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6 Things That Will Happen When You Start Drinking Coke Every Day

6 Things That Will Happen When You Start Drinking Coke Every Day

Ever since the 1830s, the consumption of soft drinks has steadily increased, with technological advances of the past few decades only making things worse. Policy makers and health care providers realized that the high consumption of sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages belongs to that category of dietary behaviors that has been identified as an important issue to address in the prevention and management of obesity and other related diseases.

If drinking Coca Cola or other soft drinks is part of your daily routine, prepare to experience the following:

1. You’ll unconsciously influence your dietary choices

When your parents told you to drink milk because it was healthy, they told you so because milk is truly a rich source of protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin A. However, numerous studies have indicated that a high level of soft drink consumption (especially coke), is associated with the displacement of healthier food and beverage choices. What this means is that if people are drinking coke on a regular/daily basis, they are more likely to be deficient in a large number of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibres due to their dietary choices (Harnack et al. 1999; Ballew et al. 2000).

As a matter of fact, other longitudinal studies at the population level have found that milk consumption has decreased over time and that this has directly correlated with an increase in soft drink consumption (Lytle et al. 2000; Blum et al. 2005; Striegel-Moore et al. 2006).

Conclusion: The displacement of milk and reduced intake of calcium as a consequence can easily have short-and long-term implications for overall bone health, so make sure that you limit your intake of Coke to 1 small cup a day, or even less/none if possible.

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References:

  1. Harnack L, Stang J and Story M (1999). “Soft drink consumption among US children and adolescents: nutritional consequences.” J Am Diet Assoc 99(4): 436–441 [Online]
  2. Ballew C, Kuester S and Gillespie C (2000). “Beverage choices affect adequacy of children’s nutrient intakes.” Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 265(22): 1148–1152. [Online]
  3. Lytle LA, Seifert S, Greenstein J and McGovern P (2000). “How do children’s eating patterns and food choices change over time? Results from a cohort study.” Am J Health Promot 14(4): 222–228. [Online]
  4. Blum JW, Jacobsen DJ and Donnelly JE (2005). “Beverage consumption patterns in elementary school-aged children across a two-year period.” J Am Coll Nutr 24(2): 93–98. [Online]
  5. Striegel-Moore RH, Thompson D, Affenito SG, et al. (2006). “Correlates of beverage intake in adolescent girls: the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study.” J Pediatr 148(2): 183–187. [Online]

2. You’ll likely develop dental caries and dental erosion

The regular consumption of soft drinks has also been associated with enamel erosion and dental caries due to their large sugar content and high acidity.  In a joint report conducted by the WHO and FAO in 2003, evidences indicated a close relationship between soft drink consumption and risk of dental erosion to be ‘probable’ while the evidence pertaining to free sugars causing dental caries were found to be ‘convincing.’

A recent review of soft drinks and dental health concluded that it is the low pH of these drinks that may lead to the erosion of enamel surface while the high sugar content is believed to be metabolized by plaque micro-organisms to generate organic acids that bring about demineralization leading to dental caries (Tahmassebi et al. 2006).

Therefore, the Australian Dental Association discourages the frequent consumption of both soft drinks and diet soft drinks, or any kind of sports drinks and fruit juices for that matter, due to their high sugar and/or acid content. (Australian Dental Association 2002).

References:

  1. Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation (2003). Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. Geneva, WHO. [Online]
  2. Tahmassebi JF, Duggal MS, Malik-Kotru G and Curzon ME (2006). “Soft drinks and dental health: a review of the current literature.” J Dent 34(1): 2–11. [Online]
  3. Australian Dental Association. (2002). “Policy Statement 1.2.2 — Diet and Nutrition.” Retrieved 28th August, 2007. [Online]

3. You’ll likely develop bone fractures

Consumption of cola and other soft drinks has also been associated with a decrease in bone mineral density and an increase in the frequency of bone fractures in both children and adults (Petridou et al. 1997;Wyshak 2000; McGartland et al. 2003). Wrist and forearm fractures were found to be more and more frequent in children between the age of 9 and 16 due to the overwhelming presence of soft drinks and their high caffeine content. (Ma and Jones 2004).

