Soda Can Seriously Mess With Your Skin

It's pretty common sense that soda, despite the fact that it's fizzy and delish, isn't exactly good for you. It lacks any real health benefits and is fully of empty calories, since it's loaded down with sugar or chemicals in the diet versions. But did you know that another negative effect of soda is that it can really mess with your skin and cause wrinkles? Soda drinking and soda culture, like soda swag, doesn't show too many signs of slowing, especially with celebs who star in the soft drink commercials, like Taylor Swift for Diet Coke and Beyonce for Pepsi. Before you head for the fridge and start dumping any of the offending beverages you may have purchased down the sink, you should know that it's a cumulative effect that takes time to shows up on your face. Still, as pointed out, you should be informed about the process, and take into account how much sugar you're putting into your body.

Byrdie's report on the process of glycation and the chugging of sugary bevvies is fascinating. A study done at the University of California at San Francisco reports that drinking soda can lead to premature aging (ACK!), diseases (ACK x 2!), and can even shorten your lifespan (GASP!). Suddenly, that bubbly caffeinated stuff isn't so appealing, is it?

As for how it wreaks havoc on your skin? Put simply, a chemical reaction called glycation takes place in your body when sugar affixes itself to a protein. Don't panic. This process is natural and glycation does happen throughout one's life even if you cut out soda completely. However, too much glycation, due to too much sugar consumption, ages you prematurely. A.G.E. products — Advanced Glycation End-Products — essentially mess with skin cell functions, destroy elastin, and slow down new collagen production. That basically leads to dull, wrinkled skin.

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Soda is the biggest offender due to its chemical composition. Table sugar is a main ingredient, and all that glucose, fructose, and high fructose corn syrup is bad, bad, and bad. Fructose is the worse kind of sugar.

Still with me?

The good news, if you can call it that, is that you won't see any of these effects immediately. It'll be years before the result ends up on that face of yours. I know, that's not exactly encouraging nor is it comforting. It certainly makes you want to consider a lifestyle change.

So what do you do? Keep sugar intake minimal, exercise, sleep, and don't smoke. All obvious stuff, right?

Listen, I get it. Soda is delicious. Those bubbles are addicting. If you can't kick the fizz and the flavor, there are some alternatives and soda hacks, so to speak. Check these alternative brands out and of course do your research to see which is best and right for you. Plus, these are specialty products, so expect to pony up the cash for that since they aren't crowding convenience store shelves.

1. Dry Soda

With flavors like Blood Orange and Vanilla Bean, and just four ingredients, including cane sugar for sweetness, these Dry Sodas sound totally, totally banging.

2. Zevia

Zevia is leading what it calls a soda revolution and it has zero calories, is naturally sweetened, has no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, and claims to be good for you. Off you go!

3. Veri Organic Sodas

Veri Organic Sodas are low-cal and you can serve it to kids, guilt-free. The company strives to be a soda like no other.

I like a flavored bevvie myself, so I consume Starbucks Valencia Orange Refreshers. They are crisp, clean-tasting, and fresh, plus have a little caffeine to jumpstart your morning.

Images: Ellen Munro/Flickr; Getty Images; Giphy (2); Dry Soda (1); Zevia (1); Veri (1)