Extreme Newsletter—Diet and fitness tips, recipes, and motivation

Issue #024 (04/14/10) Drop the Pop

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Top 10 Reasons to Give Up Soda

By Steve Edwards

If you're looking for a scapegoat in the obesity epidemic, look no further than soda. It's the single greatest caloric source in the world, accounting for somewhere between 11 and 19 percent of all the calories consumed worldwide. It's cheap, addictive, and readily available, which generally means it'll take some willpower to avoid. But don't despair, as we at Beachbody® are here to help. We now present our top 10 reasons to give up soda. Drumroll, please . . .

Woman Thinking about Giving Up Soda

  1. Soda may cause cancer. According to a report in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, consuming two or more soft drinks per week increased the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by nearly twofold compared to individuals who didn't consume soft drinks. As reported, the study "followed 60,524 men and women in the Singapore Chinese Health Study for 14 years. During that time, there were 140 pancreatic cancer cases. Those who consumed two or more soft drinks per week (averaging five per week) had an 87 percent increased risk compared with individuals who did not."

    Then why, you're probably asking yourself, is this number 10 on our list, and why is soda still even on the shelf? Not that I'd challenge the ability of such large corporate power to hide such a thing but, in this case, the study slit its own throat. As one of the researchers noted, "Soft drink consumption in Singapore was associated with several other adverse health behaviors such as smoking and red meat intake, which we can't accurately control for," meaning that we have no way of knowing for sure if soda was the culprit. Still, it doesn't hurt to know that when you drink soda it lumps you into a fairly unhealthy user group.1
  2. It's not just about calories. Calories grab headlines, but recent science is showing that diet soda drinkers are still in the crosshairs. A 2005 study by the University of Texas Health Science Center showed there's a 41 percent increased risk of being obese—and a 65 percent increased risk of becoming overweight during the next 7 or 8 years—for every can of diet soda a person consumes in a day. Admittedly, this one should be higher on the list, but I wanted to make sure the article-skimming crowd knew the score up front: that diet sodas are very much a part of the problem.
  3. Pouring WaterIt's the water . . . and a lot more. Okay, so that was a beer slogan, but soda is also made up mainly of water, and when you're slinging as much of it as they are, and you need to sling it cheap, sometimes you can't help but run into problems with your supply chain. In India, Coca-Cola® has found itself in hot water, and not the kind they thought they were purchasing rights to. Two of their factories have been closed, but one continues to run amok.

    According to a report in The Ecologist, "They accuse the company of over-extracting groundwater, lowering the water tables and leaving farmers and the local community unable to dig deep enough to get to vital water supplies. Since the bottling plant was opened in 2000, water levels in the area have dropped six metres, and when a severe drought hit the region earlier this year the crops failed and livelihoods were destroyed."2
  4. BPA: not just for water bottles anymore. Nalgene® and other water bottle companies took the heat when the dangers of bisphenol A (BPA) were made public a couple years back. While these companies went to great lengths to save their businesses, the soda companies somehow flew under the radar and continue to use it in their products. A recent Canadian study has found that BPA exists "in the vast majority" of the soft drinks tested. Most of these were under the national limits set for toxicity, but some were not. And remember how much soda the average person consumes, meaning odds are most soda consumers are at some risk.

    "Out of 72 drinks tested, 69 were found to contain BPA at levels below what Health Canada says is the safe upper limit. However, studies in peer-reviewed science journals have indicated that even at very low doses, BPA can increase breast and ovarian cancer cell growth and the growth of some prostate cancer cells in animals."3
  5. Can convenience. As in the 1950s colloquialism: can it. Speaking of the 1950s, those were the happy days when most of our soda was consumed at soda fountains, obesity was a term hardly anyone had heard of, and the most feared epidemic was one involving atomically mutated insects taking over the world. Now instead of hoofing it down to the corner confectionery for one soda, we fill trucks with pallets of shrink-wrapped cans or bottles and quaff the stuff by the six-pack. Not only does this ensure that our diets will be out of balance, it wreaks havoc on the world around us. The bottled-water industry (which is mostly owned by the soda industry) famously uses 17 million barrels of oil a year, and the aluminum industry uses as much electricity as the entire continent of Africa. Not only that, aluminum mining accounts for a ton of toxic chemicals left behind for every ton of the metal produced.4
  6. The Frankenfood factor. Whether you consume diet or regular soda, you're getting all the genetically modified food you need and more, via high fructose corn syrup or aspartame. Both of these are under plenty of scientific as well as anecdotal scrutiny. Findings aren't pretty, but so far this multibillion-dollar industry has kept these sweeteners on the shelves while alternative sweeteners meeting cost requirements are explored. Since it's almost impossible to read health headlines without finding one of these ingredients in some type of controversy, I'll just use one example:

