The Dangers of Soda Consumption among Powerlifters
Hey readers I have something very interesting for you this month that is a real eye-opener. I have been getting a lot of mail from our PL USA readers about me doing more interviews with experts in specific fields of nutrition. Now of course I like to make all my readers happy. For those of you who liked the interviews that I have done in the past, all I can say is that you are in for a big treat. This month I decided to help educate you on a topic that is one all of you can relate to. The interview that I conducted is with renowned author and Holistic Nutritionist Mike Adams, who is also known as the Health Ranger. During this interview, our main topic of discussion is the dangers associated with consuming soft drinks. Now the reason why I decided on this topic is the very fact that Powerlifters drink way too much soda. Now, this isn’t just your everyday Joe Schmo lifter. This starts from the top with some of the best world champions our sport has ever seen and goes all the way down to the beginner lifter. Now if you are a regular reader of my column then you are fully aware that for years I have preached against drinking soda numerous times. Yet up until now, I didn’t do a full article on all the reasons why you should not consume them. Well, I thought this would be the perfect time to give you an in-depth interview with one of the World’s top experts in Holistic Nutrition. I am sure you are never going to look at soda the same way again. Hopefully, reading this interview will help you change your lifestyle choices and once and for all ditch this legal poison for good. So let’s see what I have in store for you with information the soda companies don’t want you to know!
Mike Adams “Health Ranger” Giving you the 411 on Soda!
Anthony: Hi Mike, It is an honor to have you here. I was wondering if you could tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
Mike: I am 38 years old and 8 years ago, I found myself in a terrible state of disease. I was depressed and nearly diabetic. I was obese and suffering from back pain all the time. I had bad cholesterol numbers that basically if continued on that path would have led to heart disease. Now I got to this pathetic state by eating the typical American diet. I was taking pharmaceuticals, drinking lots of soda, and eating plenty of junk food. Today I am very athletic and have been declared in a perfect state of health by my Naturopathic Physician. I participate in weight training and martial arts. I study the art of Capoeira, which is a Brazilian martial art. I also partake in intense cardiovascular exercise regularly. I eat an extremely healthy and clean diet. My website which is www.naturalnews.com is reaching about 1 billion readers per month. Here I write about the healing power of phytonutrients and superfoods. I am a spokesperson for advocating the high-performance benefits which superfoods and high-density nutrition offer. I also write about eliminating toxic chemicals from your body to optimize your health using nutritious foods and natural supplements.
Anthony: Could you expand on your educational background and areas of expertise?
Mike: My formal education is in technical writing. My education in nutrition began when I was 30 years old when I found myself in a very unhealthy state. In 4 years I read over 600 books on health and nutrition. I am a prolific writer. I have written over 2000 articles and over 12 books. As I mentioned before my website is one of the most viewed sites on the internet about natural health, nutrition, and disease prevention. I am very outspoken and extremely controversial with regard to conventional doctors. I tell it like it is because I have no conflicts of interest. I do not take money from any nutritional supplement company. I am completely independent and objective so that I tell you the truth about what works and what is just bunk.
Anthony: The topic that I wanted to discuss with you is that of soda. I have pushed many times over to my readers that it is very harmful to your health. Powerlifters have a bad reputation when it comes to consuming too much soda. Can you explain to readers why you have labeled soda as “Liquid Candy?”
Mike: The first thing you should know is that soda contains a very large amount of sugar. That sugar is in the form of high fructose corn syrup which is used in just about all soft drinks. However, I don’t believe that is the most dangerous ingredient in soft drinks when it comes to Powerlifters. The most dangerous ingredient in soda is Phosphoric Acid. This is a highly corrosive acid and it contributes to the taste of the soft drink. When you consume it, it acidifies your body. For your body to compensate for that acidity, it has to buffer the acidity with alkaline minerals. Now guess where it finds these alkaline minerals? It finds the source for them in your own body’s skeletal system. We are talking about calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals that are all alkaline. Every time you consume a can of soda with Phosphoric Acid in it, which by the way is in both regular and diet soda, you are essential urinating away your bone mineral density. This has huge implications for Powerlifters because low bone mineral density will make you more susceptible to breaking your bones. This is not a good thing for anyone but even more so for a Powerlifter. It will also reduce your strength output which I doubt many of you were aware of. Another thing that it will offer you is to reduce the ability of ligaments to strongly attach to your bones. One more bonus feature Phosphoric Acid has is that it will also change your appearance. Your jawline will not be as thick and strong if you are drinking Phosphoric Acid. Soda is something that no one should consume and as a strength athlete even more importantly you should be drinking something healthier. This very harmful chemical will also affect your teeth. The roots of your teeth will be weaker and shorter. It will also affect every bone in your body and cause them to be impacted. Now as a powerlifter you may be able to compensate for the fact that you are stressing those bones and building your bone mineral density. But if one day you keep drinking soda and stop Powerlifting, like taking a break or change your sport, then you will see a very rapid and dangerous drop in your bone mineral density. One other nice thing you can look forward to is the fact that you also may be diagnosed with Osteoporosis. Believe it or not, it is actually being diagnosed in men. Men in their early twenties and thirties are actually being diagnosed with this disease. In the past, we used to think that this disease would affect only fragile old ladies and now this is happening with young men.
