is just so much), sugar is stored as fat. Sugar is the primary reason for the obesity problem in this country. Children who drink soda before the age of twelve are far more likely to have weight problems later in life than children who wait until their bodies have mostly developed before trying it.
2. That high fructose corn syrup I mentioned is also worrisome. As you can imagine, it comes from corn, which is usually genetically modified so producers can make vast quantities of it quickly. Genetically modified crops have only been around since the early 90’s, which means there are no long-term studies on the effects.
3. If you thought diet sodas were safer, you would be wrong. Aspartame is used as a sugar substitute, but it’s linked to a lot of health problems, like multiple sclerosis, seizures, diabetes, mental and emotional health disorders, tumors, and of course… obesity. At warm temperatures (like inside our bodies), it converts to methanol, which breaks down into formaldehyde.
4. Phosphoric acid disrupts the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Over time, this can lead to osteoporosis and bone softening. It also affects the stomach acid. Essentially, this toxin makes it harder for your body to collect nutrient from other sources.
5. Caffeine has been linked to certain types of cancers, especially in women. It can cause an irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure. While the long term effects of caffeine aren’t as bad as sugar (many people drink tons of coffee), it’s still not advisable for long-term consumption.
6. 4-methylimidazole or 4-MEI is the caramel coloring in most sodas that forms during the cooking process. It’s a known carcinogen that’s related to cancer. It’s so dangerous that California forced the big bottling companies to change the formulas of the products they sell in that state in order to avoid putting cancer labels on their products.
Water, of course, is the best thing you can drink. But sometimes we want to enjoy a little flavor on our tongues. That doesn’t mean we should resort to harmfully-flavored drinks, however.
A simple way to add flavor to your water is to infuse it with fruit. I enjoy a citrusy taste, myself, so I like to add lemons and limes to my water for a refreshing tartness. The best part about flavored water is that it actually quenches your thirst, unlike sugary drinks.
Simply find a large-sized jug or Mason jar. Slice up some limes and lemons (you can decide how much of each depending on your taste). Drop the fruit to the bottom of the jar and bury them in ice. Press down firmly to squeeze the juice out of the fruit.
You can drink it right away, but the flavor will be expressed the best after an hour, and even more the next day. Make sure to make enough for your guests. Even though it’s just water, it still tastes like a treat!
Guest Blog by Pooja Songar, Founder of Cutie Bees
Pooja Songar is a mom of 2 kids, ages 4 and 2 years, an IT professional (an Engineer) who has worked for Fortune 11 companies. After her first child struggled with skin rashes and eczema, Pooja learned about the issue of chemicals in baby clothing and their harmful health effects. Since then she has become an advocate for non-toxic living and is the inventor of the trendy, non-toxic baby clothing line, Cutie Bees.
Cutie Bees chic wardrobe ensembles are for little ladies and gentlemen on the go, whose outfits reflect not only their personalities, sense of fun but also mom’s sense of style. Visit http://www.cutiebees.com.
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