When I started on my Health Journey 120 day ago, the first thing I knew that I had to do was to give up soda. I was addicted to soda and when I would try to give it up I would just replace it with Sweet Tea (I do live in the South.) I decided to give up all sugary drinks as part of this journey – soda, sweet tea, lemonade, etc. and replace them all with water. This soda that I am holding was in my refrigerator when I made that decision on October 13, 2016 and I have kept it there for the last 120 days as a reminder. I like seeing it in my refrigerator and knowing that I am able to make the choice everyday to have something else instead. I know that I could have the occasional soda and it would not derail me, but this has become a symbol for me of the journey I am on. I could also just toss this last one out, but I love seeing it and knowing that I have beaten this addiction and that I can face my temptation and choose not to give in.
Soda and Obesity
In 2006, several researchers conducted a systematic review of the existing research into the impact of soda on obesity. Some of the key findings include a direct link to weight gain and obesity as well as the potential increased risk of diabetes. The conclusion was that soda provided empty calories that led to eating a greater total amount of calories. At that time, approximately 8%-9% of total energy consumption in both children and adults was from sugary soft drinks. These drinks are not THE problem, but it is certainly clear that they are a PART of the problem. I personally find that sugary drinks and candies make me more hungry and also lead me to want MORE sugar. If you want to read through some of the research studies that are out there, there are 30 studies referenced.
Water and Weight Loss Research
I don’t recall when I became aware of the direct impact of soda on weight gain, but it was certainly something I was aware of for most of my adult life and it was just not something that I chose to address. I did not, however, truly understand the scientific benefits of drinking water. In my research, I found two key points from five specific scientific studies around water:
- Drinking water was shown to increase your metabolic rate by 30% (1, 2)
- Drinking water before a meal reduced calorie consumption in older individuals by 13% and led to greater weight loss (3, 4, 5)
I know that water can get boring and that is why we like drinking other things. If that is what you are thinking, try mixing in fruit flavors (lemon and lime work great) or using carbonated water (or both). With essential oils, you can get a lot of flavor with a single drop in your glass and not have to keep the fruits on hand. Mixing NingXia Red with carbonated water is a refreshing change of pace that adds in lots of additional benefits without adding lots of calories or chemicals.