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Cola and other carbonated soft drinks were also found to be detrimental to bone mineral density in women due to their high caffeine content (Tucker et al. 2006). The reason for that is because Caffeine has been identified as a catalyst for increasing the excretion of calcium in the urine, which is a leading and potential contributor to osteoporosis (Kynast-Gales and Massey 1994).

Excessive consumption of Cola and other carbonated soft drinks may lead to low bone mineral density, bone fractures, osteoporosis (causes bones to become weak and brittle) and even hypocalcemia (low serum calcium).

References:

  1. Ma D and Jones G (2004). “Soft drink and milk consumption, physical activity, bone mass, and upper limb fractures in children: A population-based case-control study.” Calcif Tissue Int 75(4): 286–-291. [Online]
  2. Petridou E, Karpathios T, Dessypris N, Simou E and Trichopoulos D (1997). “The role of dairy products and non-alcoholic beverages in bone fractures among school age children.” Scand J Soc Med 25(2): 119–125. [Online]
  3. Wyshak G (2000). “Teenaged girls, carbonated beverage consumption, and bone fractures.” Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 154(6): 610–613. [Online]
  4. McGartland C, Robson PJ, Murray L, et al. (2003). “Carbonated soft drink consumption and bone mineral density in adolescence: the Northern Ireland Young Hearts project.” J Bone Miner Res 18(9): 1563–1569. [Online]
  5. Tucker KL, Morita K, Qiao N, et al. (2006). “Colas, but not other carbonated beverages, are associated with low bone mineral density in older women: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study.“ Am J Clin Nutr 84: 936–942. [Online]
  6. Kynast-Gales SA and Massey LK (1994). “Effect of caffeine on circadian excretion of urinary calcium and magnesium.” J Am Coll Nutr 13(5): 467–472. [Online]

4. You’ll increase your chances of developing chronic diseases

Other alarming studies have also surfaced in the past few years. According to the US Framingham Heart Study, the consumption of greater than or equal to 350 ml soft drink per day (that would be 1 can) was already associated with an increased risk of obesity, an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, impaired fasting glucose, increased waist circumference, high blood pressure, higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (higher LDL levels put you at greater risk for a heart attack from a sudden blood clot in an artery), and even hypertriglyceridemia (high cholesterol levels) (Dhingra et al. 2007).

Similarly, the US Nurses Health Study II found that those women who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day had an elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with those who consumed less than one of these beverages a month. (Schulze et al. 2004).

Both the US Framingham Heart Study and the US Nurses Health Study II agreed on the fact that the consumption of greater than or equal to 350 ml soft drink per day may lead to the development of a series of chronic cardiovascular diseases, such as metabolic syndrome or high blood pressure, just to mention a few.

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References:

  1. Dhingra R, Sullivan L, Jacques PF, et al. (2007). “Soft drink consumption and risk of developing cardiometabolic risk factors and the metabolic syndrome in middle-aged adults in the community.” Circulation 116(5): 480–488. [Online]
  2. Schulze MB, Manson JE, Ludwig DS, et al. (2004). „Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in young and middleaged women.“ JAMA 292(8): 927–934. [Online]

5. You’ll likely experience adverse side-effects due to increased caffeine intake

Cola-type soft drinks  containing caffeine have the largest share of the beverages market all over the world. Caffeine, whether we admit or not, is a mildly addictive drug that occurs naturally in tea, coffee and chocolate, but it is soft drinks that serve as the very main source of caffeine in children’s diet. The levels of caffeine content in soft drinks are in the range of between 40-50 mg per 375 ml can, which is the equivalent to one cup of strong coffee.

A strong link has been identified between caffeine in coke and bone health, as indicated above. In addition, several studies have confirmed a firm link between cola drinks and kidney stones (Rodgers 1999; Massey and Sutton 2004).

