soft drinks

Just when you thought we couldn’t climb any higher…

Let’s be honest with ourselves, we’re getting fatter year after year. With every sugar drink and super-sized soda consumed, we hobble yet another step higher up the fat chain. Staying lean and toned from our workouts becomes more and more of a distant dream.

But climbing up the fat chain represents more than the expanding state we are in. The fat chain not only shows us that we occupy the very top of this top-heavy hierarchy, but it also tells us how we arrived there.

The fat chain is also a chain of events that leads us to arrive at the state we are in. It’s a repeating cycle, or a chain reaction that only becomes harder to stop with time.

This is because getting fat isn’t something that “happens” to anybody. Nobody rolls out of bed in the morning to suddenly find themselves overweight. Instead, we slowly climb the chain link by link. Whenever it seems that the top of the chain is reached, we add another link and climb a bit higher.

These tiny links accumulate slowly, day by day, over time. We can add these links in so many ways, but we are hardly conscious of the links we add through what we drink. And most people aren’t aware of the triple hit that our system takes when we drink soft drinks.

The good news is that gravity is on our side. No matter how high we climb, replacing the junk we drink with better choices helps us to slowly begin sliding back down the fat chain.

The hidden links of the fat chain

So many dietary trends have failed to curb our procession up the fat chain. The old diets with high carbs and low fat failed us, so we have switched to very low-carb diets, only to find ourselves fatter again. In spite of every weight-loss tactic we can devise, there is one indicator that has closely mirrored our weight gain.

That indicator is our consumption of soft drinks. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans consumed nearly four times more milk than we did soda at the midpoint of the 20th century. Today, the ratio is almost completely reversed, and our weight has increased to match it.

All that soft drink consumption packs a triple punch on our system. The first and most obvious hit that we take is in the number of calories consumed.

Each can of soda contains 139 calories. How many of us drink more than a can of soda in a single day (probably a lot)? Even worse, an extra large coke can contain 400 calories.

So let’s put these numbers into perspective. That 400 calorie coke would require about 35 minutes of aerobic activity to burn off for a 150 pound person. Keep in mind that that is on top of the burger and fries, or whatever other junk you ate with it.

Put quite simply, soda doesn’t fill you up. You might be drinking your calories away and not even realize it. Eating a slice of cake causes you to feel somewhat fuller and leads you to consume less calories from other sources (please don’t binge on cake because we said this).

When you drink soda, on the other hand, there is little or no feeling of fullness. The calories you eat aren’t slowed down to match the calories you just drank, so you climb one link higher up the fat chain.

Yes, it gets worse. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate, and especially when it is in liquid form, it is absorbed into the blood stream very rapidly. This is what gives you the sugar high that you feel afterwards.

Your body then releases a hormone called insulin. One function of insulin is to control cellular intake of certain substances. So when you drink a large amount of sugar, your body has to do something with it, so it sends insulin to remove the sugars from your blood stream and try to place them where they belong.

But since your blood sugar is high, your body over-reacts and insulin levels spike. This spike in insulin now causes your body to remove too much sugar from your blood stream, and you crash down to a low point.

Guess what happens when you’re at this low point? The hunger cravings kick in and this is when the binging happens. You go for more sugary foods, and then the big fat chain reaction happens all over again.

Removing the Source of the Problem

The only solution is to remove the cause. Now that you know about the triple hit that your body takes when you consume sugary drinks, you’ll be more likely to do something about it. Your workouts will have a bigger payoff as the fat on top of your muscles is slowly removed.

But just taking care of yourself isn’t enough. It does little to make the world a better place. Spread the word to your friends and those who are trying to lose weight, and help them to kick the soda-drinking habit.

By helping to change those around you, you will also be changing your own surroundings, and this will help to get you sliding back down the fat chain.