The Dangers of Soda Consumption- Part 4

coca cola, coke, bottles

The Dangers of Soda Consumption

Part 4

By Anthony Ricciuto

Now since last month, the emails continue to roll in from our readers here at PL USA. It is amazing that so many readers were completely unaware of what a poison soda is for the body. Numerous lifters have written in swearing that they will no longer drink soda in any form. I am happy to hear that all the hard work that was put into this series has reaped some true and long-lasting health benefits for our readers. In this last installment, Mike is going to uncover some very interesting points in regards to the reality of the addictive nature of soda. Mike will let you in on some top industry secrets on how soda manufacturers want their products to be addictive and how they are intentionally created that way. He will also help you get rid of that monkey on your back once and for all. For those of you that want to kick your soda addiction but are unsure of what they need to do, Mike will let you in on some of his proven tips and tricks that have helped thousands of people get off soda for good. So as you can see there are some very interesting points that I have saved for last to help close this series. So let’s get to the goods!

Anthony: What about diet soda? I know a lot of readers drink diet soda thinking that it is so much better than regular soda but I know this not to be the case. Can you expand the case of regular versus diet soda?

Mike: Now let’s take a look at the reason why people drink diet soda in the first place. Most people drink it to lose weight or at least not to gain weight. That premise has been proven false by so many scientific studies. Now if you actually look at the science, go to Pub Med and you look at the studies done on diet soda. You will see that they cause no weight loss whatsoever. Plus in a recent study, one that just came out last week showed that consuming diet soda actually increases your risk of getting a heart attack.

Diet Soda is Not Healthy!

Anthony: Wow, I have not yet seen that study Mike but that is one that I will most definitely look up for sure. That is some amazing stuff right there and I am sure the readers that drink diet soda trying to feel like they are going with the healthy choice will feel different after reading this.

Mike: Now diet soda is just as harmful as regular soda just in different biochemical ways
Anthony: I agree with that fully Mike and that is why I push my athletes to stay away from soda completely.

Mike: There is nothing healthier about diet soda. Drinking soda is harmful no matter if it’s diet or not.

Anthony: What about performance and the consumption of soda? I tell my athletes to stay away from consuming any type of soda because it will cause a decrement in their training performance. Can you expand on this and how it would relate to athletes and strength athletes in particular?

Mike: This is an area that I speak about a lot. If you want optimal performance and this means both mental and physical you have to have a solid nutritional foundation.

Anthony: This is exactly what I have been preaching in this magazine for such a long time Mike and I am glad to hear that you back me up on this.

Mike: You need to have a diet that is rich in superfoods. Now I will discuss superfoods later on in more detail. You also need to avoid anything that will cause a depletion of nutrients.

Anthony: Strength athletes need to consume healthy nutrient-dense foods and at the same time avoid poisons and garbage that will rob your body of these precious nutrients.

salmon, dish, foodAtheltes Need Nutrient Rich Food Choices!

Mike: Now soda depletes nutrients from the body. It actually strips away B‐Vitamins; it strips away Calcium and Magnesium. It basically strips away the minerals that your body needs to function at elite levels. Now if you are an athlete why would you want to function at anything less than optimal potential?

Anthony: This is the truth, Mike. Why would any athlete want to cause a decrement in their performance knowing that the junk that they put in their bodies is lowering their ability to perform at their best?

Mike: As an athlete why would you want to chemically hamper your abilities? It’s like trying to be an elite Powerlifter all the while being physically and biochemically retarded. Now I mean that in a technical sense. This is because soda retards your normal physical performance capabilities of the human body. I would think any serious athlete would choose to avoid any substance that physically retarded their performance. So that is my take on that.

Anthony: Can you elaborate on the effects of carbonation and how this affects health and performance? Can this affect oxygen uptake to working muscles?

Mike: Carbonation doesn’t have any benefits to the athlete. It basically is carbon dioxide that is what carbonation is. Carbon dioxide is a waste product from respiration. Basically what we are exhaling is carbon dioxide. Now drinking carbon dioxide is like drinking a waste product.

Don’t Load Your Body with Garbage!

Anthony: That is what I was looking for right there. Hey, there is nothing like drinking a waste product, mmm mmm now that’s good!

Mike: It would be more beneficial to drink oxygen. Even that is basically useless when compared to inhaling. If you need more oxygen breathe, don’t drink carbon dioxide.

Anthony: That was funny Mike but low and behold that is basically what people are doing when they drink soda.

