Why Is Soda Bad for You? Just Two Weeks of Soda Consumption May Boost Your Heart Disease Risk

One of the biggest risks of drinking soda is increasing your chances of developing heart disease.

a glass of soda

Is soda bad for you? You likely know the answer already, but research drives the point home.

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We are often told to watch what we eat, but do you watch what you drink, too? Soda, in particular, is one of the worst drinks for your body. Why is soda bad for you, you might ask? The list is long and ever-expanding. It starts here: Soda consumption is linked to several diseases, including liver disease, diabetes, stroke, and more. (Read more about what soda does to your body here.)

One of the biggest risks of drinking soda is increasing your chances of developing heart disease. Research from a well-publicized 2015 study showed that only two weeks of drinking these beverages can cause your cholesterol and triglyceride levels to skyrocket.

is soda bad for you

Research shows that only two weeks of drinking soda can cause your cholesterol and triglyceride levels to skyrocket.

What the Research Revealed

A total of 85 men and women were assigned to four different groups. For 15 days, the participants were asked to drink beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in an amount that was equal to 0 percent, 10 percent, 17.5 percent, or 25 percent of their total daily calorie requirement. The participants’ blood was tested at the beginning and at the end of the study to assess cholesterol, triglycerides, and uric acid levels, all of which are associated with cardiovascular disease.[1]

The 10 percent, 17.5 percent, and 25 percent groups all exhibited significant increases in cholesterol, triglyceride, and uric acid levels. The more sugar-sweetened beverages consumed, the greater the increase in these risk factors. The group drinking 25 percent of their calorie requirement had an average increase in triglycerides of 37 mg/dL and an average increase in LDL cholesterol 15.9 mg/dL.[1]

Replace Soda with Water, Tea, and Other Healthier Alternatives

This study is not the first to identify a link between sugary beverages and cardiovascular disease risk; there is a wide body of evidence supporting the need for decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage intake in the U.S.[2-6]

Don’t be fooled by diet alternatives; diet soda can be just as bad for you, and might even cause you to gain more weight.

Take Action for Your Health

If you regularly consume soda, you are likely missing out on some of the delicious and nutritious alternative options out there. To quench your thirst, drink plain, filtered water. Most people don’t drink enough water in the first place, and many of us are chronically dehydrated. (See our posts Do You Have Chronic Dehydration? and Confused About How Much Water to Drink? A Myth-vs.-Reality Check.)

If you want more flavor, try carbonated water flavored with lemon or orange. Green tea, pomegranate juice, kombucha, and green smoothies are also great options.

It might be difficult to kick your craving for sodas at first, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly you start to prefer these healthy alternatives.

For more tips on how to quit drinking soda, read more here.

Share Your Experience

Have you ever tried to cut soda out of your diet? Were you successful? Share your tips for quitting soda drinking in the Comments section below.

[1] Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 April. [Epub ahead of print]
[2] Public Health Nutr. 2015 May;18(7):1145-54.
[3] Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013 Jul;16(4):478-84.
[4] Nutrients. 2014 May 23;6(5):2088-103.
[5] Nutr Res. 2014 Jan;34(1):58-65.
[6] Obes Rev. 2013 Aug;14(8):606-19.

Originally published in 2015, this post is regularly updated.

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UHN Staff

University Health News is produced by the award-winning editors and authors of Belvoir Media Group’s Health & Wellness Division. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., with editorial offices in Florida, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, … Read More

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