What Soft Drinks Do to Your Body
Interview with Dr. Gloria Gilbère
Interviewed by Lyle Hurd
January 17, 2008
Lyle Hurd: I grew up on Coke and Pepsi.
Dr. Gloria Gilbère: Oh, my gosh.
LH: And I won’t touch Diet Coke and Pepsi because I know it’s no good for me and I don’t drink a lot of pop, but I still like a bottle of pop. Tell us about whether or not that’s pretty good for your health or it’s okay for your health and, unfortunately, I’m afraid you’re going to tell me it’s not very good for my health.
GG: Well, it’s not. But, you know, everything in moderation.
LH: In moderation.
GG: I’m not here to say don’t drink a Coke or a Pepsi or that type of a soft drink. If you have to have one a day, it’s not going to kill you. The point is that people don’t have one a day. It becomes addictive like a cup of coffee.
GG: And so the statistics are within the first 10 minutes that you drink that Coke, 10 teaspoons of sugar hit you system. Okay? That’s why we get that rapid high. That’s why we people drink Coke or those type of drinks, right? Within 20 minutes, your blood pressure spikes and your liver responds. So the minute we kick that liver into motion, then it bursts insulin. So can you imagine if you a syndrome X, hypoglycemic, or diabetic, what it’s going to do to you. The liver’s screaming. It’s bursting with insulin coming out. Then within 40 minutes, the caffeine absorption is totally complete. So your pupils are dilated the same way if you had taken some kind of amphetamine. Your blood pressure rises, your pupils are dilated and your liver dumps more sugar into the bloodstream to try and overcome that. Okay? Then within 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production and the dopamine production stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain so people feel good, right? They get that natural high. But it’s a physically identical response in the body to heroin.
GG: So, not only are we going—that’s why we have such an increase in diabetics, because we’re so addicted to these soft drinks that have such a high sugar content. And then people will go–I have had patients that have said to me, “but I buy that nice”—and I’m not mentioning any brands—“that nice bottle of ice tea that’s supposed to be healthy for me because it’s green tea.” They never read the label. We go back to patient education again. The first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup. That’s sugar. It’s sugar any way you look at it. So, not only do you have all of these highs and lows and the liver just screaming, but then within 60 minutes of drinking that, you have a sugar crash. So what do you need? Another drink of the same type to bring you back up again. So you have this constant pendulum, this swinging, and that’s just not healthy. Not to mention the fact that you can become diabetic.
LH: So then if I go and buy a nice big bottle of Knutson’s Wild Cherry Juice and drink that, I’m just drinking pure sugar, right?
GG: Well, it depends on the cherry juice. If it’s unsweetened pure cherry juice, you’re okay.
GG: But you still have natural sugar in it.
LH: But that should be all right, right?
GG: Not if you’re diabetic. If you’re a diabetic, you have to watch your sugar levels. So whether it’s a piece of fruit which has natural sugar, or whether it’s artificial sugar, it’s still sugar to the pancreas. So you still have to be careful. But yes. For a healthier drink, I like cranberry juice. I buy the concentrate cranberry that doesn’t have any sugar and it’s tart. But I like the tartness. So I just add a little bit of to my water. I don’t drink it straight because I can’t tolerate it. It’s too tart. But you can do many of those things like that with the flavors that you like with the natural, unsweetened, pure concentrate.
LH: And great alternatives—
LH: To Coke or Pepsi or other kind of cola or soda drink.
GG: Or make a lemonade or an ice tea that’s healthy and use a natural sweetener. Okay?
LH: Great idea. Thanks.
GG: You’re welcome.