Posts Tagged ‘pH balance’

You’ve all heard the statement “eat calories, don’t drink them”, and for the most part, that’s an accurate statement – especially if you have a rather sedentary lifestyle or if you are trying to shed a few pounds.  That statement is NOT accurate, however, if you are choosing diet sodas as your main beverage. For many reasons, you are better off drinking calories than that mess of chemicals. (Any soda is bad, and while I have somewhat focused on the diet ones here, you’ll find that the ingredients listed below are found in regular soda, as well.)

But wait,” I hear in the back. “I’m on a diet. I don’t want to consume all those extra calories. What’s wrong with my diet soda? I thought it was better to drink the diet stuff.”

I’m SO glad that you asked!

First, a show of hands….how many of you drink a soda (diet or not) every day? How about every week?

Goodness. That’s quite a sea of hands.

How many of you drink water, tea, juice and/or milk every day? How about every week?

Oh dear. I only saw a couple of hands that time.

Well, as usual, let’s start at the beginning. This list of ingredients is typical in DIET soda: carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, caffeine, aspartame, potassium benzoate and citric acid.

Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Let’s look at each one individually.

Carbonated Water – This is plain water in which carbon dioxide gas under pressure has been dissolved, thus causing effervescence. I’ve done quite a bit of reading, and this water is not necessarily unhealthy. I won’t say that is healthy, either, because I can’t seem to find anything nutritious about it (you get nothing from it that you can’t get elsewhere), but it doesn’t appear to cause or be linked to any issues. Click here to read a very informative article about carbonated water that separates fact from fiction.

High Fructose Corn Syrup – This is a whole blog topic right here, so I’ll try to be brief (I have mentioned this in previous posts, as well). This sweetener is derived from corn, but don’t be fooled – just because it comes from a natural grain does not make it healthy. Basically, in the 70’s, two things happened;  the price of real sugar went up because of tariffs and quotas, AND corn growers started losing money because their corn oil (that had been used in margarines and shortenings) was being replaced by soybeans. Do you see a money theme surfacing? You should – corn is not only cheap to grow, but the corn growers are also subsidized by our government (ah…another entire blog topic). High fructose corn syrup is pure glucose until enzymes are added to change it to fructose. It’s found in EVERYTHING these days, unfortunately. Consistent consumption leads to obesity (Princeton has done research to confirm this over and over), type 2 diabetes, elevated triglyceride and HDL levels, liver/gallbladder/kidney damage and mercury exposure.  If you see this ingredient in something, put it back on the shelf!

Caramel Color –  This is basically burnt sugar that is created from adding ammonia and sulfites to heated carbohydrates, and it has been around since the 1800’s (possibly 1700’s). Again, just because it’s been around a while does not make it automatically safe. There is much debate over whether it can be linked to causing cancer (it has in some lab rats), and in a study done by the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, it was shown to diminish the immune system function (weaken it, essentially). There is also argument that is contributes to ADD in children.

Phosphoric Acid – Phosphorus is a mineral, and next to calcium, is the most abundant mineral in the body. It works with calcium to strengthen bones and teeth, but it’s also present in the cells and tissue. It helps filter out waste in the kidneys, and it helps balance other vitamins and minerals in the body. Well, that sounds pretty good. So, this acid must be healthy, right? Wrong. Phosphates (salt from phosphorus) are combined with sulphuric acid (created from burning sulfur) to make phosphoric acid.

Let’s look at sulphuric acid for a moment. It is highly corrosive, and it is mainly used in the industrial field in the manufacture of inorganic and organic acids, electronics, batteries, synthetic drugs, technical gasses; it’s an important laboratory reagent; a nitrating, sulfonating, pickling and drying agent; used in preparing soluble phosphates. I searched for two days to try to find a difference between “food grade” sulphuric acid and “non food grade”. Turns out, “technical grade sulphuric acid” – the grade that is used in fertilizer, dyes, detergents and paints – is the same kind that gets put into food. Now, don’t get this confused with pure sulfur – your body needs that to function properly. Once it’s converted to an acid, however, it’s a different story.

