Pick your poison

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Do you want to feel healthier, lose weight and lower your chances for depression, osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, kidney stones and other diseases? Stop drinking soft drinks.

Corporations earn billions of dollars each year on consumers destroying their health through sugar-laden elixirs. As the economy declines, money spent on things such as books also declines. Yet, soft drink consumption continues to rise, despite the health risks.

Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dr Pepper and other dark-colored soft drinks contain phosphoric acid, which has been linked to brittle bones and osteoporosis. Phosphoric acid leeches the calcium from bones. Not only will this eventually make you look like a toothless Hunchback of Notre Dame, but it will also increase your risk for kidney stones and renal failure, also known as chronic kidney disease, according to a new study by the National Institute of Health. Kidneys are essential to a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Soft drinks taste enjoyable only because they contain high amounts of sugar, and one can of soda a day can add an average of 15 pounds a year to your body. This liquid candy is one of the reasons obesity has become an American epidemic. Obesity causes several diseases, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Don’t be fooled: Diet soda isn’t any better for your health. Several studies have proven that artificially sweetened soft drinks make a person crave sweets more, so they eat more sugary foods, in addition to consuming the soda’s chemicals. Aspartame, soda’s artificial sweetener, has been linked to over 92 different health problems, including brain tumors, birth defects, emotional disorders and epilepsy.

Although it’s tempting to look for a boost when cramming for midterms, the caffeine contained in soft drinks can cause insomnia, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, cholesterol and depletion of vitamins and minerals.

A 2007 British study found that the common preservative sodium benzoate, found in soft drinks such as Fanta, Dr Pepper and Sprite, damages vital DNA. DNA switches off, potentially causing neuro-degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and cirrhosis of the liver.

Brominated vegetable oil is a modified emulsifier in citrus drinks such as Mountain Dew, Orange Fanta and Squirt. It displaces iodine in the body, depressing thyroid function. The thyroid ideally keeps your hormones balanced, but bromine inhibits it, which can cause depression, memory loss, fatigue and other side effects to the brain.

Not only are the contents bad for your health, but soda is packaged in dangerous containers. Pop cans are made of aluminum, which evidence suggests leads to the tangles in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers. Also, recent studies have shown that PVC, the plastic made to create soda bottles, increases the risk of cancer.

Soda is prevalent in our culture, but it’s not the only option. Don’t allow greedy corporations to become even richer by sacrificing your health. Bring filtered water, 100 percent fruit juice or healthy tea with you in a steel canister, such as Klean Kanteen, when you leave your house so that you have a thrifty, healthy beverage choice wherever you go.

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