Texas State students should be aware of the long-term effects beverages such as soda and coffee can have on their bodies.
Habitual intake of soft drinks can be harmful to the body. Granted, having an occasional soda with a meal every now and then is harmless. Having more than two or three a day, however, can lead to some health risks. Cutting soda out of one’s diet or simply decreasing its intake can significantly improve health.
Caffeine is something students should avoid. Like any drug, caffeine has different effects on different people. Increased use of caffeine can cause the body to become dependent on it.
Health issues such as headaches, indigestion and insomnia have been associated with prolonged caffeine use. Caffeine consumption can become an addiction. But, like any other addiction, it can be broken with dedication.
Coffee and energy drinks are a staple to many college students’ diets. Attending early morning classes running on a few hours of sleep can cause students to consume some sort of pick-me-up. Students who rely on caffeine, however, are endangering themselves. Getting a full night’s rest and eating a balanced breakfast are good alternatives to Red Bull or espresso. Foods such as bananas that are high in potassium are a great natural energy source.
All soft drinks, regardless of caffeine content, are loaded with sugar. One can of cola has about the same amount of sugar that one should intake for an entire day. The sugar in soda is known as “added sugar,” which is even worse. Added sugar has no nutritional value and can be harmful to one’s metabolism in the long run. Ongoing studies show a direct link between added sugars and diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
One of the more terrifying studies on soda shows the effects of ingesting diet soft drinks. Diet soda is artificially sweetened. Although diet soda contains no actual sugar, it can cause more harm than its sweetened counterpart. Artificial sweeteners in diet drinks cannot be broken down by the liver. The liver instead converts it to fat, which builds up around the mid-section and waist. Consistent intake of diet soda can lead to obesity, cell damage and depression.
No soft drink is worth the baggage that comes along with it. To be fair, I myself indulge in a soda every now and again—always Dr. Pepper. However, it was only after cutting continuous consumption I noticed some weight loss and a better attitude. Replacing at least every other soft drink with water can significantly affect students’ lives.
Students should challenge themselves to decrease their dependence on beverages with a high concentration of added sugar. Paired with a balanced diet and a regular workout regime, decreasing intake of soft drinks and coffee is a great way to shed unwanted pounds and generally improve health.
Winter is right around the corner and with it begins a season of laziness. Bobcats need to be strong and diligent to keep up healthy lifestyles to get that beach body ready for spring break.