Cola is the world's most popular soft drink, with about 1.7 billion servings of cola products consumed every day. Although the drink is popular, and seemingly refreshing, its effects on your health may be serious and in many respects non-reversible.
Here's what happens to your body when you drink an ice cold glass of cola:
One can of cola has about 10 teaspoons of sugar, 150 calories, 30-55 milligrams of caffeine and is loaded with harmful artificial flavors and coloring. The major culprit in the cola ingredient list, however, is high-fructose corn syrup, and we'll tell you why.
High fructose corn syrup is derived from fructose, a cheaper sweetener made from corn. The harmful thing about fructose is not only its high sugar content, which has been linked with diabetes and a number of other liver problems, but its effect on your metabolic rate, meaning the pace at which you absorb and digest food. So although you may think that a can of cola will help you better digest the food you are eating, it may actually inhibit your digestive process. Of course, this amount of sugar has other effects on your health, so it's best to shy completely away from high fructose corn syrup!
Cola also contains phosphoric acid. Acid is, of course, the last thing that we want to be putting in our bodies because it harms the body's ability to use calcium and can lead to a softening of teeth and bones, and eventually osteoporosis.
So what happens to your body after you drink a glass of cola?
In the first 10 minutes: The 10 teaspoons of sugar in the can of cola begin to hit your body. This is actually the total daily amount of sugar you are meant to consume, so you would imagine that your body needs to prepare itself. You don't immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because the phosphoric acid cuts the flavor and allows you to keep it down.
After 20 minutes: Your blood sugar levels begin to spike, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat, and there's plenty of sugar at that particular moment.
After 40 minutes: Your body has completely absorbed all of the caffeine. Your pupils begin to dilate, your blood pressure rises, and as a response your liver dumps even more sugar into your bloodstream.
After 45 minutes: Your body ups its dopamine production that stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain. This is actually the same way that heroin works!
After about 60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, giving a momentary boost to your metabolism. Also, the caffeine's diuretic properties come into play, making you feel the need to relieve yourself.
Finally, once all of these processes stop and the cola has seemingly passed through your system, you will experience a sugar crash. This may make you irritable or sluggish, and maybe leave you feeling thirsty as you have already gotten rid of all of the water in the cola. At this point, you will probably yearn for your next cola and then it's back to the beginning.
So, before you reach for your next can of cola, remember that one moment of refreshing taste has a long list of consequences that can have serious effects on your health.