    "The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition and food safety advocacy group, called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to review the claims, which stem from research conducted by the European Ramazzini Foundation in Italy. The foundation reported that rats who consumed aspartame in exceedingly large quantities were more likely to develop cancer. CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson considers this an important finding that should not be overlooked." 5

    I know, there I go again with the cancer. But some people need to be shocked in order to take action. For me, seeing the Diet Coke® and Mentos® experiment was all I needed to swear off the stuff.
  7. Child Drinking SodaForeign news cares how much soda we sell in our schools. How bad is your country's problem when the whole world is watching its daily actions? "Nearly one in three children and teenagers in the U.S. are overweight or obese and health experts say sugary drinks are part of the problem." 6 Yep, bad. The world is well aware of the problems soda is causing and is looking to us to lead. And we certainly are trying. Are you with the program?

    "Under the voluntary guidelines, in place since 2006, full-calorie soft drinks were removed from school canteens and vending machines. Lighter drinks, including low-fat milk, diet sodas, juices, flavoured waters and teas were promoted in their place."6

    And, while great and all, it appears that no one got the memo about diet sodas.
  8. Diet? Um, that's just like your opinion, man. When it comes to soda, treat the word "diet" as a slogan. A study at Boston University's School of Medicine linked diet soda with increased risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. To be more specific, the study "found adults who drink one or more sodas a day had about a 50 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome," which is a cluster of risk factors such as excessive fat around the waist, low levels of "good" cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other symptoms that lead to heart disease and/or diabetes. And, for those of you only concerned about how you look in the mirror, "Those who drank one or more soft drinks a day had a 31 percent greater risk of becoming obese."
  9. Soda outkills terrorists. A study out of the University of California, San Francisco, shows that soda has killed at least 6,000 Americans in the last decade.

    From ABC News: "The new analysis, presented Friday at the American Heart Association's 50th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, offers a picture of just how horrifying the damage done by excess consumption of sugary drinks can be.

    "Using a computer model and data from the Framingham Heart Study, the Nurses Health Study and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers estimated that the escalating consumption between 1990 and 2000 of soda and sugar-sweetened beverages, which they abbreviated as 'SSBs,' led to 75,000 new cases of diabetes and 14,000 new cases of coronary heart disease.

    "What's more, the burden of the diseases translated into a $300 million to $550 million increase in health care costs between 2000 and 2010."7
  10. It's the "real thing" . . . not exactly. Should having the number-one source of calories in the world come from something that's entirely manmade be a metaphor for a dying world? It doesn't have to be this way. After all, there's nothing in soda that we need. In fact, there's nothing in soda that even comes from the earth except caffeine, and that's optional. It's a mixture of altered water (injected with carbon dioxide gas), artificial flavors (yes, "natural flavor" is artificial), artificial color, and phosphoric acid, along with its sole caloric source that is a by-product of genetically modified corn production and offers virtually no nutritional value. It's about as real as The Thing.
  • Sources:
  • 1 http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-02/aafc-sdc020310.php
  • 2 http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/373906/cocacola_just_part_of_ indias_water_freeforall.html
  • 3 http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/03/05/popcans.html
  • 4 http://www.pacinst.org/topics/water_and_sustainability/bottled_water/ bottled_water_and_energy.html, http://www.earth-policy.org/index.php?/books/eco/eech6_ss3
  • 5 http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Diet/story?id=3317079&page=1&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312
  • 6 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8557195.stm
  • 7http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/study-sugary-drinks-lead-early-grave/story?id=10019518 "

I use to be addicted to Red Bull but stopped once I was using Shakeology.   I feel healthier and I no longer crash and burn. - Joanne C, CA

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"Eating for Great Abs"
"10 Ways to Have a Great Holiday Eating Plan"
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Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Wednesday, April 14th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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Staying Fit While Traveling: Leave Jet Lag Behind

By Shaun T

As a performer and fitness presenter, I regularly travel through several time zones across the globe on my way to Europe or, well, you name the place, it's probably on my schedule. These long trips often have one negative result that everyone knows as "jet lag," and one of the most common symptoms I experience is a disruption in my normal sleep-wake cycle. Occasionally I find myself suffering from jet leg once I arrive at my destination, which can be really inconvenient because I need to be in peak performance mode. No one wants to bring in a choreographer from Hollywood just to have them napping offstage. I need to get off the plane and be ready to be dynamic as a dancer or fitness personality.

Man Sleeping on Globe Pillow—Airplane Flying

You don't have to be a performer to use these tips—so many of us travel for business or for family events and want to be at our best while away from home (and of course upon our return!).

If you've ever traveled for an extended period of time, you're familiar with the symptoms I'm talking about: sleepy during the day, wide awake at night, difficulty focusing, lack of memory, irritable, dizzy, headachy, sore muscles, and (often most uncomfortably) digestive upsets.

I've read various articles on this subject, and here are some tips that I've tried and personally find useful to combat jet lag:

  1. A few days before my trip, I try to reset my internal clock. For example, if I'm traveling to the East Coast from the West Coast, I aim to go to bed 1 hour earlier each night, and I get up an hour earlier than normal. This 1-hour difference in my internal clock really does minimize the jolt to my sleep patterns, so I try to put this tip into action any time I don't have a last-minute schedule and have a few days to prepare.
  2. I try to schedule daytime flights whenever possible in an attempt to avoid sleep loss and fatigue. I can then get settled at my destination, have a sensible dinner, and go to sleep pretty easily. Not to say that I can't be seen eating at a JFK Airport kiosk at midnight during a layover to Berlin, but I try to avoid that situation. And it goes without saying that you should avoid traveling when you're already sleep deprived.
  3. While on the plane, I wear comfortable clothes that allow me to be relaxed and not feel confined. The same goes for footwear as well. I often bring along a set of warm slipper socks with me so I can kick off my sneakers and chill.
  4. During the flight, I keep hydrated by sticking to at least one bottle of water and avoiding alcohol, sugary drinks, and caffeinated beverages.
  5. Hot TeaYou may consider a mild sleep aid like melatonin or a "bedtime" tea (Yogi Tea has a good one) should you still suffer from sleep deprivation on day 2 or 3. This can finally get you back on track so you can snooze your way back on schedule. Most importantly, be patient with yourself and your body, as it may take you a day or two to acclimate.

Hope you find these helpful—I always find that sleep, like nutrition and exercise, is extra-important when you're on the go.

Peace out,
Shaun T

Related Articles
"Shaun T's Diamond Jump"
"8th Law of Exercise: Sleep (and Stress)"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Wednesday, April 14th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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P90X®/INSANITY® Fusion—Round 2, Days 1 to 180

DCIScreaminBugle adhered to his P90X/INSANITY fusion program with "hard work, sweat, tears, dedication, and motivation" from day 1 to day 180. Now watch his time-lapse YouTube® video to see his amazing results. You won't believe the change in his shoulders, back, arms—or especially his six-pack! We can't wait for round 3.

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Recipe: Bubba's Bakalo Wings

Hot Wings

While there's no shortage of athletes hawking chicken wings these days, they would've had pretty limited success in sports if they'd been consuming those deep-fried treats during their prime. Here's an easy-to-make recipe that'll give you a good shot of protein while you're watching the big game. This recipe's for the more cautious of palate, but if you've got a "hot tooth," we definitely recommend loading the recipe up with your favorite no-fat hot sauce.

  • 1 lb. chicken drummettes (about 24 pieces)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. Tabasco® sauce (or similar)
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • No-fat hot sauce (optional)
  • Paprika (to taste)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Resealable plastic bag (gallon size), or large bowl with cover

Remove skin from chicken. Mix honey, ketchup, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and your favorite no-fat hot sauce (optional, for added heat) in resealable plastic bag or large sealable bowl. Add chicken, shake thoroughly, and refrigerate for 4 hours or more to marinate.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Remove chicken from bag or bowl, place on cookie sheet, and sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered until chicken is crisp and no longer pink in the center—about 30 minutes. Serves 12.

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
89 10 g 0 g 4 g 2 g 1 g

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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