In the early 1980’s high fructose corn syrup replaced plain sugar as the sweetener in soda. It is cheap to produce and that has resulted in extremely cheap pricing for sodas like Coca Cola and Pepsi in the supermarket.
But cheap isn’t always good. Americans have increased their consumption of soft drinks from 23.3 gallons to 54 gallons per person per year. This increase has created a health crisis. High fructose corn syrup quickly enters your bloodstream and triggers hormonal and chemical changes that make you feel even hungrier, leading to weight gain and associated disorders.
According to Mark Hyman, MD, author of Ultrametabolism, there’s a quick surge of insulin when you consume high fructose corn syrup. This surge signals your brain to eat more and your fat cells to store more fat. If you've been thinking that a can of soda will be enough to curb your appetite, think again. Studies show the opposite is true.
The normal controls on appetite are not activated when you eat foods and beverages containing high fructose corn syrup. When high fructose enters your cells, it causes a spike on both your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Coupling that with the hormonal and chemical changes that make you feel even hungrier, consumers of soda place themselves at high risk for elevated cholesterol, triglycerides and weight gain.
Diet soda is not better, and may actually be more harmful. With its sweet flavor, the brain can mistakenly think you have a need for insulin release to stabilize the perceived sugar. With no real sugar there, the brain will signal your appetite hormones and you will be hungry. Psychologically it can also lead to overeating. If you are someone who counts calories, you may fool yourself into thinking that sugar fee soda is a free pass so you go ahead and eat more food.
Drink water when you are thirsty. For variety, drink 100% fruit juice diluted with 50% water, or place lemon or lime slices in your glass. When you stay hydrated with water instead of soda, you will have more energy and won't have sugar and hunger cravings triggered by soda.