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Molokai Fitness: Are Soft Drinks Healthy?

Community Contributed

By Ayda Ersoy

Wherever I go in Molokai, it seems that 80 percent of us  — especially kids — drink soda. The other day, a couple of kids asked me “You don’t drink soda, do you?” I asked how they knew that! And their reply? “You look healthy!” This got me thinking more about it. They know that drinking soda is not healthy… so why do they drink it?

I think we need to educate ourselves more about what we’re eating and drinking so that we can choose a healthier option. Remember — your kids or grandkids may not listen to you, but they watch you and they copy you!

On Molokai, diabetes is a huge health problem. Did you know that soft drinks are directly linked to Type 2 diabetes, and of course so many other serious health problems? Soft drinks contain high fructose corn syrup, caffeine and artificial caramel colors. If you ever watch how they are made, I’m certain you will not want to touch them again! But not just soft drinks, energy drinks and even fruit juice contain high fructose corn syrup too.

Especially if you have diabetes in your family history. You’ll likely have a higher risk than others. But it’s not just about gaining weight or diabetes… Do you have osteoporosis? Or bad teeth? Did you ever think there’s a connection between these and drinking soda? I’m sorry, but it’s true — studies show there is a link between these problems and what you’re drinking.

Consuming diet or normal sodas increases the risk of leukemia and lymphoma. I know these are not nice things to talk about, but real friends always tell the truth and the only way I can help you is by telling the truth. Remember that knowledge is power, but only when you use it.

We generally believe that diet soft drinks and sodas, with lower or even zero calories, are a better option. Yes, it’s true that studies generally show no direct link between Type 2 diabetes and diet drinks, but diet drinks motivate you to eat more. Why? First, because you’re not giving your body what it really needs, and after drinking it you are still craving sugar. Many of the common artificial flavors — such as aspartame and saccharin — will increase your hunger level. And the caramel coloring will increase your insulin resistance. So drinking diet soda or regular soda both cause the same health problems.

What can we do? Slowly decrease the amount of soda and soft drinks, and replace them with mineral water with lemon or your favorite fruit. Or you can make your own iced tea and lemonade with cold water, and sweeten it with coconut sugar. Give it a try! This is a great step to start to create a new healthier lifestyle for you and your ohana.

As always, if you have any questions then please feel free to contact me any time by email at ayda@DietDocHawaii.com or by phone at 808-276-6892.

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