Soda is one of the most popular drinks in the world. In fact, in 2018, Americans reportedly drank 38 gallons of soft drinks each that year, and the trend has only continued to today. More than half of the respondents even stated that they drink soda several times a week. While the majority of soda drinkers are young adults, it is no secret that the sweet and refreshing taste of soda attracts seniors, too. This begs the question: Should seniors drink soda?
What is soda's effect on seniors?
As you age, your bodies go through many changes, including brittle bones, inflamed joints, muscle loss, and reduced strength. Consequently, your body might not be equipped to process soda. Fizzy drinks have high levels of phosphorus. While phosphorus plays a crucial role in bone development, teeth development, and energy production, too much of this particular mineral in your body can cause negative effects. It can cause the hardening of organs and soft tissue, for example, and even be the perpetrator of diarrhea and other bowel movement issues. Furthermore, the added sugar and caffeine in sodas can strip calcium from your body and weaken your bones even more.
Normally, a younger body can mitigate most of these effects, but a senior's recovery rate is much slower which makes soda very undesirable.
Should seniors still drink soda?
Given these findings, should you still be consuming soda? Doctors may discourage you from drinking soda, but that doesn't mean that you should drop them indefinitely — especially if you're craving them. After all, correlational studies show that dietary restraint is associated with more intense and frequent cravings. As a result, you might experience a drop in energy and emotions, especially during prolonged periods of not drinking any soda at all. One or two cans a week should be enough to satisfy your cravings.
Because drinking soda can reduce your calcium levels, you need to balance that out with calcium-rich foods as well. This is especially important, as the body doesn’t produce the mineral naturally. Dairy products, like milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt, as well as collard greens like kale, cabbage, and broccoli are good sources of calcium. Moreover, with sodas’ sugar content, you're also encouraged to exercise after drinking it to burn it off. Even activities as simple as walking or playing with your grandkids are enough to burn some calories.
How do I safely incorporate soda into my diet?
If you're not sure about soda's impact on your health, but would very much like to incorporate sodas and other unconventional foods into your meals, it’s important you speak to a nutritionist. Currently, nutritionists are some of the most in-demand professionals in the U.S., with the Bureau of Labor reporting about 5,900 openings every year. Fortunately, colleges and universities are filling this demand by producing capable professionals through general studies healthcare programs which are equipping today’s workers with a deep knowledge in public health, human anatomy, and, most importantly, nutrition. Many of them also specialize in gerontology, or the study of health-related challenges in older people, too — making them more than capable of assisting the millions of seniors in the country with the perfect diets for their specific needs.
Your nutritionist might look into your family background, medical history, and current diet and activity levels to create a plan that will work for you. This way, you can incorporate soda into your diet without risking any detrimental effects.
Moreover, if you are looking for particularly flavorful and healthy soda alternatives, check out our drink collection. Our soda has no added sugar, is less caffeinated compared to other brands, and is mixed with natural fruit juice, allowing you to reap the vitamins and minerals found in fresh fruit.
As you grow older, you have to take care of yourself through a balanced diet and exercise. But that does not mean you have to completely remove delicious treats like soda from your life. Just consume them in moderation, live an active life, and consult a professional if you're unsure about anything.
Submitted exclusively for wavesoda.com by Brielle French