Mike: Now carbonation does play an important role in the marketing of soft drinks. The reason for this is to make soda addictive through a sensory quality. Carbonation in itself becomes an addictive experience. The soft drink companies study this and see how this affects people’s perception of the drink. They look at things like the feeling it has on your tongue or the sound of the can opening. These are all sensory clues that become addictive over time. This is the way soda companies can addict consumers to soda on five or six different sensory levels.

Anthony: Wow I am sure that most of you reading this are completely unaware of the reasons for many of the different chemicals put in soda. In the end, the bottom line is getting you addicted to soda so that you will be a lifelong consumer.

Mike: You see the tobacco companies know you can’t just addict someone on nicotine. You need to have a habit. It’s the way you hold the cigarette in your fingers; hold it up to your lips, the inhaling and exhaling of the smoke. These are all behavioral and sensory addictions it’s sometimes called an oral fixation. Well with soft drinks the addictions are different but they are just as powerful and carbonation is one of those sensory cues that become addictive.

Soda and Cigarettes are Highly Addictive!

Anthony: You know what it all makes sense. It’s just that the large majority of the public is unaware of what is going on behind the scenes with soda companies and the research they do to make their products more addictive. What is the relation between soda and impaired nerve function? I have heard about this theory time and time again and would like the readers to know more about this important area of concern?

Mike: Well as you know this is related to the artificial sweetener aspartame which is a known nerve toxin. In regards to regular soda, I don’t think that it causes nerve damage but rather it does eliminate the nutrients from the body that are needed for healthy nerve function. If you are deficient in B‐ Vitamins and Magnesium you are going to have nerves that function at a less than optimum level. It’s more related to suppressing your nerves than permanently damaging them.  Once you stop drinking soda your nervous system can recover and you can be fully healthy once again. You see it’s always a good time to stop drinking soda because it’s never too late. You won’t cause permanent damage and you can reverse it just like I did. Remember eight years ago I was extremely unhealthy. Today I am extremely healthy and fit and I do all kinds of lifting. I am not a powerlifter but at age 38 I am out lifting a lot of guys in their twenties.

Anthony: That is fantastic Mike. I think your example can help open the eyes of many lifters who are currently not following a healthy lifestyle and are poisoning their bodies just like you did not that long ago. The fact that you completely turned your health situation around 180 degrees is living proof of how important eating clean and nutritious foods is to maintaining your health and preventing disease. You are a living testament to the fact that it’s never too late to turn around and clean up your diet and reap the many benefits it has to offer your health and performance. Now you touched on the topic of soda being addictive earlier and I would like to go a little more in-depth now? Do you think the corporate minds are intentionally behind this?

Mike: I do believe that soda corporations on purpose make them addictive. Now, why not? If you are in business to make money, then you want your customer to be addicted to your product right? That makes marketing it so much easier. If you look at tobacco companies they manipulate the nicotine levels in their cigarettes. The soda companies manipulate the caffeine levels so they know how much goes into every can. Now you see these products like Red Bull, Monster, and other so-called energy drinks on the market. Now in my opinion these are even more dangerous than soda because they contain even more caffeine and they are more addictive because they are more biochemically seductive. I think the number of people that are addicted to these energy drinks is constantly growing and we are going to have a huge problem with our youth with such health ailments as Type II Diabetes and obesity as a result of this. So yes I believe they intentionally make them addictive. If you or I worked as a CEO of a soda company and was sitting in a big chair we would probably say to make them addictive too. But we have better ethics than that and that’s why we don’t work for these companies.

Big Corporations Just Want Your Money!

Anthony: Can you explain to the readers why soda is so addictive?

Mike: Well caffeine is a very powerful psychoactive substance. Now, most of you probably didn’t know this but caffeine is actually a pesticide. It is produced by plants to kill bugs. Now the way it kills bugs is by destroying its nervous system.

Anthony: Yea I am sure that 99% of the readers were totally unaware of that fact Mike.

Mike: Yes a lot of people don’t know that caffeine is a pesticide. That is why it gives humans a higher heart rate because your body is actually trying to get rid of that poison. It’s a natural pesticide it’s not a synthetic chemical. So never the less the purpose of caffeine is to kill bugs. Caffeine has harmful effects on the human body as well. The reason why it’s so addictive and because it’s so powerfully psychoactive is because it is clearly a brain chemistry addiction. Now anyone that has been addicted to illegal drugs they will tell you that is the hardest addiction to get rid of. I have never been addicted to street drugs so I can’t give a firsthand experience, but I do know from reports that people that have been addicted to heroin or crack have often said that nicotine and caffeine are just as difficult to get off of.

Did you Know Caffeine is a Pesticide?

Anthony: Since soda is addictive, is the best method just to quit cold turkey, or should you sort of wean yourself off it little by little?

