To stay slim and maintain a lean physique, you probably already know that you need to watch what you eat.

You should avoid overly fatty, highly processed foods. Your plate should be filled with a variety of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

That all makes sense.

But did you know that you should be watching what you drink, too?

In fact, the beverages you ingest could be secretly packing the pounds onto your body.

No matter how careful you are with your diet, if you’re sipping on a can of soda or two per day, you may find yourself steadily gaining weight.

But don’t the laws of thermodynamics apply here? What’s so unique about soda that could be causing you to get fat?

While most experts agree that weight maintenance requires energy balance, soda is somehow different. And when you drink it?

You gain weight.

Soda Doesn’t Fill You Up

When you’re hungry, you typically eat something.

Whether you’re trying to stay healthy, or you’re just interested in getting some quick energy in your mouth, you’ll grab a bite to eat to silence your growling stomach.

However, many people feel like their meal isn’t complete without a soft drink on the side. Heck, they’re often also included in many combo meals at fast-food restaurants.

The problem with soda, though, is that it isn’t food. And your body doesn’t consider it food, either.

Unlike the fibre found in whole grains, which are shown to fill you up, soda has no fibre. And unlike the protein found in chicken or tofu, guess what? Yep, soda has no protein, either.

It’s just a straight shot of sugar, right into your system.

Even worse, it’s empty calories. A 12-ounce soda often has 150 calories or more in it. And do you really think they’re giving you just 12 ounces at the restaurant?

So, in addition to consuming these empty calories, you’re also still hungry. 

Instead of being satisfied after drinking a soda, as you may feel after eating a meal, you’ll still be scrounging around for more food.

In Fact, Soda May Make You Hungrier

To add insult to injury, soda not only doesn’t fill you up, but it could also be making you hungrier.

Oh, the outrage!

Not only are you consuming a large portion of your day’s energy requirement on this sugary beverage… but you’re also not making a dent in your hunger. 

And you still may be even hungrier than before after drinking it. That’s simply unacceptable!

Sadly, it’s true. Studies have shown that drinking soda could actually make your appetite wake up, leading you to want to eat even more.

To keep the unwanted pounds off, you’re simply going to have to skip the sweet stuff. 

Soda Can Lead to Insulin Resistance

Soda isn’t just making you hungrier, though.

In fact, the many transgressions of soda are actually very far-reaching. It’s quite terrible if you think about it.

When you drink soda, your body will release insulin to help digest this huge amount of sugar. Over time, it’ll have to release more and more insulin to help metabolize it. 

Finally, it’ll get to a point where it loses the ability to digest the soda properly. Your body will start to ignore this signal to release insulin.

When this occurs, you have officially developed insulin resistance. 

Insulin resistance is often considered a type of prediabetes. And not only does this set you up for a huge list of health complications, but it could also be making you gain weight.

Having insulin resistance has been shown to cause massive inflammation in your body, especially in your body’s fatty tissue. Elevated inflammation is also understood to be a huge contributor to the obesity epidemic.

To keep your body slim, lean, and healthy, avoid the soda. It’s just not worth it.

Drinking Soda Can Cause Belly Fat

Having some fat on your body isn’t just normal – it’s actually considered quite healthy.

That said, some of the fat that can accumulate on your body can be downright dangerous. This fat is known as visceral fat or belly fat. 

This is the fat that grows around your belly. When it forms there, it can start to build up over your vital organs.

Having an excessive amount of visceral fat has been shown to lead to serious health issues. These include diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

Do you want to take a guess as to what could be causing visceral fat to form on your body? If you guessed soda, then you’d be right.

There really are no redeeming qualities to soda, are there?

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

On average, about half of the population has at least one soda (or another sweetened beverage) per day. For children, that number is higher and approaches around two-thirds of them drinking a soda each day.

That means that at about 150 calories per pop, you’re at risk of consuming over 1,000 calories per week of soda.

According to the American Heart Association, that greatly exceeds their recommended amount. They advise that you limit yourself to no more than 450 calories per week from sodas or about 3 soft drinks per week. 

While many people argue that how much soda you drink should be a personal choice, others have taken a firmer position against soft drink consumption.

More and more cities and states are introducing a so-called “soda tax” to help combat these rising numbers. While this tax is somewhat controversial, studies have shown that they have been successful.

Soda consumption in areas that have a soda tax has plummeted. In some cases, consumption has been slashed in half.

Other studies have been more conservative, saying that they’ve only dropped by about 22 percent. Researchers suggest that people may be driving to other areas to get their fix, where the soda isn’t taxed as high.

Regardless, it’s still a significant drop.

But is it the solution to the obesity epidemic?

It may be too soon to tell. But whether or not your city has a soda tax, you can still take steps to reduce your soda consumption.

Instead of sipping on soft drinks at mealtimes, instead, reach for water. Or, if you prefer, you can try unsweetened tea, infused water (water that has fruit steeped in it), or even carbonated sparkling water.

For your own health and wellbeing, as well as for your waistline, though? Don’t drink the soda. 

When you consider all of the health complications that can arise from soda consumption – such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes – the answer is fairly cut and dry.

Drinking soda just isn’t worth it.

Article written by Trevor McDonald