Surprising Side Effects of Not Drinking Soda, Say Dietitians
Whether it's a cola with dinner or a lemon-lime soda at the movies, drinking soda is part of everyday life for many Americans. According to Healthy Food America's "Sugary Drinks in America" report, the average American drinks at least one sugary drink per day, with soda being the most popular sweetened beverage in the country.
However, if you're considering ditching those sugary drinks—or have already scaled back—you might just notice more than a few positive changes in your health. Read on to discover exactly what happens to your body when you stop drinking soda, according to dietitians. And if you're eager to slim down, check out these 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.
You may lose weight.
Even if you're not necessarily trying to lose weight, cutting soda out of your diet may lead to you shedding a few pounds anyway. A review of research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found an association between soda consumption and the risk of becoming overweight or obese, indicating that ditching those sugary drinks could help you slim down.
Surprisingly enough, even cutting out diet soda may do the trick.
"Artificial sweeteners have also been linked to weight gain due to the overeating they lead to. Studies have shown that consumers of artificial sweeteners eat more calories in the following meal," says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, from Balance One Supplements.
Your gut health may improve.
A healthy gut microbiome can have positive effects on everything from your energy to your weight—and cutting soda from your diet might just be the best way to improve your gut health.
"Sucralose, which is used in diet sodas, can decrease beneficial bacteria like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. Sugar-sweetened soda can also encourage the growth of certain yeasts and less beneficial opportunistic bacteria in the gut," says Alicia Galvin, RD at Sovereign Laboratories.
You may experience less bloating.
If you're dealing with bloating or other digestive discomforts, dropping those sodas from your diet could be a game-changer.
"Consuming a lot of carbonation can introduce excess gas into the GI tract and lead to more frequent bloating and belching, but cutting soda can help eliminate those unpleasant side effects," says Galvin.
You may keep your blood sugar more stable.
"When you drink sugar-sweetened beverages, the sugar is very quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and can cause chronic elevations in blood glucose and, consequently, insulin levels," says Galvin. "This chronic elevation of blood sugar and insulin can lead to conditions like diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, weight gain around the middle, and elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels."
Your bones may get stronger.
If you're a regular soda drinker, giving up those fizzy drinks may have some major benefits for your bone health.
"Consumption of cola (but not other carbonated drinks) is associated with lower bone density in women according to an osteoporosis study," says Diana Gariglio-Clelland, RD, a staff dietitian with Next Luxury.
Gariglio-Clelland also cites a 2020 study published in the journal Nutrients that found a strong association between high soft drink consumption and fracture.
You may lower your diabetes risk.
Reducing the number of sugar-sweetened beverages you drink can yield seriously positive results if you're attempting to slash your diabetes risk.
"When you consume sugar-laden beverages such as soda, blood sugar levels rise very quickly since liquids are digested so fast," says Gariglio-Clelland. "When blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas is stimulated to release a large amount of insulin at once to help bring blood sugar levels back down. Over time, this can tire the pancreas and lead to insulin resistance, the leading cause of type 2 diabetes."
You may be less likely to develop heart disease.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, but giving up those daily sodas may reduce your chances of developing this deadly condition.
"Soda consumption is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease," says Gariglio-Clelland, citing a 2016 meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, which found that higher intakes of sugar-sweetened beverages increased a person's risk of heart attack, while consumption of diet soda was significantly linked to increased stroke risk.