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The Truth: Is Soda Bad For You?

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As a health and wellness guru, one of the biggest questions I get asked is, Is soda bad for you? There are a few points to review and consider!

Odd to me that when people find out that I teach about health and wellness, the lid flies off their “guess what happened to me” box.

Seriously I have the most random encounters with people! Don’t get me wrong, I love talking with and learning about people, but for whatever reason people think I’m the closest thing to Dr. Oz that they are ever going to get so they let loose. Telling me story after story about their misadventures during the process of seeking to improve their amazing bodies. People step out of the wood work to tell me things like; their new found love of sweat lodges and how in the back yard in a hut made of twigs they lost 25 lbs, or about the varied shapes and shades of green things that came out of them during their recent detox, skin eruptions that rival mount St Helens, weird liquid that’s not a “tear” leaking out of an eye, rolling up a pant leg to show off a possible flaming rash or more likely leprosy, what looks like a fuzzy lime yellow caterpillar in an ear, oozy crater like sores on their inner lip, or the waitress that lifted her blouse to show off her belly button and nipple rings… oh wait, that experience was three fourths anatomical experience and a quarter related to the topic of health, as she did ask if I knew of a natural solution for itchy genital warts.

All of which reminds me of the big guy I met in a truck stop restroom, (no this was not a prearranged meeting) and our conversation about water versus soda pop. What happened is he, ‘overheard’ my friends and I discussing our menu choices and our thoughts on drinking water versus soft drinks (pop) (soda) etc.

He started by asking me if I were a doctor. I said no. He said are you “one of those natural medicine people”? I said, “I’m not Native American that I know of, mostly French and German.”

He said, “oh you’re like a health guru.” I said, “I do enjoy practicing good health and I teach and write about good eating and other healthy habits.” I think amidst the sound of water running, sighs of relief, hand dryers humming, effort-filled grunts and the banging of stall doors he heard the word “practicing” and that was enough for him to feel comfortable sharing his latest health challenge.

He began his fascinating tale by admitting his wife was the first to pick up on the conversation my friends and I were having. He said she went into, “honey? hear that? hun! hear that!!, stop saying ‘what’ and listen!!!” mode, which all men know to pay close attention to. Big Guy said she got him to clue into our conversation when she said: “if you would have heard these doctors from the Mayo Clinic a month ago you could have saved me the scare of my life!”

As I dried my hands I turn to him and said “I’m glad you both found us entertaining, but to be clear, none of us are doctors, though one of us did ask for extra mayo. I then casually said, there is so much to learn about nutrition, it’s a fun subject to study”. He said “doc, I know this health stuff may be fun for you but I’m learning how this body works the hard way. I just spent 2 weeks in the hospital, because of not getting enough water, I thought I was going to die! This whole drink more water and stop drinking soda pop is no joke. I almost died!” I said to him “wow, sounds serious what happened?” Well, that was all he needed, the proverbial gown was off and he revealed everything.

To make a long story less boring, Big Guy let me know he never thought drinking water was a big deal, that it didn’t matter what you drank because there is water in pop, water in the morning coffee and in the beer. He figured that was plenty of water. And as long as the drink was cold and got the food down it really didn’t matter. UNTIL, the day he was driving on the freeway, sipping his Mountain Dew, wondering how much hotter the weather could get when out of nowhere, he experienced shooting pains through his body, that ripped through him so bad he thought he was having a come to “Jesus heart attack and a 20 pound bouncing baby boy all at once”. I said to him mildly, “that’s wild, really sounds excruciating, what happened? And he shouted, kidney stones doc, in my case freaking kidney boulders! Which made me say “whoa” and gave him the signal to sprint for the finish, describing 2 weeks in a hospital on an IV, passing 3 kidney stones in a strainer, overcoming dehydration, sky-high blood sugar and a raging urinary infection, all of which his doctors directly linked to his over-dependence on soft drinks to satisfy his bodies cry for water.

At this point, astute readers will have learned two things from the above passage. First, I am not a doctor, but I hear a lot of bizarre tales anyway. And secondly, as this old fashion cautionary tale vividly illustrates water good, soda pop very, very, bad. 

Doctors get it right sometimes and they are right about the verifiable benefits of drinking good clean water. Medical research can be useful, and decades of the stuff all say the same thing, our bodies need good clean water. We live at a great time in history with so much knowledge to draw from to keep our bodies vibrant, and full of vitality. There is no excuse not to use these resources to care for our incredible bodies. I can’t stress enough, take the time to search and find out for yourself the benefits of one of the easiest ways to care for our bodies, water.

Here is a short list of benefits that I hope excites you to add more water into your life.

1. Increases Energy -Think about this, our body and brain is mostly water, the average adult is about 65% water. That’s HUGE. Drinking water helps us think, focus, concentrate and be more alert.

2. Flushes Out Toxins – Facilitates waste removal, through sweating and urination these processes reduce the risk of kidney stones and urinary tract infections. 
3. Aids in DigestionWater is essential to digest your food and move the byproducts from your bowels avoiding constipation and other distress!

4. Immune System BoosterDrinking plenty of good clean water keeps your cells communicating and your organs working effectively. Keeping your systems at their best wards off colds, flu, and general all-around crud.

5. Helps maintain a healthy weight –Water will help remove the by-products of digestion, keeps your stomach feeling full by helping reduce the number of signals the brain sends telling you to eat, and facilities an increase in metabolism.

6. Money SaverLook, a sale on a six-pack of soda pop is not a bargain, it’s a scam. These companies are knowingly selling you a product that does not promote your health and then asks you to pay for the privilege! (think cigarette companies) Do you really think saving a dollar on a poison like a product is going to offset the medical expenses that result from drinking the stuff in the first place? Is drinking that really worth the risk?

Waking up and making different choices especially with subjects as emotionally charged as changing our eating habits can be really, really, hard. What makes this easier, is when you have someone who really cares that you become your best. Though it may stretch your imagination that a person you’ve never met cares about you, I do care about you. I want the best for you. Even though I am not physically right by your side, I can encourage and point out terrific resources that can increase the probability of you creating healthy habits that will change your health for the better.

Please take the time to honor the gift of having a body. Dig into these resources and make an informed choice, to let the soda pop habit go and start drinking more clean water. It is a super simple way to start feeling good today. You are worth it!


  • Your Bodies Many Cries for Water. By Dr. Batmanghelidj M.D.
  • Killer Colas, The Hard Truth About Truth About Soft Drinks. By Nancy Appleton
  • Food Forensics: The Hidden Toxins Hiding in Your food… by Mike Adams

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