Osteoporosis is No Joke!
Anthony: It’s actually funny Mike that you mentioned the fact about bone density in males and how soda affects this. Actually, in the sport of Powerlifting over the last ten years, there have been several cases of lifters breaking certain bones when they are lifting a max effort attempt usually in a contest setting. For example, in the bench press, there have been several lifters that have broken the bones of their forearms which include the radius and ulna bones. I have also seen this with Powerlifters squatting who break their tibia and or fibula bones in their lower leg. Now, this is something that wasn’t seen that much in the past but is occurring more often than before. Now my belief has been that the increased amount of soda consumption among lifters is one of the underlying causes of this. I know that there is a correlation between the two and Powerlifters need to understand this.
Mike: You are right, the two do have a correlation. There is no doubt in my mind that those individuals that suffered from those broken bones must have had severe nutritional deficiencies. This is due to their poor dietary practices or their lack of exposure to nutrients such as Vitamin D. This powerful vitamin is crucial for the assimilation of Calcium in the body. Now if you are deficient in Vitamin D and you are drinking soda then you are practically begging to have your bones broken. Now you see this with fighters especially in the UFC with guys like Tim Sylvia who broke his forearm trying to escape an armbar. Now how did that happen? Well, that happened because he is Vitamin D deficient in my opinion.
Anthony: Mike I fully agree with you here on that premise because bones will break much easier when they are not getting the nutrients they need. To add even more gasoline to the fire these same individuals are consuming large amounts of harmful soda that is causing them to basically leach away the strength and density of their bones. This is a double whammy that is basically asking for a major injury that will no doubt at best shorten your Powerlifting career or end it permanently!
Mike: Absolutely, when you drink soda you accelerate that bone mineral loss. One of the reasons to avoid soft drinks is just to protect your bones. There are many others which include obesity, mood swings, and other nutritional deficiencies which we will discuss later.
Is Drinking Soda Worth the Health Problems it Causes?
Anthony: Another area of concern among lifters is muscle and tendon tears. This is a common occurrence with top lifters and is mainly seen with the pectorals, biceps, and patella tendon ruptures. In your opinion do you feel that high doses of Phosphoric Acid consumption which occurs with those that drink plenty of soda may have an effect on these injuries as well?
Mike: I believe tendon injuries are more related to the consumption of bad fats and oils. This would include hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils. You know that every cell in the body has a membrane that is partially made from fat molecules. When you look at hydrogenated oils they contain Trans Fats. When they are consumed they begin to replace the healthy fats in your cell membrane. Trans fats are very fragile. They are not bondable or permeable like healthy fats, such as the ones you would get in Omega 3 fatty acids. So I think tendon tears and muscle strains are more related to the consumption of bad fats than that of Phosphoric Acid. Soda does however have another direct effect with muscle tears and I will touch on this reason a little later on.
Anthony: Mike the topic of Trans Fats and bad fats in general would make an excellent future round table discussion or interview. The reason is Powerlifters are also known for their overindulgence in Trans Fats and consuming too much saturated fat as well. The elimination of Trans Fats and the reduction of their saturated fat intake is something that I have written about for years in my column and finally many are starting to take note of this and apply it to their daily nutritional habits.
Mike: Now I know a lot of Powerlifters who work out hard in the gym. The danger in the nutritional habits of those individuals is that their extremely aggressive exercise regiments allow them to get away with things that others can’t. This hard training can partially compensate them in regards to gaining body fat even though they have very poor dietary practices. They can often stay fit looking in terms of body fat percentage even while they are eating really terrible foods. This is because they are burning a lot of calories with their training sessions as well as during their recovery phases. That is something that lifters need to be careful of. This is because junk foods and soda as well as processed foods will dramatically accelerate the aging process. They will also cause the deterioration of your tissues including your muscles and bones. You will be better off to avoid those processed foods and beverages and stick with healthy nutrient-dense foods and superfoods.
Anthony: How much soda is consumed annually in the United States?
Mike: The stats say that in America we consume about 125 gallons of soda per person per year.
