A can of soda may be your preferred pick-me-up during the afternoon at the office, but the truth is it's probably not doing you any favors. While a jolt of sugar and caffeine might give you a temporary boost, the effects will soon wear off, leaving you feeling more sluggish than before. Eating a nutritious diet and drinking plenty of water is a better way to promote long-lasting energy and health.
Sugary sodas are not the key to energy and vitality. In fact, consuming lots of sugar in the form of soda can leave you feeling drained of energy. Simple carbs in sodas are immediately absorbed into your bloodstream, giving you a quick rush of energy, also referred to as a "sugar high." After that initial burst, your blood sugar quickly plummets, leaving you feeling sluggish and tired. Many people fight this by drinking another soda or having a sugary snack. This wildly shifting energy pattern can leave you vulnerable not only to fatigue but also to weight gain, moodiness and depression.
Caffeine is supposed to perk you up, but it can actually end up having the opposite effect. Dr. Mehmet Oz explains that caffeine revs your metabolism, creating a temporary surge, just as sugar does. But once the caffeine is metabolized, you'll experience a "crash." Caffeine can also dehydrate you, and dehydration causes fatigue. If you're drinking lots of soda and not enough water, it's highly likely that you'll become dehydrated and sleepy as a result.
Even if you drink caffeine- and sugar-free soda, however, your habit may still be causing fatigue. Artificial sweeteners, including sucralose, aspartame and saccharin, aren't good for you either. According to registered nurse Donna Cardillo, artificial sweeteners have a range of potential side effects from stomach upset to fatigue, especially when you consume more than moderate amounts. If you're drinking a diet soda that also has caffeine, you may be setting yourself up for double trouble.
Instead of sipping on soda in the afternoon, try a cup of green tea for a pick-me-up. Green tea is a rich source of antioxidants, and it helps hydrate you. It's caffeine content will also give you a little boost. If you're sensitive to caffeine, try ginseng tea. Herbalist and author Brigitte Mars recommends drinking 2 to 3 cups on low-energy days, in between meals. As another option, the natural sugars and complex carbs in a piece of fresh fruit, along with a tall glass of water, will be more effective at nourishing your body and providing energy than the empty calories of a sugary soda.
- Oprah: The Good-Mood Diet
- Psychcentral: Why Sugar Is Dangerous to Depression
- The Dr. Oz Show: The Weird Reasons You’re so Tired
- The Dr. Oz Show: Is Your Diet Soda the Reason You're not Feeling Well?
- Harvard Health Publications: Benefit of Drinking Green Tea
- Bottom Line Publications: Energy in a Cup of Herbal Tea