Cola has to come in at number one and I could write a whole thesis on why. But let’s just touch on the main points as to why I quite literally never touch colas, lemonades, sports drinks and other fizzy, carbonated beverages. Full of sugar, chemicals, sweeteners and ingredients that are actually known and proven as being dangerous for human health (hello phosphoric acid).

It’s almost impossible to know where to start with listing out how SHOCKINGLY BAD cola and soft drinks are for our health (and chemically addictive), so I’ll start with the ingredients and then move onto the research that proves just SOME of the health problems that cola causes (again, proven).

  • Sugar: colas contain sugar. Loads and loads of it. About 10 teaspoons per 330ml can. This. Is. Crazy. Remembering that sugar is more addictive than cocaine, it would be very wise to begin your transition away from cola and sodas right now. Today. As Mercola says “It is a proven fact that sugar increases insulin levels, which can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, premature aging and many more negative side effects. Most sodas include over 100 percent of the RDA of sugar.”
  • Phosphoric Acid: known to interfere with the body’s ability to use and absorb calcium, this is one of the main reasons why cola consumption is so strongly linked to osteoporosis
  • Caffeine: caffeine is of course not only highly acidic, but also a cause of dehydration (as a diuretic). Most colas would contain around 55mg of caffeine, which is just shy of the 65mg found in a shot of proper espresso. This is a LOT of caffeine to get from a beverage that isn’t even coffee! Caffeine has also been shown to increase the risk of insomnia, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, elevated blood cholesterol levels, vitamin and mineral depletion, breast lumps, birth defects and more.
  • High-fructose modified corn syrup: geez, where do you even start with HFCS. Unquestionably linked to obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, liver failure, kidney failure and more. It’s no surprise to find that since the US consumption per person of HFCS went from 0 to 60 lbs per person per year obesity has tripled and diabetes has grown seven-fold. Of course, there are other variables but you can’t ignore this. Now I could go into a LOT of depth here on HFCS but let’s just leave it here. It’s a horrible, horrible curse that has been put upon our modern society by the food industry in the last few decades. Thank goodness for people like Dr Mark Hyman and others – we’re all smartening up!
  • Other random chemicals: While the federal limit for benzene in drinking water is 5 parts per billion (ppb), researchers have found benzene levels as high as 79 ppb in some soft drinks, and of the 100 brands tested, most had at least some detectable level of benzene present
  • Aspartame: the worst of the worst when it comes to sweeteners (and the reason why diet sodas and colas are just as bad as the regular kind), aspartame is the sweetener with over 92 different health side effects that have been associated with it’s consumption including brain tumors, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and epilispsy/seizures and more.

And the simple fact is, sugar, caffeine, HFCS, sweeteners are all HIGHLY acidic foods, and sodas contain them in abundance.

Let’s put it like this – you can’t be alkaline and consume cola on a daily basis.

But here are some other scary facts about regular cola/soft drink consumption:

  • The British medical journal “The Lancet” published a study showing that, during a two year study, those 12-year olds who drank soda on a daily basis had a 60% increase in the risk of obesity!
  • One cola per day can increase your risk of diabetes by up to 85%
  • Sheffield University research discovered that the chemical called sodium benzoate which is found in almost all colas and soft drink actually disrupts and damages DNA! The researcher reported that “And there is a whole array of diseases that are now being tied to damage to this DNA – Parkinson’s and quite a lot of neurodegenerative diseases, but above all, the whole process of aging.”
  • and so much more!

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Known Negatives of Cola/Soda: cola consumption is linked to an increased risk of: obesity, diabetes, liver damage, tooth decay, chronic kidney disease, heartburn/reflux, osteoporosis, heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases, cancers, gout and so much more.

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2. Ice Cream

All dairy is acidic (yes, milk is not good for you and doesn’t lead to stronger bones, it actually leads to weaker bones) but ice cream is the worst because it’s just so dense! Something that is always scary is the amount of something alkaline needed to neutralise a strong acid – the ratio is 20:1.

That means it takes 20 cups of something alkaline to neutralise 1 cup of a strong acid. Unfair isn’t it? This ratio is certainly true of milk – it would take 20 glasses of alkaline water to neutralise 1 glass of milk. Not good. But it actually works out that it would take twelve times as much, that’s 240 cups of something alkaline to neutralise ONE cup of ice cream! Crikey! This makes ice cream one of the most acidic foods you can possibly consume!

It’s that bad. Truly.

Personally, if I ever have even a little bit of ice cream I feel tired instantly and get a headache. It’s instant. I hate the stuff for it. It literally couldn’t taste good enough for me to want to eat it and get that response in my body. It takes 12lbs of milks to make 1lb of ice cream – always remember that.

