This is what one sip of soda does to your body.

Via elephant journal
on Jul 3, 2012
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>>> Update (January, 2015): Coke plans to make their soda less sweet in Canada. (That doesn’t make the below info less disturbing, though.)

I live in the fittest state in the nation. But before we go patting ourselves on our toned backs, let’s remember: only 20 years ago, when I graduated high school, our current state of obesity would have made us the fattest state in the nation.

Stat: America’s gaining weight, and quickly.

Time to wake up, parents in particular! ~ Waylon Lewis, ed.

Click here for Map.

Think the below is sca-wee? It gets scarier.

Note: Double-click image to make it huge and readable:



According to one of our readers, the chemical that should be listed on this image is Bisphenol A, as there are two phenol groups in this chemical.


What Happens One Hour After Drinking A Can Of Coke


Do you know what’s in your beer? Know your beer. Enjoy your beer: 

Weight loss, racism, self-acceptance, humor:


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive. Questions? info elephantjournal com


83 Responses to “This is what one sip of soda does to your body.”

  1. delora says:

    High fructose corn syrup slows the synapses of the brain – basically making you stupid.

    • Colin Wiseman says:

      And also goes a long long way of making folks fat. The BBC told me so 😀

    • Guest says:

      High Fructose Corn syrup is almost identical to regular table sugar. No better, no worse for the body, or the synapses.

  2. mccubma says:

    Is there a similar chart for diet soda?

  3. @gmcheeseman says:

    I rarely drink sodas, but after seeing that illustration, I'm not drinking them at all.

  4. Annie Ory says:

    @mccubma – it's that chart but you can replace the sugar impact with the impact of aspartame – blech – even worse.

  5. Lisa says:

    SODA ? Are you referring to all fizzy drinks ?

    As I understand SODA to be very similar to lemonade but without the high sugar content I am finding this story really hard to swallow. If the word SODA is referring to COKE, PEPSI, LIMEADE, CHERRYADE, etc then I fully understand…

    By the way I am not a fizzy drink drinker !

    • Rachel says:

      I believe so, yes! I think it's a regional thing – here, 'soda' pretty much refers to anything carbonated.

    • starbaby says:

      Yes, whether you refer to it as Pop, Soda, etc… it's all the same – high sugar (including sugar substitutes) carbonated drinks

  6. James says:

    This information is ABSOLUTELY spot on! Humans should NEVER consume pop, soda…what ever you prefer to call it. We consume so much of this globally that coke and pepsi are making tens of BILLIONS of dollars making everyone fat, sick, and nearly dead.
    Wake up world, the "engineered" food supply being shoved at you and approved by your governments is going to start killing more and more people earlier in life.
    You heard it here first

  7. ANOOP says:

    great information on what a soft drink can do harm to you

  8. Arodion says:

    Bout a liter per day for the last 6 years, probably half that for 10 years before then:

    24yo, 140lbs, active athlete, above average iq.

    Its not the soda making you fat. Its your sedintary lifestyle.

  9. Michelle says:

    This article was written by a bunch of quacks. I drink at least 5 cans of diet soda per day, every day, and have done so for probably the last 20 years. I'm in my 30s and I have no issues with any of the medical conditions listed. In fact, I am quite healthy without any chronic medical conditions. I also eat a balanced diet, do not smoke, and I exercise 4-5 days per week, and drink plenty of water. Try doing those things and don't blame the soda, sillies.

  10. Jill says:

    Everything in moderation and get some exercise!

  11. Ro says:

    This is truly amazing, because as Americans, soda is probably the easiest and cheapest beverage available and we really don’t think about what we consume daily! This makes me think twice or thrice!

    • guest says:

      shouldn't tap water be the easiest and cheapest beverage? except in some rural areas, tap water is usually safer than bottled water. Don't like the taste? add some lemon/lime/cucumber. (or get a Brita water filter)

    • Dave says:

      Really ? Water costs more in the USA ?

