ASK A HEALTH COACH: 'Is Soda Pop Really Bad For You? What Should I Drink Instead?'

ASK A HEALTH COACH: 'Is Soda Pop Really Bad For You? What Should I Drink Instead?'

ASK A HEALTH COACH: 'Is Soda Pop Really Bad For You? What Should I Drink Instead?'

I know I "should" cut down on pop but is it really that bad for you? And, what should I drink instead?

- Hillary, Columbus OH

Dear Hilary,

YES! Pop really is that bad for you. Why?

Regular pop, (or soda, depending on where you are from) has been linked to the following:


Kidney damage

Elevated blood pressure


To name a few.

Diet pop has been linked to the following:

See all of the above.

Then add:

Increased risk of heart attack

Increase risk of stroke


I could go on and on about the dangers of excess sugar. Instead, I will let you watch this. And I could also go on and on about the dangers of artificial sweeteners. Instead, I will let you watch this.

What I feel is important to share with you are the many benefits of drinking water.

So. How much water should you drink?

On average, men should ingest about 3 liters (13 cups) and women about 2.2 liters (9 cups) of water each day, at least according to the USDA. In order to satisfy individual needs, various lifestyle factors need to be taken into consideration. For example, the water content in fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables may increase hydration in the body.

Water intake should be increased in the following situations:

  • Hot/humid temperature
  • High altitude (above 8,200 feet)
  • High exercise level
  • Illness of fever, diarrhea, vomiting
  • Infections of the bladder or urinary tract
  • Pregnancy/breast feeding
  • Increased alcohol intake

People tell me all the time they drink their water through tea or coffee. According to some, mainly those writing the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition say, drinking tea is not only as good as drinking water, but possibly better, as it may carry extra health benefits in protecting against heart disease and some cancers. As far as I am concerned, the jury is still out. So DRINK WATER. Straight up. Shaken or stirred. I don't care.

What is the best type of water to consume?

There are many types of water including tap, bottled, filtered, distilled, and alkaline ionized water. Consumption generally depends on cost and availability, as not everybody has access to the best sources of water, (although, let's face it, we don't really have that problem here in the States.)

  • Tap water, although the most readily available, may not always be the safest option. Some cities have very good purification systems, while others leave traces of chlorination by-products, lead and sometimes bacteria. Research your city's Consumer Confidence Report distributed every year by the Environmental Protection Agency to see if additional home purification is warranted.
  • Water filters can help to remove contaminants when environmental toxins pose a threat to water systems. It is important to know which contaminants are present in your water in order to choose the right filter.
  • Distillation, a process consisting of boiling water, has also been found to remove impurities and toxins. However, some believe the naturally occurring minerals in non-distilled water are beneficial to health.
  • Bottled water has become a popular option for individuals without access to safe tap water; however, there are growing concerns about chemicals from the plastic seeping into the water, as well as the effects that the increasing number of bottles is having on the environment.
  • Water ionizers are gaining more recognition for their ability to create alkaline ionized water through electrolysis, which may have certain health benefits.

Listen. I get it. I drink a lot of water. And it gets boring. So. Here's what you can do to spice things up.

  • Add fruit and herbs to water to spice things up or make them feel special. Keep it cold in the fridge. Or freeze it in ice cubes and add it to your water. Either way, you get amazing flavor and feel pampered. Here are some great combinations or come up with your own:
  • Cucumber and mint
  • Cherry and lime
  • Watermelon and cucumber
  • Orange and pineapple
  • Lemon and lavender
  • Lemon and blueberry
  • Thyme and blackberries
  • Strawberry and basil
  • Pineapple and mango
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Lime
  • Orange
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Tangerine

So. If you are one of those people who are drinking pop (regular or diet) every day, try crowding it out. Have a glass of water, straight up, with fruit/herbs or essential oils. Then if you still want the pop, have it, and know you can make a better choice the next time. And, if you are having trouble eliminating pop on your own. Contact me. I'll help you.

Is there something you are dying to ask? Email me at And...don't forget to visit me online at, Facebook and Twitter!

Until next time,

ASK A HEALTH COACH: 'Is Soda Pop Really Bad For You? What Should I Drink Instead?'

PS. In case you haven't read my other posts, my lawyers need me to tell you this: I'm an expert at what I do. However, as I implied above, I am not a licensed physician, nutritionist or psychologist and my services don't replace care of healthcare professionals (though I do own a pretty impressive white leather couch, thankyouverymuch.) With that comes the standard eye-glaze inducing disclaimer that, no, I cannot actually guarantee the outcome of your efforts from my recommendations on my "Ask a Health Coach" column, and my comments about the outcome are expressions of (my very personal) opinion only. I can guarantee you this, however: I will do my best to coach you, and I'll do everything in my power to help.


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Melissa Muguruza Melissa is a certified health coach, massage therapist, and holistic muse. She holds a Bachelor of the Arts from Otterbein University. In the course of her career, she has helped hundreds, if not thousands, through massage and health coaching. She defines 'holistic muse' as a woman, (ok, go ahead, say Goddess instead!) who inspires people to improve their health in holistic ways so they can fully unleash their VITALITY. Visit: or email her at: