What Are the Benefits of Not Drinking Soda?

Soda is certainly far from the optimal health drink. Even though most people are well aware of the risks that a high soda consumption can pose, many still believe that drinking soda regularly isn't a big deal. Actually, there are a plethora of benefits in refraining from this sugary drink. If you are a regular soda drinker, consider kicking the habit for better health.

Soda is a source of empty calories. (Image: Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)

Ditch Soda, Drop Pounds

Avoiding soda can help with weight loss. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Weight loss is right up there when it comes to the benefits of avoiding soda. One 12-ounce can of cola contains around 140 calories, while a 32-ounce big gulp soda has 364. Even if you just have one regular can of soda each day, that equates to an extra 51,110 calories per year. In other words, that's enough calories to put on 14.6 pounds of fat.

Live Long and Prosper

Soda is filled with sugar. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Sugar-sweetened drink consumption correlates with early death. Around one in every 100 deaths from obesity-related illness is caused by soda, according to Gitanjali Singh, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, commenting on research presented at an American Heart Association conference in March 2013. Many people don't account for drinks when thinking about calorie consumption, so they often consume more calories than they're aware of.

Drink Your Way to Diabetes

The sugar, along with the calories contained in soda, can increase your risk of developing diabetes. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, people who drink one to two cans of soda per day have a 26 percent greater chance of developing type-2 diabetes than those who abstain from sugary drinks. The American Diabetes Association, however, states that simply drinking soda won't directly cause diabetes. Instead, regular consumption and the added calories and carbohydrates can increase your risks of developing the disease.

Bypass the Bypass

Soda and caffeine can increase blood pressure. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Forgoing the soda could be a surefire way to avoid heart problems later in life. The added sodium and caffeine contained in each soda pop can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, notes Dr. Mary Ann McLaughlin of the cardiac health program at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. Both sodium and caffeine can cause a dehydrating effect and potentially increase blood pressure, blood glucose, triglyceride levels and abdominal girth -- all of which are risk factors for heart disease. The average 12-ounce can of soda has 30 milligrams of sodium and 38 milligrams of caffeine.

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