  12. […] This is what one sip of soda does to your body. This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Relief for Joints Besieged by Arthritis […]

  13. zwrdl says:

    One sip? This is the kind of alarmist crap I would expect from a political advertisement. Whereas it might be true that over time the effects of soda increase the probabilities for these detrimental effects, one sip of it will do absolutely nothing harmful unless there is an allergy to one of the ingredients.

    But it makes a nice headline, doesn’t it? The fact that it reduces the credibility of elephantjournal apparently was a secondary consideration.

  14. gayathri sridhar says:

    ok nice thing of awareness, will be a better one if it is put in the terms in which children could understand!

  15. Mike says:

    what a crap article, not founded on any proven hard, facts. Show the research sources and related official documents??? These are all assumptions, fantasy. If, then, there, is, when if and maybe perhaps.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Mike, sources are listed at the bottom of the infographic.

      That said, nothing wrong with enjoying yummy desserts and such—let's just remember that corn syrup and such aren't good for us, and maybe go for lemonade or quality old school soda pop with less additives. We did a blog on that awhile back.

      Also Oogave might be healthier, and still delicious. And Izze I know is made with real fruit juice, must be healthier. We don't have to give up soda (we don't have to do much of anything, it's up to us!).

    • Eric says:

      even scientists have not concluded the diffrence sugar and corn syrup make. saying corn syrup is worse. no conclusions. sure filling your beverage diet with soda only can lead to negative health effects, but its all about how you build your lifestyle. u must make water your primary source as a beverage. and get that fat ass on a stairmaster!!!! i agree with you. more hippie propoganda

  16. kris says:

    I'm surprised to find so many people disagreeing with this- I thought it was old news. Soda is TERRIBLE for your health and should never be consumed. Diet soda is even worse (aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are neurotoxins, among other things). And yes, there are TONS and TONS and TONS of studies and research to back this up. You really can't argue with the fact that soda is detrimental to your health in a multitude of ways, just look at the ingredients! I suggest checking out Dr. Mercola's Website and searching for more articles on soda and its ill health effects. And just because you have been drinking diet soda your entire life and are alive doesn't mean a thing- people say the same of alcohol, cigarettes, hell even heroine! Doesn't mean you are truly healthy, and for most people soda is linked to obesity though of course if you are eating well overall and exercising then you will maintain your weight regardless.
    It is really about informing yourself- do not assume that because something is so accepted socially that it is healthy or safe to consume. Research it and you will find this diagram is spot on and hopefully wake up!

  17. Dan says:

    To those who would nay say, remember this: Icebergs of this magnitude can be mostly underwater. Soda consumers may think they are doing well now, but the stress on the organs to maintain healthy functionality will at some point show their wear and tear and fail to function. I'm watching current soda-drinkers-in-denial destroy their bodies presently – wow, its real life, real consequences! It is like an addiction, they won't stop for all the warnings. When I bid them take heed, they take it as personal criticism, which seems to deepen their resolve not to give it up. I was taken aback: I never realized reliance on food consumables could be so embedded to resist change in diet. I changed mine nearly completely from the one I was brought up with in my household and did it painlessly after possessing greater knowledge. I guess I'm surprised by the stubborness to change for healthy choices over sameness stability even if it means eventual death.

    • jane says:

      Agreed. Addictions come in many different packages, don't they? The consequences on your health and lifespan to your family are the same whether they result from alcoholism or dietary choices.

  18. Richard says:

    I’m fairly confident that those with an issue with this article are soda drinkers. There is no one study that proves without a doubt that sis will kill you, however, the ingredients comprising soda are pegeen to be detrimental ie corn syrup, aspertame, CO2/oxygen replacement. Those who don’t agree don’t bother me. I just think it’s sad that people fool themselves into thinking that bad habits they indulge in don’t have consequences. Ignoring proof didn’t make it any less valid, people.