Anthony: Mike that is really crazy when you sit down and think about it. If you average it out that is really off the charts in terms of personal consumption among everyday people. There are approximately 4 liters in a gallon. So this would come out to about 500 liters of soda consumed by every person in the United States annually. Now the U.S. Population is around 304 million people. If we times that by 500 liters of soda consumed per person each year, that turns out to be around 152,000,000,000 liters of soda consumed by the citizens of the United States annually. Can you imagine that? That is 152 billion liters of soda consumed each and every year and that is just in America. That is ridiculous Mike and we both know the major health ramifications that this large amount of soda consumption is causing to the health of all individuals not just athletes.
Americans Drink more Soda than any Other Country in the World!
Mike: I fully agree it’s absurd. There are many people that drink tons of soda and don’t even drink water.
Anthony: I can truly relate to that fact. Since I have worked with thousands of Powerlifters on a one on one basis for program design, and after reviewing their nutritional journals I also can state that many lifters do consume tons of soda. On top of this, they also consume very little if any clean water to help hydrate their bodies.
Mike: Now I was going to touch on the topic of the diet soda question. There are many people thinking that I will avoid the high fructose corn syrup and drink diet soda because this is a better choice. In diet soda, there are chemicals one being known as aspartame that are causing all types of neurological problems such as seizures, blindness, blurred vision, headaches, and so on. Within a few years, I think it will be banned from the food supply. New Mexico tried to ban this substance and the state of Hawaii is attempting to ban aspartame. I believe that drinking aspartame is putting their entire neurological system at risk. It would be better off for them to drink pure cane sugar juice than consume aspartame. It would also be better to drink cane sugar than high fructose corn syrup as well. Sugar cane juice or crystals is a far healthier natural sweetener to consume instead of either of the other two we just mentioned.
Anthony: Who are the main consumers of soda and is there any breakdown as to what types of people consume more? For example, do 6 figure executives take the cake, or does the average Joe worker?
Mike: Yes clearly soft drink marketing is targeted towards those in their teens and people in their early twenties. Younger people consume a lot more soda than older individuals. As people get older they tend to put on bodyweight especially those that are inactive. Many stop drinking soda in their thirties and forties because of this. At this point, you see a great divide. Usually, older adults, those in their thirties and forties either get informed and stop drinking sodas and stop consuming all the junk foods that they are used to or they spiral downward into a lifestyle of poor nutrition, fast food consumption, and pharmaceutical dependency. Now it is these people that end up obese, depressed, get heart disease, and they still keep on drinking sodas. Now a lot of your readers may be in their early 20’s and they will think that they are young and fit and this couldn’t happen to them. They have the mindset that none of this has happened to me yet and I drink soda so what is the big deal? Now, this may be the case when you are younger but what you have to realize is that everyone gets older. Now as you approach the age of thirty you have to make a choice. That choice is if you want to live a healthy lifestyle or you want to live a life that is full of disease. If you want to live a healthy life then there will come a day when you will have to make the decision to eliminate soft drinks from your diet for the rest of your life. Now, this is exactly what I have done with myself and I have also taught thousands of other people how to do this. Believe me when I say this but once you stop drinking soda you won’t miss it at all. There are so many other things that you can consume that are nutrient-rich that are extremely enjoyable and taste better than soda does anyways.
Anthony: How much sugar does regular soda contain on average? Which brand contains the most?
Mike: Now most of the different brands on the market contain about the same amount of sugar. I believe they average out to contain around 9 teaspoons of sugar per can which is around 45 grams of sugar. Now, this is an enormous amount of sugar and this is the main reason why I call it liquid candy. Now in terms of the different brands of soda out there, they all contain around the same amount of sugar. Actually, most sodas contain the same ingredients. These include Phosphoric Acid, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and water. Believe me when I say this but it is extremely profitable for soft drink companies to produce this stuff. This is why these companies can afford to spend so much money on marketing their sodas.
Can You Beleive 9 Teaspoons of Sugar per Can!
Anthony: Recently one of the clients that I took on for nutritional work had in his daily food journal that he consumes an average of 2 liters of soda per day. This can go as high as 3 liters on the weekend. So since there are about 36 teaspoons of sugar per liter, this guy is bouncing around 72 teaspoons of sugar Monday to Friday. Hell on the weekend he is taking in around 108 teaspoons of sugar per day. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this. The first thing I mentioned to him was how he could pollute his body to such a crazy extent on a daily basis. Not only is that much high fructose corn syrup going to have Type II Diabetes knocking on his door very soon, but what about his bones? I would like to know what his bone mineral density is actually at right now. The sad thing about this is that he mentioned that he has done this for the last 7-8 years.
Mike: That is really off the wall and it never ceases to amaze me that people don’t think about what they are putting into their bodies.
Anthony: Can you explain some of the other health ailments caused by consuming soft drinks? Are there any other chemicals that the readers should be aware of that can also cause health ailments down the road?