And this doesn’t even take into consideration the additives, colourings, sweeteners and other chemicals and acidic substances that go into ice-cream to make it so addictive and sweet.

Ice cream is an easy one to get rid of. Do it!

[note, if you need any more convincing, I just found this on forbes.com about vanilla ice-cream:]

If you’re a label-reader like me, you may see castoreum listed on vanilla & raspberry ice cream. Ick factor: What they don’t say on the label is that castoreum is the anal secretions & urine from a beaver. While not known to be harmful, knowing there’s beaver pee in your ice cream may help you cut empty calories!

Hope that helped!

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Known Negatives of Ice Cream/Dairy: one of the most concentrated acidic foods, mucous forming, causes acne, heightens allergies, contains hormones, pesticide residues, microforms, mycotoxins, saturated acidic fats, lactose, bacteria, can lead to bone weakening, weight gain and digestive issues, high impact on cardiovascular health.

Scientific Research: 

1. Soedamah-Muthu SS, Ding EL, et al; Milk and dairy consumption and incidence of cardiovascular diseases and all-cause mortality; American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2011 Vol 93 no 1, 158-171

2. Adebamowo, CA, D Spiegelman, CS Berkey, et al. Milk consumption and acne in adolescent girls. Dermotol Online J. 2006;12:1

3. Lanou AJ, Berkow SE, Barnard ND. Calcium, dairy products, and bone health in children and young adults: a reevaluation of the evidence. Pediatrics. 2005;115:736-743.

4. Feskanich D, Willett WC, Colditz GA. Calcium, vitamin D, milk consumption, and hip fractures: a prospective study among postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;77:504-511.

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3. Sugar

Sugar is sugar is sugar. It’s at the root of all acidity!

Sugar is quite literally an acidic waste product that for acids in the body is like petrol on a fire. And this counts for all sugar, white, brown, raw, cane, corn, malts, honey, molasses, sucrose, fructose (yes fruit), lactose, maltose, glucose and anything else ending in -ose.

Now, I know this isn’t exactly an easy one to give up entirely and so it sticks out in this list a little (and this article as a whole) but I do want you to start to lower the amount of sugar in your life and move slowly away from it. It’s at the root cause of all sickness and disease.

All sugars cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, which then creates an environment for the creation of bacteria, yeast and mold within the body (i.e. a hugely acidic digestive system, candida overgrowth, digestive issues, mal-absorption of nutrients and any sickness or disease you can think of).

The worst thing is, of course, the more sugar the body gets, the more acidic it gets, and so the more it craves – to keep feeding these acidic microforms. As I said earlier – sugar is more addictive than cocaine – and so the only way to cut this off is to alkalise the body and slowly transition away.

Giving up sugar is normally really hard, but with the alkaline approach – the more alkaline you get the less you’ll crave. It makes it so much easier and less stressful to give up this drug.

But as you look at our sugar consumption increase over the past 300 years, it’s clear to see that something needs to be done:

Refined Sugar Consumption Trends in Past 300 Years:

In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
In 2009, more than 50 percent us consumed 1/2 pound of sugar per day, which is 180 pounds of sugar per year.
In 2016 I am sure it’s even more. The trend just keeps going up and up as the food manufacturers KNOW that it’s the way to keep us addicted to their products.

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Known Negatives of Sugar: highly acidic, inflammatory, oxidising, endocrine distrupting, cancer-causing, diabetes starting, disgustingly addictive and the root of all sickness and disease!

Scientific Research: 

1. Bostick M et al. Sugar, meat, and fat intake, and non-dietary risk factors for colon cancer incidence in Iowa women (United States). Cancer Causes & Control January 1994, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 38-52

2. Michaud DS et al. Dietary Sugar, Glycemic Load, and Pancreatic Cancer Risk in a Prospective Study. JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (2002) 94 (17): 1293-1300.

3. Slattery ML et al. Dietary sugar and colon cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev September 1997 6; 677

4. Meyer KA et al. Carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and incident type 2 diabetes in older women. Am J Clin Nutr April 2000 vol. 71 no. 4 921-930

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4. Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Fats/ Trans Fats:

As healthy as the healthy oils (omega 3, 6 and 9) are to the body, the wrong fats are devastating. We all know just how bad the bad fats are, and we’ve been told about them for many decades (clogged arteries, heart disease, cancer etc). Animal fats, cheap vegetable oils, butter and (worse, much worse) margarine, trans fats and a lot of saturated fats (coconut aside) are all absolutely shocking for our health.