  19. Vicki says:

    My endocrinologist says that diabetics shouldn't consume diet drinks, either. The body can't distinguish between artificial sugars and the real thing. This causes the pancreas to react by dumping insulin into the bloodstream and can lead to insulin resistance, a forerunner of type 2 diabetes. I was never a big soft drink consumer until after becoming diabetic. I thought I was okay drinking diet colas and was drinking about 2 32oz. fountain diet colas each day. I'm weaning myself and I'm down to about 20oz/day. Don't know where I'll get my caffeine now since I'm not a coffee drinker and drink decaf iced tea.

    • stonecarver says:

      I gave up soda's years ago; come from the generation when a soft drink was an occasional "treat," but Kool-Aid and sweet tea dominated Southern potlucks and picnics. I happen to love black coffee and unsweetened tea, but kidney stone episodes and multiple sclerosis "bladder chatter" has caused me to make changes.In addition to my allopathic physicians, I see a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner for acupuncture and he gave me a great suggestion you may be able to use, Vicki. He recommended that I prepare a very strong, concentrate of black tea and take a spoonful or two whenever I want a caffeine pick-me-up. It's easy to do and it has worked for me. Good luck–quitting caffeine too abruptly traditionally leads to severe headaches as a minor withdrawal symptom. My body never has had any withdrawal symptoms, thankfully.

  20. […] have to live under a rock these days not to know that soda is hazardous to your health, but in case you are still telling yourself that “diet soda isn’t as bad” or […]

  21. tammi says:

    Unless you’re drinking Oogave. Much healthier, organic soda!

  22. Sally says:

    soft drinks are not good for your health. We know. We agree. We avoid them. But please! One sip? Give us a break, Elephant Journal. And don't be having any kind of sugar in your tea, on your cereal, your mixed drinks, or even in your ice cream.

    • Espie says:

      Hi Sally, me too, i couldnt believe it, 1 sip of soda? Until i ve seen a Kangen demo where they put 2small caps filled with soda, ( equals a sip) into 2 liters filled of Kangen water ( alkaline 9,5 PH violet color ) then ii saw how it turned out into orange color that means it becomes very acidic. I believe this is true.

      • Dave says:

        Wow it turns acidic – for God's sake don't have anything with lemons in and never use any sort of vinegar !!!

  23. lurkitty says:

    I agree with Sally. "One sip" doesn't cause any of the conditions you've shown here. This is chart is reactionary nonsense. And, no, I'm not a soda drinker, as so many of your commentors suggest. I drink good old water!

  24. Deanna says:

    I’m not a fan of any commercial sodas, but I enjoy a little beverage variety. Water coffee and tea usually do the trick, but my new favor thing is the Soda Stream. You carbonate you own filtered water with a CO2 canister and I usually mix the soda water with orange or lemon juice (I know the acids in citrus can be bad for teeth and I brush a lot). It seems like that can’t be too unhealthy & I feel like a lot of soda drinkers could switch to a healthier habit in this way.

  25. thirtydaysofyoga says:

    So, I suppose my occasional deep fried fish and chips won't be helping either? OMG! We're all going to DIE!



  26. […] calories if you’re not a breakfast person? You drink it. Duh. That’s why America is so fat, our love of soft drinks allows us to consume an entire day’s worth of calories in one sitting. So I decided to try a […]

  27. […] I may have shared this before but it demonstrates some of the reasons I completely eliminated soda pop from my diet. This is what one sip of soda does to your body. […]

  28. […] Considering that a variant of soda did not arrive in the United States until the 1870’s this statement is, in fact, true. However, if any of our Founding Fathers were alive today, I can’t imagine any of them taking kindly to being told how much soda they could or could not consume. […]

  29. Gross. Thank goodness my mom never allowed us to drink soda (well, only with pizza or when the Charlie Brown Christmas special was on). Thanks for sharing this. Hopefully people will really start thinking about what happens to food/drinks once we put them inside of our bodies. – Signed Traci (who has successfully completed her second day of Paleo… craving some sort of bread product, but other than that, feeling great!)

