Did you know that drinking just one daily soda can put 15 pounds of extra weight on you in one year?
That sobering statistic was discovered by the Harvard School of Public Health, in a study published in 2006 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. For those with arthritis, weight gain means added pressure on aching hips and knees. But there’s more bad news. The phosphorus in soda is suspected of causing calcium loss. That’s an essential bone-building mineral people with arthritis can’t afford to lose!
1. The origins of soda. Today’s carbonated soft drinks have little in common with the first carbonated beverages. Soda was invented in the early 1800s as “imitation mineral water” and sold for its health benefits. Almost forgotten now, the original sodas were formulated as a nerve tonic containing the stimulants of both coca leaves (cocaine) and cola nuts, as well as wine. Only later were they reformulated with sugar instead of wine or cocaine, and mass-marketed as refreshments.
2. Soda — the weight-gain drink. The red-and-white logo of that early coca beverage is now a behemoth that dominates the global bottled beverage industry. There’s no escaping it. Each 12-ounce can contains a seemingly innocent 140 calories and 39 grams of “carbohydrates.” What isn’t obvious from the label, though, is that carbohydrates in a soda means sugar (usually high-fructose corn syrup) — in fact, 13 teaspoons of table sugar in every can!
3. Reduce arthritis pain with healthy drinks. The healthiest beverage for healing arthritis doesn’t come in a red-and-white can. In fact, you won’t hear much about this one. That’s because it’s too ubiquitous and too obvious. Yes, I’m talking about clean, filtered water —the kind that you filter at home and carry in a stainless steel or glass bottle. Commercial bottled water is unregulated, polluted, and the plastic leaches into the water and is terrible for the environment.
If you’re glum about the dullness of water, that’s because your taste buds have been co-opted by your soda habit. Soon you’ll find water to be satisfying and refreshing. But in the meantime–and to mix things up—try these healthy, jazzy alternatives.
It’s quick and easy to make healing spritzers with seltzer water or naturally sparkling mineral waters, which have no phosphorus. So try adding a splash of 100% real fruit juice to it. Teas help fight free radicals and inflammation. Ginger is a fantastic anti-inflammatory, so steep ginger in water and add it to your teas and spritzers. Or whip up a fruit smoothie from unsweetened almond milk, berries, almond butter and a spoonful or two of ground flaxseed. Both your taste buds and your joints will thank you.