It shouldn’t surprise any students who love sugar-sweetened soft drinks that they may battle with weight. They may well be undernourished, too, because these sugary sodas contain no essential nutrients. What they do contain is plenty of added sugar and a whole lot of calories.
These soft drinks are a major contributor to obesity, but other related health problems too. We look at some of the ways these drinks can impact your health.
For starters, what are soft drinks?
They are beverages that are not alcoholic and which are most times carbonated. Coffee and tea are not described as soft drinks. Soft drinks include still drinks, carbonated drinks, juice drinks, fruit juices, sports and energy drinks, and bottled water.
These soft drinks have edible acids in them, artificial sweetening agents, artificial flavors and sometimes a bit of juice. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), they have 40g more sugar than the recommended maximum daily limit for children. They offer no nutritional value. They suppress the appetite, which means students are less likely to want to eat decent food as they are no longer hungry.
They are drinks that have even been banned from schools in Britain and France, and there are also several US states that ban soft drinks in schools.
Soda can be harmful to a student’s brain
The American Heart Association tells us that students up to the age of 18 should not be having more than six teaspoons of sugar a day, and yet a 12oz can of soda has ten teaspoons of sugar – that’s more than your quota for the day.
A study conducted by the University of California tells us that consuming too many soft drinks can have a major impact on brain function and impair the ability to concentrate and learn. It doesn’t just affect the brain in terms of learning. These soft drinks can increase moodiness, allergies and headaches.
The trouble with them is that they are addictive and can also create a physical dependence on them and drinking more of them can upset the normal balance of neurochemistry in the young brains of students.
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Guard your heart
Lifestyle choices such as opting to drink plenty of soft drinks and incorrect eating habits increase the chances of developing fatal heart conditions. A Harvard University study has found that just one soft drink a day of 350ml can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 19%.
Students particularly, eat at the dining room and have access to soda with every meal, some starting at breakfast already. They don’t seem to realize that these drinks are linked to the increased risk of heart disease. In fact, you just have to do research and you “ll see that many studies link beverages to ill health effects.
The heart is a fragile organ and even young students should be worried about the risk of coronary artery disease, the number one killer of people in the United States. Simply by reducing soft drinks soda consumption, a person can keep their triglyceride and good cholesterol at healthier levels.
Soft drinks and oral decay
The way oral decay sets in with soft drinks is that the sugars in these drinks interact with bacteria in the mouth, which then forms acid.
Each time you take a sip, your teeth are under attack. Erosion and cavities will be your lot.
Erosion starts when the acids in these soft drinks reduce the surface hardness of the enamel. Damage to tooth enamel can encourage cavities and the damage can start within 20 minutes of downing a soft drink.
Break the habit of having soft drinks before bedtime, because not only will the sugar and liquid likely keep you up throughout the night, both the sugar and acid will have the entire night to work on damaging your teeth.
Soft drinks and obesity
Obesity has been recognized as one of the risk factors for heart disease. It is also one of the strongest risk factors for non-insulin dependant diabetes. Being overweight or obese occurs because adolescents are getting too many calories from the soft drinks they consume.
The more soft drinks they consume, the greater their caloric intake and weight gain will be. Health consequences of obesity include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, coronary plaque formation, chest infections and psychological problems, including poor body image.
Obesity in young people is increasing and it’s a major global health concern. In can lead to mental issues too because there is an active stigma associated with being overweight, even from family and friend. Being overweight and obese is linked to negative physiological and psychological consequences, including loss of self-esteem and depression.
Everybody knows how hard it is to give up something you love. That is why you shouldn’t set unrealistic expectations. Sugar releases a strong dopamine release than whole foods, and this is what causes those cravings. If you “re concerned about your health as a young student, make healthy changes starting today. Get into the habit of drinking more water and try to find a soft drink alternative.
Vendy Adams worked in the corporate sector for a long time and then decided to make a career move to the writing field. She loves helping students with thesis and dissertation work and plans to build a solid career in this line of work. In her free time, she loves writing poems, taking language classes and practicing yoga.