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Dear Detox Diva:: Switching to Regular Soda?

Big Sodas Bad Health

Every once in awhile I get an email from a reader that makes me blink a few times before I pause, take a breath and utter one word……. ANYWAY…..  It doesn’t often happen, thank heaven, but it makes me wonder if I am not clear enough in my posts that these little questions even come through my inbox.  And I sincerely apologize in advance if I sound exasperated or annoyed.  I get that not everyone is as hip to good nutrition as I think I am.  I really do….  But you be the judge and see if my frustration is just pregnancy hormones gone awry.  Warning::  I am not at all meaning to sound condescending or sanctimonious.  I HAVE, in the past, had a major soda habit.  I used to live in a glass house…. I am not tossing stones but……

 Dear Detox Diva::

I read your post about the dangers of diet soda  {See our post How your “Diet” (Soda) is Killing You} and, since I drink 4-6 a day I am wondering does this mean regular soda is healthy?  If I switch to drinking regular Coke does it mean I will reverse my chances of developing any of the symptoms you mentioned?




The good news is by not bombarding your body (and consequently brain) with aspartic acid, yes, a lot of the neurological symptoms that happen as a result of long term exposure will, more than likely start to reverse themselves, however, this is all dependent on how long you have been exposing your body to this toxin and if you have stopped ingesting anything that would contain it.  The body is an amazing creation, that will, generally, heal itself, if given the tools and the proper amount of time.

The bad news is this.  If you trade your 4-6 diet sodas a day for 4 to 6 regular sodas a day, assuming we are talking cans which are 330 ml or roughly 12 oz. and not 4-6 Big Gulps,  you are getting 39 g of sugar in each can of soda.  This is a whopping 156 g of sugar in just 4 sodas a day.   If you are talking about super sized 42 oz. cokes, that is 432 g of sugar in a day.  One teaspoon of sugar is 4.2 g so 4 cans of coke would be 37 teaspoons of sugar and 4 42 oz. would be 102 teaspoons.  That’s just from the sodas alone!!!

Of those 37 to 102 teaspoons of sugar, some of that is sucrose, which breaks down to glucose and fructose (the body needs glucose to do EVERYTHING but it only needs a limited amount and this much is too much), and fructose (when it is in a few pieces of fruit or a handful of berries is utilized because it doesn’t create an insulin response and can be utilized as energy).  It’s still too much sucrose, mind you, but it’s not absolutely HORRIBLE except for the fact that it is refined, white, addictive sugar.

Where it gets hairy is in the US everything is sweetened with HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) which is isolated fructose in massive amounts.  Sugar is part glucose and part fructose.  HFCS is pure fructose (and concentrated at that!).   That’s bad because fructose is broken down in the liver.  If it’s not used for energy it is stored as fat.  We are not talking about eating FRUIT (though I dare say eating a bushel of apples or a case of oranges in a day is a bad thing), rather we are talking about concentrated forms from corn or fruit derivatives (but mostly corn and ALL of that is GMO to boot!).   Your liver already has stress on it from having to convert thyroid hormones, metabolize and detox estrogen, and the toxic load from environmental and nutritional toxins, not to mention metabolizing proteins, carbohydrates and fat down to utilizable glucose molecules, and constructing of 50,000 systems of enzymes to govern metabolic activity throughout the body.  Your liver is responsible for roughly 500 functions in the body.  Do you really need to be bombarding it with fructose it can’t possibly break down?

HFCS and other high fructose sweetening sources (including agave nectar and “fruit sugar”) increases LDL (bad cholesterol) and form free fatty acids, VLDL (really bad cholesterol), and raise triglycerides (which store as fat!).  What’s worse is, those fatty acids created by fructose metabolism (especially concentrated fructose) form fat droplets in the liver and other tissues which causes insulin resistance which will eventually trigger metabolic syndrome which is almost a given to develop into Type II Diabetes, and Fatty Liver Disease.  (There are two types of this disease.  One is caused by alcohol and still basically is sugar related, and one is caused by fructose.)  A fatty liver is bad. Trust me.

Let me break it down for you further.  Eat 120 calories of calories broken down to glucose (fresh orange juice is about 50% glucose and 50% fructose) and only 1 calorie will be stored as fat with the rest being used for the processes of the body.  If you eat 120 calories of concentrated fructose , around 40 calories will be stored as fat.  Oh and did I mention it was not subcutaneous fat (the stuff that’s relatively easy to lose)?  Noooo.  This stuff is visceral fat, the kind that collects around the organs and causes belly fat which increases your risk for heart attack and stroke exponentially.

100 years ago this probably wasn’t the case because the only major source of fructose was from fruits and vegetables.  There was candy, sure, but kids didn’t guzzle down sweets 18 hours a day.  On average, kids devour 73 g of fructose (from concentrated fructose sources) a day.

Oh and one more thing. All that fructose has no effect on ghrelin, the hunger hormone.  It suppresses leptin, the “appetite suppression” hormone.  Glucose, on the other hand, suppresses ghrelin and stimulates leptin so your body can tell you when it’s had enough.  Concentrated forms of fructose (or way too much fruit) will basically encourage you to eat way beyond your “satiety zone”.

So, the short answer to your question of replacing your diet soda habit with a regular soda habit is it’s not a healthy or remotely responsible option.  I recommend good old water, water with lemon, lemonade (made with stevia), sparkling water, and kicking your “Coke” habit for good.


  • richard monore

    This makes me feel waaaaaaaay less guilty about the sugar I put in my coffee. Two cups a day, sugar in each, but thats it. No soda’s here, I’d rather waste my calories on an occasional nutella bender…

    • thedetoxdiva

      Switch to Stevia. You’ll get to save your sugar intake for your nutella bender. And I will show you how to make it so it’s even more delicious and actually healthy!! How’s that for love?

  • richard monore

    yay! I go back and forth on the stevia. I’ll try it again. And we just can’t keep nutella in the house, its like crack. Plus it has Soy Lechitin which is a no-no for mommy and she loves nutella the most.
    Rub all those triplets and hugs to Farris and Izzy.

    • thedetoxdiva

      I can teach you to make nutella that is BETTER than crack!!! And with no soy lecithin!! For you, it is forthcoming!! Oh but by the way, coconut butter mixed with cacao powder and stevia, succanat, or coconut sugar…… that’s like heroine! 🙂

  • Thankfully soda isn’t something I drink. As a child we had root beer once in awhile, but that was it. I’m glad my parents didn’t have soda in our home. Now I’m a GRANDma and soda is still not a part of our diet. But, I’ve noticed that when my kids get married, their spouse usually has a huge addiction to soda. Hopefully they will get the idea that water tastes fantastic and be able to make the transformation. Thanks for another great post!

  • I am so lucky that our Mom was against soda for her kids, and never bought it, and we never drank it. We wanted it of course, like all of the other kids, but I don’t drink soda thanks to her, and have no craving for it at all. Diet soda is absolutely disgusting to me. I was just down in Panama, and finding water to buy was rather tricky. I was completely dehydrated and desperate, and had to drink a coke. I’m going to have to really detox now that I’m back with extra water drinking. Water is even more precious to me than before;)

    • thedetoxdiva

      Wow, Panama must be very different from when I was there last! I loved the water there but yeah, I am sure it’s different and a lot less clean now. One coke won’t make you need to detox luckily but you may crave sugar a few more days than normal…… You’ll have to share your experience of Panama!