Back to the phosphoric acid. I looked up the difference between “food grade” and “industrial grade” phosphoric acid, and they share the same molecular formula and weight. A couple of the numbers were different, but not by much. Industrial grade has more arsenic in it – yes that’s right – that means that food grade has arsenic present. It’s minute, BUT, if someone told you there was a “minute” amount of rat poison in your morning muffin, would you still eat it?? (Keep in mind that while the actual amount might be considered minute, people drink soda by the GALLONS, which means those minute amounts are not so minute, anymore.) Also, fluoride (see previous blog) appears in the food grade.

In addition, phosphoric acid can pull calcium from your bones. When soda is drank too often AND when the body does not have enough calcium (which most of ours don’t), the high phosphoric acid content pulls calcium from the bones in order to process it. It also weakens your teeth, because the acid does not discriminate from where it pulls the calcium from.

Caffeine – Did you know that caffeine occurs naturally? It’s found in coffee beans, regular beans, leaves, kola nuts, tea bushes, guarana berries and some fruits. It works as a natural pesticide for plants. Since it was first isolated from a coffee bean back in 1820 by a German chemist and then in 1821 by a French chemist, it was named ‘caffeine’ after the French word for coffee; ‘cafe’, and the German word for coffee; ‘kaffee’.  Many of us think we “need” our coffee  to help wake us up (because of the caffeine content). I have maybe half a cup in the morning, but honestly, I feel no different after drinking it. The *only* thing that helps wake me up is TIME. While it’s been shown that caffeine can have some positive attributes, it’s also been shown to have negative ones. Click here to read a little more about it. Simply put, the less you have, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

Aspartame – I touched briefly on this in another blog. STAY AWAY FROM ASPARTAME AND OTHER SYNTHETIC SWEETENERS! I can’t stress that enough. Dr. Mercola has a fabulous explanation of the ingredients that are mixed to create aspartame, AND he goes into detail about what each one does to the body here. Please take a minute and read it to understand what these poisons are doing to your body. Here is another site that gives you a list of all the side effects from ingesting aspartame. If you really want to delve more into it, go here; it will keep you busy for hours. Anyone that tells you aspartame is safe is either getting a kickback from the distributors OR they’ve not taken the time to research it. It is poisonous to your body, period.

Potassium Benzoate – Potassium, in and of itself, is necessary for your body – potassium ion to be exact. This is found in certain foods like bananas, orange juice and potatoes. Potassium benzoate is the salt of benzoic acid. Benzoic acid is made from partial oxidation of toluene with oxygen. Toluene is commonly known as an industrial solvent, and it is a benzene derivative. Benzene is a highly flammable liquid and a KNOWN CARCINOGEN. It’s mainly used in rubber, dyes and solvents. Want to read about the FDA admitting that benzene IS in soft drinks and that it IS a carcinogen? Go here. Do they put it in soft drinks?  No. It forms when ascorbic acid (NOT to be confused with pure vitamin C) has a reaction to the potassium benzoate in heat and light.

Citric Acid – Did you know that most citric acid in the food industry is not extracted from citrus fruit, but fermented by Aspergillus niger mold (one of the most dangerous molds that causes black mold on plants and causes fungal ear infections in humans, among other respiratory issues) from scrap molasses, waste starch hydrolysates (partial hydrolysis of starch that makes sugar) and phosphoric acid (remember all that bad stuff you just read)? Also, often times sulphuric acid is used in that cocktail (you just read about that, too). It’s found naturally in citrus fruits, of course, but the additive that shows up in your food is not natural. It’s produced synthetically from cultures of cheap, sugary solutions. Consumption of too much citric acid additives in foods can cause stomach cramps or pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, increased sweating and swelling, and pain in the abdominal or stomach area. Citric acid – either in synthetic or natural form – can break down the enamel on your teeth, as well as cause chronic sore throats and mouth ulcers. Ladies, too much citric acid (real or synthetic) can also lead to a yeast infection.