Trans fatty acids, also known as trans fat, is an artery-clogging fat that is formed when vegetable oils are hardened into margarine or shortening. It’s found in all of the most acid-forming foods – takeaways, fried foods, refined foods, cakes, biscuits, chocolates and chocolate snacks, chips, pizzas etc. You know the drill.

The consumption of trans fats is one of the main causes for the current obesity epidemic and absolutely a huge reason for the diabetes epidemic. Trans fats are proven to increase blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, while lowering levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), known as “good” cholesterol. The swines!

Sadly, and truthfully, many food companies use trans fat instead of oil because it reduces cost, extends storage life of products and can improve flavour and texture.

Bear in mind too, and you’ll know this if you’ve seen Hungry for Change, you’ll know that the three ingredients that food companies use to get us addicted to these acidic foods are the acid-forming-combo of fat, sugar and salt.

Steer clear of these fats!

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Known Negatives of Trans Fats/Hydrogenated Fats: artery clogging, raised ‘bad’ cholesterol and lowered ‘good’ cholesterol, high impact on cardiovascular health, obesity, cancer, diabetes and more.

Scientific Research: 

1. Mozaffarian D, Katan M et al. Trans Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease. N Engl J Med 2006; 354:1601-1613 April 13, 2006

2. Erkkilä A, de Mello VD, Risérus U, Laaksonen DE. Dietary fatty acids and cardiovascular disease: an epidemiological approach.Prog Lipid Res. 2008 May;47(3):172-87.

3. Mensink R, Katan M. Effect of Dietary trans Fatty Acids on High-Density and Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Levels in Healthy Subjects. N Engl J Med 1990; 323:439-445 August 16, 1990

4. Salmerón J et al. Dietary fat intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Am J Clin Nutr June 2001 vol. 73 no. 6 1019-1026

5. Van Dam M R et al. Dietary Fat and Meat Intake in Relation to Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Men. Diabetes Care March 2002 vol. 25 no. 3 417-424

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5. Monosodium glutamate: Chinese SALT

Monosodium glutamate, also known as sodium glutamate or MSG, is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, a non-essential amino acid. Even though it was classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) the FDA still stated that:

“Studies have shown that the body uses glutamate, an amino acid, as a nerve impulse transmitter in the brain and that there are glutamate-responsive tissues in other parts of the body, as well.

Abnormal function of glutamate receptors has been linked with certain neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s chorea. Injections of glutamate in laboratory animals have resulted in damage to nerve cells in the brain.”

Eeek. If the FDA are saying things like this then it’s time to get worried…

Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon and author of “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills” explains that MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death (the same as aspartame and other sweeteners which we’ll get on to), causing brain damage to varying degrees and possibly even causing the worsening of learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease plus more. Wow.

MSG was always known as being something that we only found in Chinese food. This is very misleading – it’s everywhere. Well, it’s everywhere if you eat a lot of refined and fast foods. MSG is a very powerful flavour enhancer so it’s used in products such as crackers, chips, microwave meals, canned foods etc in order to make them taste fresher and more flavoursome.

MSG is hidden in lots of foods within ingredients, so look out for the following on your food labels: Autolyzed Yeast, Calcium Caseinate, Gelatin, Glutamate, Glutamic Acid, Hydrolyzed Protein, Monopotassium Glutamatem, Sodium Caseinate, Textured Protein, Yeast Extract, Yeast Food, Yeast Nutrient.

…and is often found in Flavors and Flavorings, Seasonings, Natural Flavors and Flavorings, Natural Pork Flavoring, Natural Beef Flavoring, Natural Chicken Flavoring, Soy Sauce, Soy Protein Isolate, Soy Protein, Bouillon Stock Broth, Malt Extract, Malt Flavoring, Barley Malt, Anything Enzyme Modified, Maltodextrin, Pectin Enzymes, Protease, Corn Starch, Citric Acid, Powdered Milk, Anything Protein Fortified, Anything Ultra-Pasteurized

[props to Mercola for his research on MSG]
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Known Negatives of MSG: highly acidic, numbness, burning sensations, tingling, facial pressure, chest pains, breathing difficulties, headaches, nausea, weakness, fatigue, obesity, kidney failure & more
Scientific Research: 

1. Ka He, Liancheng Zhao, et al. Association of Monosodium Glutamate Intake With Overweight in Chinese Adults: The INTERMAP Study. Obesity, 2008; Volume 16, Number 8, pp. 1875–1880.

2. Olney, JW, Ho OL. Brain Damage in Infant Mice following Oral Intake of Glutamate, Aspartate or Cysteine. Nature, August 8, 1970; Volume 227, pp. 609 – 611.