Mike: Now one of the other health concerns for drinking soda is chronic dehydration which I touched on earlier. Now when people drink soda they have the misconception that they are hydrating themselves because it is a liquid. In truth soda actually takes more water out of your body to process that soda than the water it actually puts into your body. So in reality every time you drink a can of soda you are in a net loss in terms of hydration. Again this is crucial for powerlifters because hydration is very important for healthy muscles and ligaments. You need to realize that dehydrated muscle tissues will tear and you will get injuries much easier. You need hydration to be injury-free as well as to have a healthy cardiovascular system.
Anthony: You really hit the nail on the head here. I have been preaching for years for powerlifters to dump the soda and start drinking plenty of clean water. I was well aware of the fact about the relation between muscle tears and the dehydration of the lifter. This is one of the main reasons why I have pushed it so hard for my readers to stay well hydrated. Powerlifters and dehydration go together like peanut butter and jelly. The two go hand in hand more than you can understand and this is why I am such an advocate of getting in plenty of clean water to prevent the body from entering a dehydrated state. There is such a direct correlation between the two that it is downright scary. Considering the fact that Powerlifters tear muscles quite often especially in competition and I know this has to do with this factor.
Mike: Now what your readers have to realize is the fact that every time you drink a can of soda you are dehydrating yourself. This, in turn, causes you to become thirstier and in turn, if you are one of those individuals that are addicted to soda then what you are going to do is reach for another soda. Now, this is one of the properties of soda that soft drink companies like to see because this makes their product way more addictive. This will cause people to keep reaching for more because they always feel thirsty. Now here is something for you to think about. If you are craving a cola in reality your body is telling you to drink water. Remember thirst is an indication that your bodies need water, not cola. Now getting back to your question about ingredients you have to realize that soda companies are in many ways a lot like tobacco companies or your neighborhood crack dealer.
They all want their product to be addictive. Now if we look back at the history of Coca Cola their original product did contain Cocaine. Now, this was back in the 1800s. This is where they got the name from. Coca is from the coca leaf and cola was from the Kola nut. This product back then was a combination of Cocaine and caffeine and a lot of sweeteners. Now if we look at it that type of drink would be extremely addictive. Now think about drinking the combination of Cocaine, caffeine, and sugar, and that right there was Coca-Cola. Later on, they were forced to take out the Cocaine but they left in the caffeine because on its own caffeine is also very addicting. Up until now, they have tens of millions of consumers in the United States alone who are in fact addicted to the caffeine in their drinks. Now for those of you who don’t know this caffeine can be just as addictive as nicotine and for some people just as addictive as Heroin. It is very hard to break the caffeine habit. Now I would like to add a little more on this topic of caffeine addiction. There is a way to tell if you are addicted to caffeine. If you are drinking a soda like Coke or Pepsi, switch to drinking a caffeine-free soda like 7 UP or Sprite. Now see how this affects you. Do you feel ok or do you notice that you are feeling symptoms of withdrawal? Now, these symptoms can include such things as headaches, shakiness, nervousness, and moodiness among others. If you are noticing any of these effects then you now know that you are chemically addicted to caffeine. That right there is actually the first step in the book that I wrote on how to quit the soft drink habit. Switching from a caffeinated soda to a decaffeinated soda is the first step for you to stop the chemical enslavement by the soda companies. Remember they want you to be addicted to the caffeine.
Did you Know the Original Coca Cola Contained Cocaine?
Part 1 Overview
So as you can see here Mike touched on a lot of different areas of concern not only for any individual but also some very important topics for the Powerlifter. Now I know a lot of you are hard-headed and being a Powerlifter and being hard-headed goes hand in hand. But the reality is that you must take care of your health. Long term quality health is something that the large majority of Powerlifters simply ignore until it is way too late. That means that unless a major health calamity affects you, you simply ignore anything related to preventing it from happening in the first place. It is very important that you take the info related above to heart. If you don’t care about your health then I am sure all of you reading this do care about your performance. Otherwise, you would not be reading this publication and my column. If you want your performance to increase take care of your health because without it you will not lift to your full potential. I know that I seem to harp on many of the different flaws that Powerlifters are known for from a nutrition and lifestyle perspective. All of this is not simply to annoy you or to poke fun at the many wrong things that you do that destroy your health and performance. I truly care about you living a healthier longer life and at the same time reaching your true potential in this sport that we all love so much. So please take note of what info that I am putting out there. In the end, the purpose of it is simply not to entertain you, or just give you another article to read when your issue of PL USA comes in the mail. I want to educate you so you understand how to improve your health and take your performance to the next level. I also want you to act upon the information that I give you so you can truly benefit from it. So next month you can look forward to Part two of this series and I am sure you will learn even more interesting information that you never even thought about. So until next month eat clean and train hard and leave that soda on the shelf!
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