Caffeine insensitivity (the extent to which someone is responding to the effect of caffeine) is also a side-effect of excessive caffeine intake. Ideally, the smaller one is, the less caffeine one would require to reap the stimulating benefits, such as increased energy and attention, enhanced mood and motivation as well as enhanced motor activity. However, we must note here that these effects can only be reaped if taken in small doses – 20-200 mg (Smith et al. 2000).

Negative effects have also been determined, especially in young children and adults, that may include more harm than potential benefits: disturbed sleep patterns, bedwetting, and anxiety along with a number of withdrawal symptoms such as headache, fatigue, decreased alertness, or even depressed mood and irritability can be experienced 6–24 hours after caffeine abstinence. (Juliano and Griffiths 2004).

Cola-type soft drinks contain caffeine in the range of between 40-50 mg per 375 ml can that, if over consumed, can easily lead to the development of kidney stones and caffeine insensitivity along with a large number of withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, decreased alertness, depressed mood and irritability.

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References:

  1. Rodgers A (1999). “Effect of cola consumption on urinary biochemical and physicochemical risk factors associated with calcium oxalate urolithiasis.” Urol Res 27(1): 77–81.  [Online]
  2. Massey LK and Sutton RA (2004). “Acute caffeine effects on urine composition and calcium kidney stone risk in calcium stone formers.” J Urol 172(2): 555–558. [Online]
  3. Smith PF, Smith A, Miners J, McNeil J and Proudfoot A (2000). Report from the expert working group on the safety aspects of dietary caffeine. Canberra, Food Standards Australia New Zealand. [Online]
  4. Juliano LM and Griffiths RR (2004). “A critical review of caffeine withdrawal: empirical validation of symptoms and signs, incidence, severity, and associated features.” Psychopharmacology 176(1): 1–29. [Online]

6. You’ll risk the development of cancer due to the presence of Benzene

There has been a recent movement towards regulating Benzene levels in drinking water and bottled water both nationally and internationally. However, the presence of benzoic acid in soft drinks is not that strictly regulated that has spurred some environmental and public concern towards a more closer regulation of this chemical in these drinks. The reason why benzoic acid is so hazardous is because it works as a catalyst when it comes into contact with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and metal ions (such as iron or copper) to form the chemical known as Benzene, a known cancer-causing chemical(carcinogen). The chemical reaction usually takes place when when we are exposed to heat or light.

The Food and Drug Administration initiated public trials to test the level of benzene in soft drinks all across the country. 4 out of 100 products were found to contain levels of benzene above the 5 ppm barrier, which is the officially acceptable limit for drinking water. (CFSAN/Office of Food Additive Safety 2007).

Since 2005, these products were significantly reformulated and the FDA believes that the levels of benzene found in soft drinks should no longer be a cause for alarm. However, there are still companies that either cannot or would not devote extra time and effort to monitor the level of acceptable benzene content in their products. Therefore, general recommendations are that you should not consume more than 1 can of cola a week. Better safe than sorry, right?

Due to high levels of Benzene in cola and other carbonated soft drinks, you are more likely to develop cancer if more than 1 can of soft drink is consumed per week. Benzene is a known cancer-causing chemical (carcinogen).

References:

  1. CFSAN/Office of Food Additive Safety. (2007). “Data on Benzene in Soft Drinks and Other Beverages: Data through May 16, 2007.” Retrieved 29th August, 2007. [Online]

Do not get me wrong though: I did not say that consuming these beverages here and there will cause all these aforementioned symptoms. These symptoms and side-effects may appear in case of those who have a daily habit of drinking carbonated soft-drinks, such as coke or fruit juices. If you love soft drinks, and there is no way you would give it up, at least try to limit the amount you consume. Being considerate with your health will pay off, trust me!

Now, share the things that you have learned here with a friend or family member who has been drinking too much coke recently! Why? Because your advice may easily save their life once!

Featured photo credit: Laszlo Szabo via bodybuildersupplementz.com

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Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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