Want the short answer? Yes. They are the worst. I was a diet coke addict. This stuff was my hangover cure, my thirst quencher, my morning caffeine fix. I genuinely felt addicted.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DRINK COLA?
- Twenty minutes after we drink a can of cola, we experience an insulin spike. The liver kicks into action, trying desperately to convert sugar to fat. The result? Oil overproduction which clogs our pores and leads to inflammation. Not only does our complexion suffer in terms of pimples, but we are also more likely to get wrinkles prematurely. Generally, the sugar in soda makes our skin look drab and lack luster.
- After forty minutes we get a caffeine kick. Our pupils begin to dilate and our blood pressure starts to rise. Caffeine causes disruptions for our digestive system. It dehydrates us which could cause constipation and a generally higher toxin content within our system. This too can directly result in skin flares and breakouts.
- At forty five minutes, our brain releases dopamine. This is a happy chemical that makes us feel good. It creates a pleasure / reward cycle and THIS is the part that gets us addicted. We crave that feeling.
So, besides the way in which it messes with our brain chemicals, how exactly does drinking a soda drink become a problem?
Do you remember doing the trick as a kid with cleaning a coin or piece of jewellery in a glass of coke? If you've never tried this experiment or seen it done, you can pop a dirty coin or blackened necklace in a glass of cola, leave it in overnight and watch it come out sparkly clean. If it can strip away dirt like that, what on earth is it doing to our innards?!
Battery acid has a PH of 1 - ie: very, very acidic. Water has a PH of 7 - ie: neutral. Some brands of cola have a PH of 2.5 ... that's worryingly acidic. It is in fact so acidic that our body uses its only natural antacid to counter it. That antacid is our calcium stores. Soda drinks literally draw calcium away from the bones to try and neutralise acidity. Over time this can lead to soft and brittle bones.
'Caramel Colour' in cola is also much more menacing than it sounds. This ingredient contains a compound called 4-MEI. It's been shown to be carcinogenic (cancer causing) and whilst 4-MEI content is limited to 4mg in states such as California, due to legislation, in some less stringent countries it can be as high as 250mg.
Skin conditions are inflammatory. In a natural healing protocol it's important to concentrate on an anti-inflammatory diet. Soda drinks are one of the most inflammatory things we can consume. So, if they're highly problematic and inflammatory ... what do we do to transition away from them?
Fresh fruit juice topped up with sparkling water is a great place to begin. With no added sugar or additional harmful chemicals, that's a much kinder choice for our skin.
Dermatologists agree that soda ages us like nothing else. Worryingly the dry appearance of our skin caused by soda can be compared to the effects of smoking - they both diminish the production of healthy skin cells. If you are a regular soda-drinker, you are as prone to inflammation as heavy smokers are. In those of us already prone to skin problems, soda can intensify skin irritation for you, leading to drier skin, more bothersome eczema and longer-lasting acne, such as the cystic variety.
Quitting soda drinks can be the single most beneficial change you can make for your skin and the great news is, you can do it right away!