3. Redding T.W. · Schally A.V. · Arimura A. · Wakabayashi I. Effect of Monosodium Glutamate on Some Endocrine Functions

4. Nakanishi Y et al. Monosodium glutamate (MSG): A villain and promoter of liver inflammation and dysplasia. Journal of Autoimmunity Volume 30, Issues 1–2, February–March 2008, Pages 42–50

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6. Yeast:

Having too much yeast in the body is predominantly the most acidic thing we can do, and also the biggest cause of acidity!

When we consume yeast, it’s like we’re throwing acid after acid into our body. The outcome of this is that your body is constantly in a state of absolute acidity and the worst thing is the consumption of yeast and the body’s production of yeast is a vicious cycle – the more yeast we throw in, the more yeast we have in our system and the more acids the growth of these yeasts creates, which then feeds the yeast to grow further. Here is my super-simple-diagram to help explain what happens when we keep consuming yeasts, sugars (which turn into yeasts) and more:

In an acidic state, the body is constantly being ravaged. The stress of maintaining this level of alkalinity is just too much and so we get sick, tired and full of disease.

Yeasts from bread, pasta, alcohol, baked goods and anything that is made from yeast can cause huge microform overgrowth!

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Known Negatives of Yeast: highly acidic and used in so many other acidic foods, kidney stones, digestive issues, liver complaints, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, candida, fungal infections and more.

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7. Sweeteners:

I’ve kept this broad as ‘all sweeteners’ because they’re all pretty bad, even the natural ones. BUT from here on presume I’m talking about the super-commercial artificial ones (not the stevia types).

If you use these sweeteners in your daily diet – please stop asap! They’re SUCH bad news for your health and are one of the most acidic foods (or ways to make a food much more acidic) that you can consume!

And worse still, many are truly not proven as safe for human consumption. Let’s look at Splenda. At the time of it’s approval for the FDA it was claimed it was proven as safe after the review of 110 pieces of research. However, further investigation of that research uncovers some interesting facts:

  1. Of these 110 studies only TWO were human studies
  2. The longest human study lasted FOUR DAYS!
  3. It included only 30 participants
  4. And the study was on tooth decay not our health!

This just goes to highlight another example of the complete and utter bull***t that exists out there when money talks.

The REAL story is this – use of Splenda has been shown to decrease our healthy stomach bacteria by up to 50%.

Ultimately, whichever brand you use you’ll be ingesting one or more of the following: aspartame, saccharine, neotame, sucralose, acesulfame and or cyclamates. These are all highly acidic to the body. For instance, when ingested, aspartame breaks down into formaldehyde in the body!

Please just don’t let them into your body!

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Known Negatives of Sweeteners: highly acidic, carcinogenic, migranes, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, weight gain, loss of taste and linked to a worsening of Parkinson’s fibromyalgia, Alzheimers, thyroid disorders and many more.

Scientific Research: 

1. Maher T J , Wurtman R J . Possible neurologic effects of aspartame, a widely used food additive. Environ Health Perspect. 1987 November; 75: 53–57.

2. Mead N. Sour Finding on Popular Sweetener: Increased Cancer Incidence Associated with Low-Dose Aspartame Intake. Environ Health Perspect. 2006 March; 114(3): A176.

3. Vartanian LR et al. Effects of Soft Drink Consumption on Nutrition and Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Public Health: April 2007, Vol. 97, No. 4, pp. 667-675.

4. Yang Q. Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings. Yale J Biol Med. 2010 June; 83(2): 101–108.

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What Next >> The Alkaline Diet Fundamentals: The Easy Way to Rock It

I’m all about mastering the fundamentals. The core handful of super-effective stuff that will make the biggest amount of difference (80/20 rule). This, to me, is much more preferable to trying to aim for perfection and doing it all at once. And in all of my experience this has helped me get more than 4,000 people alkaline and living in their dream body, with their dream health, vitality and energy – while enjoying the process.

If you can master the few simple, core fundamentals then you’ll get 80% or more of the benefit with only 20% of the hard work needed.

I’m going to be talking about this a lot in the next few weeks and months, but right now I want you to consider this guide as being one of the core fundamentals.

Here are a few of the others:

  1. Eat the seven most alkaline foods daily – especially the greens
  2. Transition away from the seven most acidic foods
  3. Stay properly hydrated with good quality alkaline water
  4. Exercise daily – even if just a 15 minute walk or some squats or something! (note: it’s the habit that’s important
  5. Consume omega 3 oils daily
  6. Get plenty of alkaline minerals
  7. Get sunshine and smile!

And even if you want to narrow that down I’d say: greens, oils, hydration & alkaline minerals. Get those four every day and you’ll see huge improvements.