I am 22 years old, 5'10" and weight about 170. I have never had weight problems and I feel like I have a pretty good metabolism (perhaps this won't last as I get older). I have never had any medical or dental problems whatsoever, and I've never been a patient at a hospital. I maintain decent dental hygiene as well. I had a two cavities filled when I was really young (7-8 ish), but since have had no cavities and brush regularly enough (usually once a day during the workweek and twice a day on the weekends). I don't have any family history of medical problems of any sort that I am aware of.
About twice a year I prepare for physical fitness tests for the National Guard--each preparation period usually entails me doing a combination of running and jogging for 4-5 miles 3-4 days each week for probably 6 weeks. Once the fitness tests are over and done with, I usually don't do any regular exercise until I need to start preparing for the next fitness test about five months later (these fitness tests are held every 6 months).
Between working full time as a software developer, taking a full-time load of night classes Mondays through Thursdays, drilling once each month, and being involved in church activities on Sundays, I keep quite busy. I'm usually out of the house from 7:45 AM until 10:00 PM. Usually I'll get home, eat dinner with my wife, maybe watch a movie or take care of some errands, and then we'll go to sleep around 1:00 AM. I try to catch up on sleep on Saturdays by just sleeping in, but sometimes Guard drills or other appointments prohibit this.
To keep me feeling decent I've been drinking three 44 oz sodas per day during the workweek (one as I go into work in the morning, a refill at lunch time, and a refill when I leave work for night classes), and I'll have a smaller soda with some meals on the weekend. So considering for the ice volume in the cups and the little bit of soda that mixes with the melted ice that I don't end up drinking, I estimate that I probably drink about 105-106 oz of regular Pepsi each day during the work week and probably around 32 oz of some kind of soda each Saturday. Usually after a few months I'll tire of Pepsi and switch to Coke, and then switch back again after the next few months. I also have been drinking a lot of soda since I was probably 11 or 12---I drank soda daily in middle and high school for lunch, and then usually would have several glasses of soda after school throughout the day (I was a big computer nerd and would spend hours each day on the computer, always with an accompanying soda). This regular consumption at the current volume has been going on for about the last year, and previous to that (when I started my current job) it was probably a bit less (maybe ~ 48-64 oz of soda per day in my previous job).
I feel like I am the only person I know who drinks this much soda. My wife gives me guff sometimes about it, but so far I have not experienced any negative effects (and I have been drinking a lot more soda than anyone I know for the last probably ten years or so of my life). Sometimes I wonder whether this is just because I'm young and sufficient time has not passed for me to be able to discern any negative effects.
My question is this: are there any long-term effects of such soda consumption I should be worried about? I've heard some people remark that one can make him/herself diabetic by consuming too much sugar, but from my cursory research I haven't found anything conclusive on this.
Sorry for the long post, thanks for any feedback.
Last edited by mod-anon; 03-19-2009 at 12:54 AM.
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100oz of soda is a lot of sugar -- probably about 280g or 1120 calories per day. (And most soda sugar is really high fructose corn syrup, which some think is even worse for you than regular sugar when consumed in large amounts.)
Since you said you do not do much exercise except when training for fitness tests, it is likely that your metabolism will go down due to muscle loss. 1120 sugar calories per day from liquids is likely to make you fat, increasing the likelihood of diabetes and other problems aggravated by body fatness. And if you are already diabetic or pre-diabetic, drinking that much sugar calories is to be avoided.
You are lucky that all that soda has not caused more cavities in your teeth.
Even if you limit other food consumption to keep your calories in balance, having half of your calories come from sugar with no other nutrients makes getting a nutritious diet very difficult.
Diet sodas are not that great either; some studies indicate that their sweetness confuse your body into thinking that calories are coming and that when the calories do not come, you may eat more and get fat.
I know a few people who have been lucky and drink 10+ cans of soda a day and haven't had ANY problems, but not everybody is nearly this lucky. Unfortunately there is no easy answer to your question b/c it really depends on your body.
Some people get cavities very easily even with good teeth cleaning and a good diet. Other people can eat lots of candy and sodas and never have a cavity. I understand that it's not easy to make a big change in your soda habits, so I'd say it's best to make sure to keep regular dentist appointments to keep an eye on your teeth. A lot of sugar isn't good for them, so make sure to get regular cleanings and x-rays.
I am a diet soda drinker, but I try to limit myself to 1-2 drinks a day. Studies do show that some people crave more sweets after having diet sodas, but this never happens to me. I can actually be craving something sweet, have a diet soda, and feel happy and not want sweets for the rest of the day. It just depends on your body's own reaction. You may want to experiment some. Try swapping some of those regular sodas for diet and see how you handle it. You can cut out a lot of the extra calories and sugar that way if it works for you.
I've also tried to swap some sodas for a cup or morning coffee or even green ta. I just need that extra boost from caffeine. They have antioxidants, plus I put some skim milk in my coffee and get some calcium.
Be sure that you are getting enough water as well! Too much soda can cause urinary problems and can cause dehydration. Be sure to balance it out. I do know some people who had problems with their urine from only drinking sodas all day.
Studies have also shown that too much soda (diet or regular) may be linked to lower bone density. I'm not too sure how far this study goes, so be sure to have plenty of calcium to keep your bones healthy. The article I read about it said that this was true for any caramel-colored sodas, not the clear ones or other colors.
If anything, I'd suggest trying to slightly lower the amount of soda you have. I know many people who drank lots of it throughout the years and are fine, but there are always those risks of tooth decay, diabetes, obesity, etc. I find that if you are a very active person, you can get away with more sugar/calories, but the typical person probably can not.
Too much caffeine has so many bad effects it's impossible to list them. If you don't have one of your huge sodas during the day I bet you get a headache and feel cranky and listless...right? That's withdrawal symptoms. Plus the fact that you say you need then in order to "feel decent". That's a form of addiction to the caffeine and sugar.
All that sugar can cause insulin resistance which can lead to diabetes and weight gain.
Also, not drinking water, plain old water, can cause constipation and damage to your colon due to being dehydrated. Do you ever wake up feeling like you are hung over, even when you didn't drink any alcohol? That's dehydration. You need water in order for your body to function properly and digest your food well. Many people have waste in their systems that sits there for weeks, causing all kinds of digestive issues that you don't feel until they are really bad. That waste needs water to move along.
You are going to have to wean yourself off all that caffeine and sugar if you want to improve your health and reduce the risk of diabetes and colon issues. Be prepared to feel icky for a few days, even a few weeks, but after you get off that caffeine and sugar you are going to feel fantastic.
With your busy lifestyle you definitely need a lot of calories for energy. I would guess that you need more than the average person. But getting those calories from soda is a really bad idea and that bad idea has become a bad habit. I say "habit" but I believe it's more like an addiction.
I believe there will be long term negative effects, unless you have great genes and the rest of your lifestyle is near perfect. In any case, I wouldn't take the risk of drinking that much soda. It could be decades before ill effects materialize. It's like smoking or being overweight: Some people seem to get away with it for 30, 40 or 50 years. But there's usually some price to pay down the road.
Last edited by JohnR41; 03-19-2009 at 04:52 PM.
Reason: Added a few words for clarity.