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Soda and Diabetes: Food for the Disease

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Are you one of the 25.8 million people who suffer from Diabetes?  If so, would you feel comfortable telling your physician that you really enjoy eating at least 10 teaspoons of sugar every day with lunch?  Would your physician approve if you only ate your 10 teaspoons of sugar every few days?  My guess is, NO!  If you are pretty sure that eating 10 teaspoons of sugar in one sitting would be detrimental to your disease and health then it is time to put down the soda.  For good! 


I know.  It is hard.  You REALLY like the taste of your favorite soda and you would really miss it.  However, poorly managed diabetes can take away around 8 years of your life.  Is the soda really worth it?  Allow me to break down what happens to your body every time you enjoy one of your favorite sodas.

Elevated Glucose Levels

One can of soda has around 39 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to about 10 teaspoons of sugar.  For a person who has diabetes (Type 1 or 2), their blood sugar levels may already be elevated.  Consuming the soda, boosts the blood sugar even more.  Why is high blood sugar bad?  Since your blood is everywhere in your body, damage can happen anywhere.  For example, the pancreas cells will become damaged and this will affect insulin production and over time, the pancreas can become permanently damaged.  High blood sugar hardens the blood vessels that carry your blood and this combined with elevated glucose can cause strokes, heart attacks, kidney damage, blindness, poor circulation, nerve damage and a suppressed immune system.  Do you STILL want your favorite soda?

Hyperosmolar Syndrome

Hyperos-wha?  To sum it up, Hyperosmolar Syndrome comes about when blood sugar levels get REALLY high (600 milligrams per decileter).  When glucose is that high, the blood gets really thick and sticky.  Then, when all of the excess sugar passes into the urine, a filtering process draws a lot of fluid from the body.  As a result, severe dehydration occurs which can cause stroke, heart attack, diabetic coma, or death.  Scary!

High Fructose Corn Syrup

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a sugar substitute and a main ingredient in your favorite soda.  Besides being artificial, HFCS interferes with the way that your body uses some key minerals, namely Chromium.  Chromium helps stabilize blood sugar levels.  HFCS is a double edged sword here – both increasing your glucose levels AND messing with your body’s ability to stabilize the blood sugar.  You might want to take a moment and see all of the other places HFCS could be hiding in your kitchen.

The wound that just won’t heal.

You know what I am talking about, right?  You have a cut on your foot, or leg, maybe even your hand, and no matter what you do it just won’t heal.  I mentioned above that poor circulation is a side effect of diabetes.  Basically, since your blood can’t easily move through your body, it is unable to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the wound.  White blood cells aren’t as efficient either and that increases the risk of infection.  As a result, all of this can amount to amputation.  Personally, I would rather have my legs than a soda.

But I drink DIET soda.  It is OK!

Well, not really.  Diet soda may not have sugar, but it certainly isn’t doing your body good.  All of the harmful side effects aside, a recent study is saying that those who drink diet sodas are MORE likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who drink regular soda.  Say what?  First of all, those who drink diet sodas are drinking MORE diet sodas than those who drink regular soda.  People who regularly consume the artificial sweeteners that are present in diet sodas (aspartame) actually come to prefer sweeter things.  This can lead to sugary binges which in turn increase the risk of developing diabetes.

Also, when you taste that first artificially sweet taste of your favorite diet soda, your body's metabolism may be tricked into thinking sugar is coming and prime digestion accordingly.  Artificial sweeteners aren't real and they may be wreaking havoc on your metabolism.  Stop tricking your body and ditch the diet soda.

I don't have diabetes and my soda and I are BFFs!

You may not have diabetes yet.  A recent study suggests that consuming ONE 12oz sugary beverage per day can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by up to 22%.  A different study showed that 1-per-day soda drinkers had a 20% higher rate of metabolic syndrome.  I think it is time for you to get a new BFF.

GOOD NEWS!  Type 2 diabetes can be REVERSED!

Did you hear that?  You don’t HAVE to have diabetes.  Vibrant health is within your grasp!  A study published in Diabetologia showed that a dramatic diet change reversed many of the effects of diabetes 1 to 8 weeks.  If you have Type 2 diabetes you should be jumping for joy!  An article written by Dr. Mark Hyman breaks down the research much better than I can.  He says:

“What they found was revolutionary. The beta cells—the pancreas’ insulin producing cells—woke up, and the fat deposits in the pancreas and liver went away. Blood sugars normalized in just one week, triglycerides dropped in half in one week and reduced 10-fold in eight weeks. The body’s cells became more insulin sensitive and essentially, in just 8 weeks, all evidence of diabetes was gone and the diabetic patients looked just like the normal controls on all the testing.”

This is fantastic!  But, you can’t have your soda AND ditch diabetes.  So, what will it be?

My Thoughts

I hope you know that I don’t think that drinking soda alone specifically causes diabetes.  I am well aware there are a multitude of factors.  But I am suggesting that if you do have diabetes, drinking soda isn’t helping you.  Yes, you like the taste, don’t want to give it up, its your one guilty pleasure, you only live once, yadda yadda.  But here’s the thing: you do only live once.  Some people think life is too short to give up things you like.  But some things make life shorter.

Please understand that if you do have Type 2 diabetes, you CAN be healthy again.  But it is up to YOU.  You have to CHOOSE health.  An ice-cold soda with your lunch or a step towards vibrant health and longevity?  Baby steps will get you there and quitting your soda habit can be your first step.

And now, I will let The Real Bears break it down for you:


  1. And not to mention the very bad effects of soda on the teeth. I only drink coke as a very rare treat. Many people would do well to avoid soda.

  2. Excellent post! I was so surprised the other day when a new neighbor told me she has a hard time letting go of her daily diet soda from 7/11. I was just stunned. She then said she eats pretty healthy, low fat, low cal, low protein (referring to red meat) and I didn’t know where to start! Not wanting to come off as a nazi, I simply said you know every little bit counts, as long as you take one step at a time, soda was a great place to start for better health! My idea of “normal” health food is so different from some people. I feel like it’s changing but I’m still often surprised!

  3. The link to the study you mentioned does not work, and is in another language. Can you fix that please? I’d like to see what the “radical diet change” is.

    1. Thank you for the heads up! I do not understand why the link does not work any more. i removed it for the time being. The link to the Dr. Hyman article still works and discusses the study at length. Unfortunately, the link he provides is broken as well. However, you still get good information from his summary.

  4. Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him.

    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you
    for sharing!

  5. Such good article.I didn’t know they started to add HCFS to sodas also.
    Although you explained why soda is bad for diabetics health I have seen that some people actually consume it when they have some time of panic attacks.
    It is intersting fact that diet fact is actually more worse which is confirmed in the study.

  6. Excellent article! It makes complete sense, we all are results of the choice we make. If we choose to stay healthy, say no to that soda and it is very good news that type 2 diabetes can be reversed so lots of patients would have a huge incentive to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

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