We all have our guilty pleasures that we give into now and again and that’s perfectly OK, however not all treats are created equal. Although a can of cola is a quick way to get a sugar fix that might not leave you as bloated as a pizza, it could create chemical chaos in your body and derail the rest of your day!
We try to live by the attitude that you can enjoy any food or drink, completely guilt-free if you really fancy it, as long as it’s in moderation. But there’s more and more information to suggest that soda is at least one exception, Coca-Cola in this example. Everyone knows that a can of Coke is loaded with sugar which won’t do your teeth or (your waistline any favours). But the chemical effects that take place in your body after you drink it, might set you up for more than trouble than a trip to the dentist. Here’s what happen:
- In the first 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) Phosphoric acid effects the flavour of the sugar so cuts down on how sweet it tastes to you.
- 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can, into fat.
- 40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate; your blood pressure rises; as a response, your liver puts more sugar back into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain become blocked, preventing drowsiness.
- 45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production, stimulating the pleasure centres of your brain. Similar to other high fat and sugar products such as Oreos that are known to hit your sweet spot
- Around the 60 minute mark: Phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium, and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a boost in metabolism. The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you need to pee.) So you evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium, and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolytes, and water.I t’s likely then you will have gone to the bathroom so you would get rid of any water that was in the Coke that gave you hydration.
- After the 60 minutes: All of these effects then calm down and blood sugar levels start to rapidly decrease. This is when a person would reach for a second soda and the whole cycle would start again. If you don’t have that on hand, it’s likely you’ll look for another sweet and sugary snack to suffice. You may become irritable and/or sluggish and will be followed by a caffeine crash in the next few hours. (As little as two if you’re a smoker.)
Does zero sugar mean zero problems?
I’m afraid not! They don’t fool your brain and can increase your cravings. The bottom line is if a sweet tasting drink is mysteriously lacking any calories, it often contains chemicals, artificial colourings, and artificial sweeteners. All of the above effects also take place and might be even more confusing to your body. You can read more about artificial sweeteners from Andrea’s post here which raises some important issues. You might think that they satisfy your sweet tooth but as they don’t contain any sugar it it doesn’t fill you up in any way and research shows this can mess with the balance of bacteria in your gut which plays an important role in weight regulation.
On the very rare occasion that I reach for soda, I confess that I too would be guilty of grabbing the 0 calorie version as a ‘healthier option’. But not anymore. Instead, I’m going to try sparkling water with fruit when I feel like having some fizz!