Small behavioral changes, big health results?

To achieve anything, you have to take baby steps to get to the finish line. We all get discouraged at some point but really the hardest part is the first step. You need to be assertive, have that will, determination and say I need to do this right now. Before you know it, you would’ve acquired the skills and managed the time to fit in that new habit. It’ll take around 21 days for any new habit to become a part of your long-term lifestyle.

In this post I’ll discuss 3 new studies’ findings on soda, diet soda and short bouts of exercise.

Soda, soda everywhere!

A study published in

General Dentistry found that people with frequent consumption of soda, meth or crack (all acidic on the teeth) had severe tooth erosion caused by their “drug” of choice. Thus soda was found to cause the same damage on the teeth as illegal drugs. The soda consumption in the study was up to 2 liters per day over 3-4 years. I am saddened to say that there are people that consume this amount especially that soda has a somewhat addictive effect.

As for tooth erosion, it is when acid wears away tooth enamel causing teeth to be more susceptible to becoming sensitive, cracked or discolored. The same effect is seen in diet sodas since it is the citric acid (present in all soda drinks) that wears the tooth enamel.

The recommendation from the Academy of General Dentistry was to minimize soda intake and instead drink water.


Regarding diet sodas that contain artificial sweeteners (I have previously written about artificial sweeteners here), studies are still in the process of researching their safety. A study published last month conducted at Washington University at St Louis studied the effect of artificial sweeteners on obese men without diabetes. It was previously thought that since diet sodas do not contain sugar per se, they should not elevate the glucose (sugar) in blood. However, the researchers from this study found that diet sodas elevated the participant’s glucose and insulin levels.

The researchers recommended other studies to further explore the mechanism of this phenomena.

Addictive much? Source:

Addictive much? Source:

The last study I’ll discuss here took place in Norway and followed 24 inactive males over a 10 week training session. They divided the participants into 2 groups. The first had a training that consisted of 4 intervals of 4 minutes of high intensity workout at 90% maximum heart rate interspersed with 3 min of active recovery at 70% maximum heart rate. The second group did only 1 round of the 4 minutes of high intensity workout at 90% maximum heart rate.

VO2 max (a measure of cardiovascular fitness) increased by 13% in the first group and by 10% in the second group. So both groups were at a better fitness level by either the 16 min or 4 min workout 3 times per week over 10 weeks. Talk about small changes resonating into big health results!

I discussed the three studies above in an aim to demonstrate that habits such as drinking soda (regular or diet) and exercising have certain effects on our heath. After understanding these effects, incorporating the healthy habits into our daily lives is a duty to our own health. Cutting back on soda is a good start. No one is expecting you to go ‘cold turkey’ from a few cups per day to none. The key is baby steps and keeping your eyes on the finish line. Intend it, keep your
expectations realistic, embrace your set backs and keep moving forward.

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