Mike: Now remember this; I have helped thousands of people quit their soda addiction. My advice is to never try and quit cold turkey. This is the worst way to go about it and it’s destined to fail. This is especially the case if you are addicted to caffeine. The withdrawal symptoms will kick in and you will be reaching for a Coke before you know it. So you must eliminate the sensory addictions one by one. The first step in kicking the habit is to switch from drinking a caffeinated soda to a non-caffeinated soda and reduce the amount. So if you are drinking four cans of cola per day what you need to do is to drink 3 cans of cola and maybe have a Sprite. Now you should do this for a week and then you will start to take in 2 cans of cola and 2 cans of Sprite. Then you will do this for about a week. The next step is to continue this process until you are off the caffeinated soda but you are still drinking non-caffeinated soda. From here you can now try and get off Sprite and switch to healthier beverages. You can now go to 3 cans of Sprite and 1 can of iced tea. Do you see what I mean?

Anthony: Yes I see exactly what you mean. You have to quit the chemical addictions first and then the sensory addictions during the next phase. This is some excellent info that our readers will really be able to take advantage of if they decide to go clean.

Mike: Yes so make sure the iced tea is not caffeinated otherwise you will get back on the caffeine habit. Then from here, you have to slowly shift to iced tea and get off the Sprite. From that point, you can shift from iced tea to room temperate tea. You actually want to get rid of the ice habit. Then from there, you switch to herbal tea and water. Now that is how to get to your goal. It may take you two months, or 4 months or even six months that is fine. You don’t need to do it overnight; if you do it in six months then you are successful!
Anthony: I was wondering if there were any other drinks that you would recommend the readers to drink instead. I am a big advocate of green tea, but is there anything that may entice some of the more picky readers?

Mike: Green tea is an excellent example. Primarily people are going to expect all those sensory cues that they get with soda. That includes the intense sweetness, the carbonation, the coldness, and the caffeine. Now you have to work on eliminating these cues one at a time. Now the last thing to usually go is the sweetness. Now many of you might want to know why would I want to eliminate the sweetness. The reason for this is that this is what is causing the blood sugar problems, promoting Type II diabetes and weight gain, and so on. So the goal is to eventually to start drinking non sweetened natural beverage like water or herbal tea that doesn’t have any chemical additives at all. Here is the good news for you all reading this. Your taste will adapt over time. If you are drinking soda right now your taste buds have adjusted to a very intense sweetness. On the other hand right now if you had some green tea it will taste horrible to you unless you load it up with sugar. But after six months and you adjust to all that sugary soda your taste will adapt and that green tea will taste very good. What you need to know is that your taste is not fixed. It adjusts according to what you feed yourself. Little by little your tongue will adapt and you will enjoy your newfound drinks. I was actually just drinking this when you called. It is a mixed glass of juiced kale, celery, cabbage, and berries. Now eight years ago when I was unhealthy I would have thought that is the nastiest stuff on the planet but now it’s a breakfast that I have every morning and I actually crave it. Now I am sure you can understand the difference in performance when consuming a breakfast of what I just mentioned above or someone that consumes Coke or Pepsi. I am willing to challenge any doctor out there who doesn’t think nutrition plays a role in the performance of a cardiovascular test. Then we will see who can go farther.

Green Tea is Pure Goodness!

Anthony: That is right on the money Mike. I am sure there wouldn’t be too many willing to take you up on that offer because they know they will get buried. What are some of the first health and performance improvements strength athletes will notice once they ditch soda for good?

Mike: The first thing Powerlifters will notice is an overall improvement in their performance. They will notice an increase in their endurance and a faster rate of recovery. They are also going to have better sleep, better sex, and better brain function.

Anthony: Well I am not a rocket scientist but I have a feeling especially most powerlifters that I know would prefer better sex improvements rather than improved brain function. Actually, I was just teasing on that one but I am sure that Powerlifters will be happy to hear these areas of improvement that will not only help their training in the gym but also their health and quality of life. Let’s not forget their increase in performance in the gym, bedroom, and on the platform. Ooops did I just say that!

Poor Nutritional Habits Can Push You to the Blue Zone!

Mike: Now like you mentioned Anthony most people care about these things and mainly it’s the better sex. Soft drink consumption really impairs sexual function. Remember you don’t need Viagra you just need a healthy diet.

Anthony: Wow I am sure a lot of readers didn’t know that one hey boys! So put down those little blue pills and fix up that nutrition plan. I can just see the wives and girlfriends of Powerlifters all across America now taking interest in their man’s nutritional plan all of a sudden!