  30. @larihughes says:

    if we do everything we are supposed to do (diet, exercise, etc.) then what should kill us? i.e. if death by heart disease or cancer is failure, then what is success? death by what? or is immortality the goal?

  31. h4x354x0r says:

    I see the last comments here were over 2 months ago. I'd like to point out the recent study that has more closely linked diabetes to sugar intake:… This is a worldwide study that tracks the availability of sugar in people's diets, and correlates it to the rise in diabetes in the populations. No other factor (weight, etc.) was as clear, but the availability of sugar in diets correlated across times and cultures to match the rise in diabetes, very consistently. Hope I got that synopsis reasonably close. If not, feel free to clarify.

    I have, at times, been a daily soda drinker. It's been about 2 months now since I've had any, and about 6 months since I've had more than 2 per month. Just yesterday I turned down free soda, because it really just doesn't appeal to me anymore. The stuff is addictive, and it's hard to break free. I still consume too much sugar from other sources, but just cutting out a 20oz soda per day is by far the single most effective thing I can do to reduce my overall sugar consumption.

  32. We just shared your brilliant chart on our FB. Thank you for sharing this with the world!

  33. Bubba says:

    This is why I only drink beer.

  34. Amy says:

    Is The Onion the source of this info? I cannot take you seriously. People have been drinking sodas for years. Please.

  35. william says:

    amazing that anyone could think soda isnt good 4 ur health. true, some can do anything & live a long time tho most will end up w/something, as was my case. ok till mid 30s. begin 2 develope problems & went in2 immunillogical(haha) breakdown for 4 yrs. I am 65 & most people think i am in my 40s. It took me several yrs 2 get back on track. Made major changes. Now i rarely get sick tho i do struggle w/an urge 2 eat/drink out of balence. i usually wont indulge & when i do i will make conscious healthier choices. One inportant thing 2 know is 2 alkylize the body. 1oz of carbonation will completely acidify ur body. it will take a few GALLONS of good clean water 2 realkylize. $ most people this means eventual dis-ease. the digestive tract is the seat of ur immune system. un4tunatly the chart mentions nothing about these things.. study up on acid/alkyline body & what the digest tract does. once u get older, it takes a bit more work 2 regain health & ur system will become exponentially more sensitive 2 more things. i once went 4 allergy testing & askd 4 a sugar sensitivity test. this was a a very good alternative/holistic ofice. they told me the test was pulld from the panels by the FDA because almost EVERYONE was highly reactive 2 sugar. once ur body gets sensitive it become quite insidious how it will manifest. ck w/alt health sources 4 deeper info on these issues. AND – good luck w/ur future health,soda drinkers.

  36. Stacey says:

    Does this include mineral water?

  37. Patricia says:

    How big is that sip?

  38. Andy says:

    I replaced my soft drink addiction with Lipton green tea and I don't miss soft drinks, at all, ever. You can get a nice buzz from the combination of L-theanine and caffeine, yet it has far less caffeine than a cup of coffee. Most of the green teas you will find in the bag form are not a very good quality. You should look for a brand that makes the greenest color of tea and avoid the ones that make a brown-colored tea. Sweeten the tea with stevia, real stevia, not that chemically-altered crap they sell at Walmart. There is no substitute for pure stevia. Order it from Amazon or get it from a health food store. Specifically, look for the Sweetleaf brand or the KAL brand. Do not be alarmed by the price of a small bottle of stevia. One small bottle will last you 1 – 3 months.
    I did notice a possible herxheimer reaction when I stopped drinking sugared soft drinks. I had painful, somewhat burning, loose bowel movements and a caffeine-withdrawal headache which only responded to a small dose of hydrocodone. The headache lasted all day and all night until I ended it with the Lortab. The loose bowel movements occured here and there for about two weeks, but not everyday. But anyway, after a few months, I realized that my energy levels are now rock-stable and I can get through workouts much easier. I rarely get headaches anymore, whereas I used to get them frequently. I am through with soft drinks forever. So just do it!! Wean yourself off those horrible, health-destroying mixtures of sugar and acid and regain/secure your good health for the future!!

