Volume 10, Issue 5

August 2018

Healthy Alternatives to Soft Drinks

I hope you're enjoying a safe, healthy summer! One thing we tend to do more of in summer that isn't so healthy is drink soft drinks. Numerous studies have shown the negative health effects of drinking soft drinks on your waistline and your teeth. However, there are far more health risks than many of us may realize.

Of course, it's very important to stay well-hydrated, especially in the hot weather, and there are healthy cold and hot drinks we'll also discuss. Read on below...

These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better as it is a step towards longevity.

Ramila Padiachy

Doctor of Natural Medicine (DNM)®


The many reasons drinking soft drinks is bad for your health

  • Soft drinks contain high amounts of sugar. A 20 ounce can of (regular) Coca-Cola has the equivalent of 17 teaspoons of sugar and 240 calories - empty calories with no nutritional value. It would take the average adult over one hour of walking to burn off the 240 calories.
  • The high levels of sugar in soft drinks place a lot of stress on your pancreas, potentially leaving it unable to keep up with the body's need for insulin. Drinking one or two sugary drinks per day increases your risk of type 2 diabetes by 25%.
  • Similarly, drinking one or more soft drinks per day may increase your risk of developing metabolic syndrome and heart disease. In the Framingham study of over 9,000 participants, those who consumed one or more soft drinks per day over a four year period had a 48% increased risk of metabolic syndrome compared to those consuming less than one soft drink daily.
  • Drinking soft drinks changes your metabolism. In one study, participants drank 140 grams of sugar every day for four weeks (less than two 20 ounce cans of Coke). Their metabolism changed during that time making it more difficult for them to burn fat and lose weight.
  • Daily soft drinks and other sugar sweetened drinks are linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In one study, 2,634 individuals completed a CT scan to measure the amount of fat in their liver. There was a higher prevalence of NAFLD among people who reported drinking more than one sugar-sweetened drink per day compared to people who said they drank no sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Soft drinks increase the risk of obesity in children. Each additional soft drink or other sugary drink consumed per day increases the likelihood of a child becoming obese.
  • Diet soft drinks contain artificial sweeteners. Opting for diet soft drinks may lower your calorie intake, but artificial sweeteners are linked to many illnesses including cancer.
  • Diet soft drinks do not help you lose weight. A University of Texas Health Science Center study found that the more diet soft drinks a person drank, the greater their risk of becoming overweight.
  • Diet soft drinks are linked with an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and dementia, as well as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
  • The many soft drinks that contain caffeine dehydrate - they are diuretics. When the body's cells are dehydrated, they have difficulty absorbing nutrients, and it is also more difficult for the body to eliminate waste.
  • The caramel colouring in colas is linked to cancer. The brown colouring is made by reacting sugars with ammonia and sulphites under high pressure and temperatures, not from caramelized sugar. These chemical reactions result in the formation of 2-methylimidazole (2-MI) and 4-methylimidazole (4-MI), which, in government-conducted studies, caused lung, liver and thyroid cancer and leukemia in laboratory mice and rats.
  • Soft drink cans are lined with BPA (bis-phenol A), which has been linked to a wide range of health problems from heart disease to obesity to reproductive problems.
  • The acid in soft drinks wears away dental enamel. Drinking soft drinks regularly causes plaque to build up on the teeth and can lead to cavities and gum disease.
  • Soft drinks deplete your mineral levels. Soft drinks that contain phosphoric acid remove much-needed calcium from your bones. A study of several thousand men and women at Tufts University found that women who drank three or more cola-based soft drinks per day had almost 4% lower bone mineral density in their hips; the researchers controlled for their calcium and vitamin D intake.
  • Soft drinks have been linked to asthma. A study done in South Australia of almost 17,000 participants aged 16 years and older, showed high levels of soda consumption were positively associated with asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Healthy alternatives to soft drinks

  1. Water. Many people live in a state of chronic, low-level dehydration that can affect every part of their health including cognitive performance and mental health. If you're a soft drink addict and find it difficult to switch to water, try sparkling water. If you prefer drinking flavoured beverages, try infusing drinking water with a slice of lemon, lime, orange or other fresh fruit, or combinations of fresh fruit. To infuse water, you can try an infusion bottle, or simply make up a pitcher of water plus your choice of fruit (thinly sliced) and chill it in the refrigerator for four hours or overnight for a refreshing treat.
  2. Green tea is one of the best beverages for cancer prevention, and also improves artery function, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Note that adding milk (either cow's milk or soy milk) has been found to dramatically reduce the availability of the antioxidants in tea. Adding lemon, on the other hand, increases levels of antioxidants.
  3. Hibiscus tea was found to be the highest in antioxidants, in a study of 283 beverages. Hibiscus tea can be quite tart. Watermelon and lime can be added to create an interesting flavour combination.
  4. Water with apple cider vinegar has been used as a folk remedy for many ailments. There are many health benefits of consuming vinegar with a meal, including a reduction in the spike in blood sugar, insulin and triglycerides. It also increases the feeling of being full after a meal. Vinegar has also been found to reduce body weight and body fat mass in a recent Japanese study.
  5. White tea is the least processed (followed by green, then oolong, then black). White tea has a light, delicate flavour. Plain white tea doesn't have as high a level of antioxidants as green tea, but when combined with lemon, the level of antioxidants increased to a much higher level than green tea with lemon.

I hope you enjoy these healthy alternatives to soft drinks as well as Nature's Sunshine products recommended below



  1. McFarland E. 21 ways drinking soda is bad for your health. Food and Health July 25, 2016, Accessed July 4, 2018.
  2. Ten reasons to avoid soda (& how to kick the habit). Updated April 19, 2018, Accessed July 17, 2018.
  3. Calderone J. The mounting evidence against diet sodas. May 24, 2017, Accessed July 17, 2018.
  4. Mercola J. Give up soda. January 10, 2018, Accessed July 17, 2018.
  5. The 5 healthiest beverages you should be drinking now. Accessed July 4, 2018.

Disclaimer: The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.


There are some Nature's Sunshine supplements that would give you healthy substitutes for soft drinks. You can find information about these products and purchase them in our online store:

  • Chlorophyll, Liquid (mix with water)
  • Solstic Energy (one per day is a healthy alternative to popular energy drinks)
  • Solstic Nutrition (a delicious multi-vitamin/mineral supplement drink mix; take one per day)
Milk Thistle

For additional information, please email or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment. Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter. Also, on our website, please see back issues of this newsletter, information about services, products and our clinic, and order products.

Ramila created a nutritional plan for me. She also taught me how to balance out my nutritional needs and what kinds of foods eat and to avoid. I started seeing major differences in my body and overall health in just 3 weeks. I had more energy, my headaches were fewer to none, and my feet and joints didn’t hurt as much. I stuck to the health plan and went from a size 15 to now a size 9. I have lost 40 lbs.


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