So, there you have it my fellow harbingers. Every time you consume soda, you’re drinking ALL of that stuff. I’ll admit that I usually have one soda once a week, but after doing the research for this blog, I’m not sure when I’m going to have another soda. Personally, I don’t want to drink all of those chemicals that are certainly doing nothing good for my body. During the week, I drink a rotation of milk, juice, water and tea. I encourage you all to start drinking more nutritious beverages.

Alrightie, now that we know the ingredients, what they’re made out of and what they can cause, let’s look at diet soda as a whole. The question begs to be asked – does diet soda actually make you lose weight?

This is a highly debated question, but the most recent studies show that it can cause you to not only NOT lose weight, but that you can gain weight.

But wait,” I hear. “Diet soda has no calories, so if you cut calories out of your diet, how could you possibly gain weight?”

Again, I’m SO glad that you asked!

True, *IF* you’ve been downing four to five cans of soda a day, switching to diet will cut your calorie intake, and you might find that over a few months, you might lose a few pounds. However, that effect will not last long term. After years of consuming diet soda, that weight you initially lost you will more than likely gain back. In fact, there is a 41% increase in risk of being overweight for EVERY can of bottle of diet soda a person consumes each day. Why?

The consumption of artificial sweeteners and no calories confuse the body. There are chemical triggers in the brain that tell us when we’re hungry and when we’re full. Diet soda confuses these triggers, and instead of being satisfied and sending signals to stop eating, they do the opposite – they send signals to continue looking for food. Over time, you can gain weight because your brain is telling you that you’re hungry, so you seek more food – usually starchy, fatty foods – and there are the extra pounds.

The caffeine in the soda also adds to this. Caffeine is a natural diuretic, so the more soda you drink, the thirstier you become, so you drink even more soda. It’s a vicious cycle that repeats itself. The more you drink, the more messed up the food chemicals in the brain become, so the more you eat.

The acids in the soda affect your pH balance, as well, and that can lead to a whole host of other problems. pH measures the acidity or basicity (alkali) in our bodies.  Ever seen litmus paper change colors? That’s because it’s reacting to either too much acid in the body or not enough. Drinking too much soda introduces more acid to your body, which forces it to try to neutralize those acids, and then it throws your balance off because your body is forced to take minerals from vital organs and bones in order to remove it. The range is 5 (acid) to 9 (alkaline); the healthy range for humans is between 6 – 7.5. The body naturally strives for this balance, but if it has to work too hard, the body becomes compromised. Most who have an unbalanced pH are too acidic, which can cause cardiovascular damage, weight gain, diabetes, bladder/kidney infections, acceleration of free radical damage, premature aging, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, digestion/elimination issues and yeast overgrowth. Here is an informative site for more about this topic.

For a list of dangerous food additives in food, go here.

And for the love of all things healthy, PLEASE PLEASE ignore the commercials paid for by the Corn Refiners Association that try to sell you on the misconstrued fact that “your body can’t tell the difference” between high fructose corn syrup and regular sugar. It’s a bold-faced LIE. Your body can certainly tell the difference between the two, and anyone who has diabetes or other sugar-related issues can tell you that. Click here for an in-depth explanation as to how these sugars are processed. Don’t believe the hype!!

I sincerely hope you will rethink your next soda, whether it be diet or not. There is absolutely NOTHING nutritious about it, and the dangerous chemicals used to make it are a hazard to your health. As most other health issues, you might not see effects right now, but they are cumulative, and they will show up one day, possibly when it’s too late. Don’t wait for anything life threatening to happen. Make better choices starting today. Be good to your body – it’s the only one that you’ve got!!


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Patsy L Holden M.A.

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