As I’ve said before, I’m not a pop drinker. (I’m Midwestern-raised. It’s pop, dang it.)

I can remember the days when I used to drink a two-liter a day, though. I mean, it was so cheap and easy. Whenever I was thirsty, I’d just go ahead and grab another giant glass of pop. I still have the glass I used to use to drink my pop – a big white thermal 20oz cup.

I think about the calories I wasted drinking soda, and I cringe.

Let’s start off with a little basic math. One serving of pop is 8oz, or 1 cup. If there are 8oz in a measured cup, then 20 oz is the equivalent of two and a half cups of soda in one sitting. If each 1 cup serving of pop is 97 calories, then two and a half cups of pop is 242 calories. If I did that three times a day, that’s 728 calories alone that I’m drinking. Each day.

728 calories a day in soft drinks multiplied by 365 days a year that I was drinking it gives me a total of 265,720 calories. Divide that by 3500 (the number of calories in a pound), and that’s 75lbs in a year that I contended with… all over a salty sugary drink.

Let’s take a look at the nutritional value of the soft drink.

There is none.

No, really. Carbonated water. High fructose corn syrup. Caramel color. Phosphoric acid. “Natural flavors.” Caffeine.

Not nary an item in that list offers any nutritional value. Sure, there’s “corn” in there, but it’s been so thoroughly processed that the only thing remaining from the corn itself it its sweetness… and trust me, there’s a ton of it in there.

Check out that phosphoric acid, though. This is the same stuff that’s an ingredient in your rust removal products. Yes, it’ll clean your hammer, your nails and any other rusty tools. It also gives your favorite soft drink its tangy bite, so drink up.

Do you know how much sugar (read: high fructose corn syrup, because that is the source of sugar in a soft drink, nowadays) is in a soft drink? Approximately 30g per serving. So, since we’re multiplying everything by 2.5 (since, if you drink a big bottle of coke a day, you’re drinking 20oz which is 2.5 servings), you’re getting 75 grams of sugar in each bottle.

Look at it like this: since each teaspoon of sugar is 4.2 grams, you’re getting a little under 18 teaspoons of sugar in each bottle. I was doing this three times a day. If my math is correct, that’s a little more than one cup worth of sugar each day. Yummy.

What do we know about sugar? Well, let’s address the digestive aspects, first:

Sugars are digested in one step. An enzyme in the lining of the small intestine digests sucrose, also known as table sugar, into glucose and fructose, which are absorbed through the intestine into the blood. – [source: NIDDK]

Taken from my own high fructose corn syrup rant, comparing table sugar to high fructose corn syrup:

You and I BOTH know that it doesn’t require an MD to be able to study and understand a pros and cons list. If I show you a list that says “fattening,” and another list that says “leaves you prone to diabetes, inflates your appetite, and apparently can be linked to high blood pressure,” you’re going to be able to easily identify which one is going to leave you worse off, right?

Do you need to explain to someone that High Fructose Corn Syrup fiddles with leptin, a hormone in the human body that aids in regulating the appetite, in a way that prevents you from being able to control your hunger? Do you need to be able to explain to someone that HFCS screws with your body’s ability to process insulin? (Just in case you’re wondering, that works like this: since HFCS is metabolized as fat quicker than regular sugar once it hits your liver, this process triggers something called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This process leads to insulin resistance and type II diabetes.) It isn’t enough that you know something makes you uncomfortable and you don’t want to partake in it. You have to be a doctor now to speak ill of it?

Because the excessive amount of sugar in a single 20oz bottle of soda is converted directly into fat into the system, and because the forceful impact of sugar to your system affects your body’s ability to properly gauge its hunger levels (as evidenced above), soft drinks directly contribute to your risk of becoming overweight.

And as I’ve written before, Princeton said:

Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides.

[…]

“When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.” – [source]

As any clean eater knows, soft drinks break two cardinal rules of clean eating: no highly processed foods, and always get the most out of your food choices. Take advantage of the nutritional values of the foods you love and if something you love offers you nothing in return naturally, then it’s time to let it go.

A drink with absolutely no nutritional value, that can clean the rust off your shower head,  that aids your body in losing the ability to control its appetite, that aids your body in losing its sensitivity to sugar and developing insulin resistance…?

Just drink some water, already. Jeez. (Oh, and you diet drinkers? I’ve got somethin’ for y’all, too.)