Do you ever suffer from headaches, fatigue, or drowsiness? Depressed or irritable mood? Do you ever have difficulty concentrating? Or experience flu-like symptoms; nausea or muscle pain stiffness? Not to worry, you probably just need another can of soda because all of these are symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.
1,3,7-trimethylxanthine, the chemical name for caffeine is naturally found in the beans, leaves, and fruits of almost 60 different plants. And it actually serves as a natural pesticide. Caffeine actually developed in these plants to deter pests and help preserve the life of the plant.
These days, caffeine is the most commonly consumed psychoactive drug. It is estimated that around 90% of adults consume caffeine on a daily basis. It’s also estimated that sodas and sweetened drinks are the single, most consumed food in the American diet. Figuring that Americans spend about 70 billion dollars every year makes the soda pop industry a huge success.
Before soda was ever available at a burger joint or vending machines, soda was sold exclusively by pharmacists. In the 1850s, drug stores actually sold sodas to cure some physical malady or headache. The combination of caffeine and cocaine was known to be able to cure a headache. But pretty quickly, they saw that clients would return with a rebound headache and would need to consume more soda. At the time it was considered that these stimulants were safe and it wasn’t until 1914 that the use of cocaine opiates and over-the-counter products actually became illegal.
The craze over soda pop became even more intense with the prohibition of alcohol in 1919. In 1920, an article was published in drug topics which stated “The soda fountain is the most valuable, most useful, most profitable, and altogether most beneficial business building feature assimilated by the drugstore in a generation…”
By the early 1920s, nearly every single drug store had a soda fountain. And these days, you can get soda just about anywhere. In fact, people drink more soda than water! It’s estimated that the average American drinks around 52 gallons or just under 600 cans of soda every single year. Now, one can enjoy a tasty beverage just as much as the next person can but, with withdrawal effects like headaches, difficulty concentrating, and depressed moods, it hardly seems worth it.
It is also important to remember that where there are withdrawal affects, there is also addiction and dependents. The list of withdrawal effects mentioned earlier comes from a John Hopkins study that examined 170 years of caffeine research. The study also stated “We know adults and children can become physiologically and psychologically dependent on caffeinated soft drinks, experiencing a withdrawal symptom if they stop…” Over stimulating our senses not only causes us to develop addiction and dependents, but it also dulls our sensations and can make it harder to enjoy other things.
So too much high-fructose corn syrup and aspartame aren’t only going to rot your teeth, but they are also going to dull your senses so that it’s harder to enjoys natural flavors and natural sweetness. But don’t worry. Just as you can dull your sensations, you can also get them back. Just a few days of abstaining from these sweeteners can help reset your senses so that you can enjoy those natural flavors again.
While adults can deal with these withdrawal effects, it’s a little bit more worrisome when it comes to children. If children are becoming physically and psychologically dependent on these soft drinks, aren’t we just setting them up to become obese adults too?
In 1981, the FDA actually proposed that caffeine being removed from these drinks due to its negative health effects and addictive properties. But the soda industry responded and affectively avoided that proposed removal by saying that caffeine was only added for its flavor. But let me ask you this: when you are craving a coke, is it simply the flavor that you are craving or is it that caffeine buzz?
More worrisome news is the fact that the caffeine content isn’t even listed in your soda. While they require to list caffeine as an ingredient, they are in no way required to tell you how much caffeine these products contain. Here is a short breakdown of the caffeine contents in some commonly consumed beverages.
- Coffee, 8oz- 135mg
- Red Bull- 8oz- 80mg
- Monster Energy- 8oz- 80mg
- Jolt & Vault- 72mg
- Diet Coke- 47mg
- Diet Dr Pepper- 44mg
- Dr Pepper- 42mg
- Black Tea- 8oz- 40-70mg
- Espresso- 1oz- 40mg
- Green Tea- 8oz- 25-40mg
- Coke classic- 12oz- 35mg
You will notice that diet coke actually contains more caffeine than regular coke. So if you feel like you are addicted to diet coke, it could be due to its higher caffeine content. You will also notice that most of these are about comparable to the caffeine contained in a shot of espresso. If you are thinking you can give up cokes but you can’t think about giving up your caffeine, you can actually switch over to green tea or black tea, and then you will be avoiding all of those extra chemicals and extra sugars, and still get that caffeine buzz you are probably carving.
So, a 20 ounce bottle of coke contains around 65 grams of sugar and that is more than twice what’s contained in a snickers bar! But most people don’t even consider their pop as a dessert. It is something that you have along with your burger and fries, along with your meals, or even while running errands. It also says right there on the bottle that it contains about 22% of your daily value of carbs. So if you are drinking four 20 ounce cokes a day, you should just realize that those four sodas alone are satisfying your daily allotment of carbohydrates.
The bottom line is if you are trying to lose weight, lay off the sodas or at least significantly cut back and make sure that you are drinking a whole lot more water. Between the excess “empty” calories, the excess sugar, and the excess carbs, soda is going to have you on a fast-track to diabetes and obesity. Diet coke is even worse. Not only does it contain more caffeine, but the artificial sweeteners used in them have also been linked to weight gain, diabetes, and even neurological damage.
In a CBS special, Doctor Holly Philips actually recommended NO SODA or a significant cutback and she even stated that for those who are unwilling to give up their soda, she would rather see them have the sugars then the chemicals.
In addition to the headaches and moodiness you may experience, these drinks have also been linked to heart disease, tooth decay, insomnia, osteoporosis, kidney stones, behavioral problems, acne, and cancer! To drive it home, it is important to realize that the only liquid your body really needs is water. It’s kind of sad that we ended up in a society where soda is the number one most purchased grocery store item and it doesn’t have any nutritive benefits whatsoever. It actually has tons of health risks associated with it. But Coke spends a lot of money advertising to us and making sure that coke is incredibly convenient for you. If you are a coke addict its ok, just know that it’s in your best interest to try and lay off. If you don’t give up soda to improve your health or your physical appearance, to lose some weight, or even to prolong your life, give it up to save money.