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Secret Side Effects of Drinking Soda, Says Science

These answers may surprise you.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

It's safe to say that drinking soda on a regular basis may not be the best choice for our overall health. Soft drinks have been known to increase risk of certain cancers, negatively affect our liver, and lead to weight gain from excess sugar. According to the CDC, excessive sugar intake can not only lead to obesity and weight gain, but can also lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

If that's not enough to convince us that slowing down on the sodas may be a good idea, what about the not-so-well-known downsides of drinking soda? Read on to see some of the secret side effects of drinking soda, and for more healthy tips, make sure to check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now

1

You may feel more hungry

soda glasses
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Drinking a soda may satisfy our sugar cravings, but it likely won't satisfy our hunger pangs. In fact, the opposite is true: studies show that soda actually increases our levels of hunger after drinking them.

According to an American Journal of Public Health report, this happens for a few different reasons. For one, soda contains effectively zero nutrients and vitamins, especially protein, so people often report feeling hungry and unsatisfied afterward. Another reason for increased hunger is that soda contains high amounts of fructose, which doesn't lower hunger hormones in the same way that glucose does. A 14-ounce bottle of Coke, for example, has 11.1 grams of sugar, 7.2 of those being from fructose.

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2

You may gain more dangerous fat around your stomach

soda
Courtesy of Coca-Cola

Soda has been linked to increased body fat and weight gain, especially around the stomach area. Our stomachs contain two types of fat, including subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is found under the skin and serves as an important source for regulating temperature, storing energy, and protecting our bones and muscles. Visceral fat is the type of fat that is found in our abdominal area and is known to be more immediately dangerous to our health than subcutaneous fat. Too much visceral fat can raise our blood pressure, increase insulin resistance, and lead to deadly diseases.

According to The Journal of Nutrition, drinking soda was associated with an increase in body fat, specifically dangerous visceral body fat.

RELATED: The Worst Drinks for Belly Fat

3

You may become addicted

pouring soda
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Researchers are beginning to take a deeper look into whether or not sugary drinks, like soda, are truly addictive in nature. A recent 2019 study published in Appetite found that sodas were in fact addictive, especially in adolescent populations.

The study found that the regular soda drinkers experienced withdrawal symptoms when they went three days without having any. Their symptoms included decreased motivation, lower ability to focus, and frequent headaches. As more research is being done toward the addictive qualities of soda and added sugar, it's important for us to check in with ourselves and ask if we may be dependent on these sugary beverages.

4

You may increase your risk of dementia or stroke

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Drinking soda has also been linked to an increased risk of dementia and stroke. A 2017 study published in Stroke looked at the effects of artificially sweetened drink consumption (soda), as well as beverages with added sugar. They found that regularly consuming artificially-sweetened drinks led to a higher risk of multiple types of stroke, as well as multiple types of dementia.

For stroke risk, ischemic stroke was higher than the other types. This type of stroke occurs when an artery leading to the brain is clogged. For dementia risk, soda consumption was associated with an increase in both all-cause dementia and Alzheimer's dementia.

RELATED: 7 Early Warning Signs of Dementia to Never Ignore

5

You may increase your risk of gout

soda
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Gout, which is a form of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid in the body, is a growing problem in the United States. According to a study published in JAMA, women who regularly drink soda have a higher chance of developing gout than women who don't drink soda.

As we mentioned before, soda contains high levels of fructose. This becomes an issue when consumed regularly because fructose is known to increase levels of uric acid in the body. This risk increases even more in people with a history of problems with their urate levels.

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