  39. Dave says:

    Want soda in the USA whilst minimising the health issues ?
    Try here:

  40. Scott says:

    My hs health teacher /football coach talked a out how unhealthy he eats and how much soda he drank and how doctors are idiots.. And he had a heart attack that year and died… How’s diet seltzer water for you?

  41. Rick says:

    I agree with the alarmist comments about this being titled as "one drink" will destroy your body, blah, blah. That's lame and inaccurate. Past that though, I do find that putting the facts together about the dangers of soda so that people realize what they are consuming, what they are CHOOSING as their fuel is a good thing. To me, if you are informed of bad stuff and you choose to enjoy it anyway, than enjoy. Hopefully you have enough good things going for you to really enjoy life and not have any negative effects. However, in my opinion, I wonder why so many people fail to realize that you vote with your dollars and your actions, not your "vote". If you like tasty poison, no matter what somebody says, you can always justify consumming it. However, if you love life, put your focus on incentivizing companies that do good for you instead. It'll make the world a better place.

  42. mary ellen says:

    I drink soda. Have 1 at my reach 24-7. Something is going to kill us. Put away your fears and enjoy life.

  43. au says:

    let’s compare the body fat percentage (as a convenient metric) of soda drinkers vs non soda drinkers out to 1 or 2 standard deviations
    . is there a causative correlation or just coincidence?
    they are still using BPA in aluminum can liners last time I checked (several months ago)
    not sure how it compares to the amount from the ubiquitous thermally printed receipts
    that will find its way into the digestive tracts of non-fastidious people

  44. Old Man says:

    According to this chart I should have been dead a long time ago.

  45. Will says:

    Kernel of truth: You shouldn't treat soda like water the way some people do. Treat it more like alcohol than water, and then it's fine.* (All the sugar-based issues, the same can be said for candy, cake, and all other non-liquid sweets as well. Yet, people very seldom make "one bite" hyperboles for shock value to parallel this "one sip" claim.) For the record, Elephant Journal is a New Age/Yoga site, and such sites have been known to make wildly exaggerated or in some cases downright false claims on scientific matters.

    Also, dopamine receptors in the brain work the same way whether you're drinking soda or alcoholic beverages, doing heroin, or even playing baseball (sensory input from pleasurable activities like that also initiates dopamine production pathways). So, that part is misleading since the relevant receptor pathways are universal, not some special resemblance between soda and heroin.

    Plus, caffeine absorption works the same way whether the caffeine comes from soda, coffee, or even tea. (Some varieties of tea leaf plants do produce as much caffeine as coffee plants, although not common green tea.)

    *Regular soda can be OK if you treat it like alcohol rather than water. Diet, not so much. The ingredients in regular soda are biological material. (Color derived from insect eggs is still biological, not truly artificial, not something built from the ground up by a chemical engineer in a lab.) Diet soda has much more material made from whole cloth.

    Interestingly, the way most people (and blogs) talk about alcoholic beverages assumes that others understand the concept of moderation. They are just as bad as soda–in fact, probably even worse–if consumed liberally all the time. When it comes to soda, people suddenly assume that others don't understand moderation, surely they only understand 0. Honestly though, if you treat soda like alcohol, you're fine.

    • elephantjournal says:

      "For the record, Elephant Journal is a New Age/Yoga site…" For the record, no it isn't.

  46. sarahtheaquarian says:

    guess not a lot of folks are fans of this, but love it! i used to drink diet or regular soda every day, and actually had withdraw symptoms after stopping. eekk! I cleaned up my diet (not easy) but now i never crave soda. i actually feel sick if i have just one soda. keep up the good work ej!

  47. tintala says:

    I am more worried about the c02 and green house gasses spewed by vehicles idling at stop lights that we all breathe daily on our ways to Home depot, work, walmart, Sonic , the Liquor store and the convenient store for a pack of smokes. But there is no hiding the obesity epidemic.

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