Mike: So you are going to see huge performance changes very quickly. Now the way Viagra works is that it brings oxygen to the tissues. Now if you need Viagra that is a sign that your blood isn’t carrying much oxygen. Now imagine trying to be an elite Powerlifter and your blood isn’t carrying much oxygen. You are not going to be very successful, are you? So what causes that? What contributes to that is nutrient depletion and imbalanced nutrient intake.

Anthony: I couldn’t have said it any better myself Mike, you hit the bull’s eye with that statement.

Mike: This is what affects the blood oxygen capability of an athlete. So remember every time you drink a soda you are depleting yourself of nutrients and hydration. You are impairing your blood’s job of carrying oxygen. Of course, that is going to lower your performance, mental function, and for some of you most importantly it’s going to lower your sexual function.

Anthony: Oh yea that one is going to hurt for all those male soda drinkers out there. Literally, it’s like a kick to the groin!

Mike: So when you stop drinking soda and you start drinking natural wholesome clean beverages like water and high-end nutritional supplements, your body is going to reform itself and start carrying much more oxygen. This means your workouts will be more intense, you can workout longer because you won’t be so tired. You will also have better mental clarity before, during, and after your workout as well. To top this off later that night you will also have very healthy normal sexual function.

Anthony: Yea I think all the male lifters were just waiting to hear that one.

Mike: Plus you won’t need drugs to enhance your libido which is a ridiculous idea when you can be virile at any age. I know guys in their sixties that eat clean diets and they are having plenty of sex.

Anthony: Can you briefly touch on how your immunity is affected by drinking soda and what can Powerlifters do to help improve their current situation?

Mike: Yes one thing that I wanted to touch on was the fact that the acidity caused by soda also impairs your immune system. Now for those of you reading this, did you ever notice how you catch a cold after a really heavy workout? Now the intense workout will wear down your immune system and then you will suppress it further by consuming a strongly acidic drink like soda. You will be much more susceptible to catching colds or flu’s or whatever is circulating around if you drink soda. So if you are a Powerlifter you should take extra care of your immune system. Now before I got to the gym, I basically load up on Vitamin C, I eat Camu Camu berries, sprouts, and sea vegetables and microalgae supplements like spirulina and chlorella. I also throw in some zinc and I do that all before I got to the gym. Now the reason why I take all that before I train is due to the fact that when my workout is over and my immune system is suppressed I know that it is nutritionally supported. By doing this I am greatly enhancing my immunity to any type of infectious pathogens.

Keeping Your Immune Sytem on the Up and Up is Critical for Performance!

Anthony: Mike it has been a real honor having you here at Powerlifting USA magazine. Mike Lambert and I would like to thank you for all your insight. Do you have any last words that you would like to touch on before we close?

Mike: Yes I want readers to know that working out for the Powerlifter is only half of the puzzle. They focus on training mainly but the real masters of Powerlifting will tell you that you need more than that. You need rest and nutrition and if you don’t have a balance between them and your training then you are never going to reach your full potential. Remember what you do when you are not lifting is just as important as what you are doing when you are lifting.

Anthony: Mike I couldn’t agree more with you on that last statement and hopefully lifters will open their eyes to the reality of optimizing their health and performance through proper nutrition.

Mike: Now that is my final bit of information that I would like to close with. You can check out my website at

Anthony: Thanks again for all your help Mike and I am sure that the readers will truly appreciate all the fantastic info that you have shared with us in this series.


In closing, I would like to remind all of you reading this series that my intention behind this was not to mock Powerlifters for consuming soda in very large amounts. I wanted to open your eyes to the dark reality of soda addiction which many of you reading this have even though you may have not been aware of it before now. Hell some of you are so stubborn you could be addicted and you may still be denying it. The purpose of this extensive series was to help educate you on a topic that very few have ever explored especially in strength circles. I didn’t just want to entertain you for several issues of this magazine, but I wanted to motivate you to change your ways so that you can live a healthier and longer life. If you are serious about your performance and becoming the best lifter you can be, then it means that you are willing to do almost anything to make it to the top. So what is the point of training with blood, sweat, and tears in the gym year after year only to decrease your performance by polluting your body? If you are truly serious about reaching your optimal potential in this sport then something as simple as giving up soda should be a no-brainer. Let’s not forget your health. Powerlifters need to take responsibility for their health and look at the long term picture. Don’t wait until a severe health ailment takes you down before you decide to change your ways, because then it will be too late. Take heed of my warnings now so that your latter years will be full of health and quality of life that you and your family can truly enjoy. So until next month eat clean, train like a beast, and please don’t poison yourself with harmful chemicals that offer nothing to your performance or health!

Isn’t it Time to Drop Soda for Good?

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