What Happens To Your Body One Hour After Drinking A Coke?

Did you know over 1.8 billion (billion!) bottles of Coke are consumed around the world every day? No doubt you’ve had one recently and enjoyed the pleasurable effects of the short-term sugar rush. But did you know that one can of Coke (or Pepsi or any other cola product) has so much sugar in it, the only thing preventing your body from immediately rejecting it by vomiting is the phosphoric acid that’s also evident in it. (Incidentally, phosphoric acid is so acidic, it will dissolve a nail in about four days.)

With concerns of heart disease and diabetes on the rise, people are starting to rethink the types of liquids they consume. And then there are people like Niraj Naik, a pharmacist and UK blogger with the handle The Renegade Pharmacist, who’s recent studies have caused us all to be highly concerned about the negative effects of drinking cola. Naik recently created this infographic detailing the physical effects a Coke has on the body within the first hour of consumption. To say the findings are disturbing is an understatement. Thankfully, there’s always water! In our blog about Soda Versus Water, we talk about all the benefits H20 has on your body and your overall wellness. Cheers!


First 10 Minutes

10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (Which is 100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavour allowing you to keep it down.

20 Minutes

Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment.)

40 Minutes

Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and, as a response your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked, thus preventing drowsiness.

45 Minutes

Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.

60 Minutes

The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar, which increases the urinary excretion of calcium.

After 60 Minutes

The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyes and water.

As the rave inside of you dies down you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may becaome irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, peed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like having the ability to hydrate your system or build strong bones and teeth.

But What About Diet Coke?

And in case you’re thinking Diet Coke is healthier for you, have a look at this other infographic below, also done by UK blogger Niraj Naik. Not only do you suffer the same affects as drinking a Coke, you also have the added negative impact of Aspartame — an artificial sweetener that’s essentially a poison for your entire digestive system.




Hypertension: How to beat and manage high blood pressure


A condition that plagues approximately 70 million Americans, hypertension is a state that while dangerous, can certainly be prevented and managed. With the sedentary and decadent lifestyles that are so prevalent in everyday society nowadays, it is little wonder that high blood pressure is so very common. Just like many of us, our heart is out of shape, and has to work extra hard to pump that blood, resulting in high blood pressure. The good news is, we can certainly manage the condition, and we can even lower our blood pressure back to health.

What is hypertension?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a prevalent condition in today’s society. Blood pressure in the body is measured by way of two measurements; systolic (when the heart muscle contracts), and diastolic (when the heart muscle releases/is relaxed). Blood pressure if therefore measured as your highest and lowest blood pressures, respectively. Normal or healthy blood pressure is in the 100-140 mmHg systolic or top reading, and 60-90 mmHg diastolic or lower reading. Therefore, a blood pressure of higher than 140/90 mmHg is considered to be hypertension.

The effects of high blood pressure on the body are numerous; compromised heart health including heart attack, stroke, with even the possibility of heart failure, damaged organs, aneurysm, and more. The World Health Organization has identified high blood pressure as the leading cause of cardiovascular mortality. Symptoms of hypertension include headaches, fainting, fatigue, difficulty breathing, chest pains, and irregular heartbeat. However, many people with hypertension feel no symptoms whatsoever – all the more reason to get your blood pressure checked out by your healthcare professional.

What causes hypertension?

Hypertension can be classified into two groups: primary hypertension, meaning there is no obvious underlying root cause to the high blood pressure, and secondary hypertension, meaning the high blood pressure is caused by another condition affecting the heart, endocrine system, etc., such as obesity, hypo or hyperthyroidism, pregnancy, kidney disease, etc.

The causes of hypertension are inconclusive but are thought to include certain conditions and lifestyle choices, including:

  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • kidney disease
  • hormonal imbalance
  • sedentary lifestyle/lack of physical activity
  • insufficient vitamin D, lack of magnesium, potassium, and calcium
  • high levels of salt/sodium intake, high levels of alcohol consumption
  • genetic predisposition
  • certain medication, for example, birth control pills
  • stress

Although seriously harmful to our health, the good news is, high blood pressure is absolutely manageable, preventable, and even reversible.

Prevention and Management

Although medical intervention through medication can help with managing high blood pressure, adopting a healthy lifestyle is imperative to the prevention and management of hypertension. Practicing healthy life choices can even prove so effective in combating high blood pressure, that often medication can be avoided. According to the American Heart Association, there are a few main ways to prevent high blood pressure:

  1. Enjoy regular physical activity – With a desk job and busy life schedules that finish off the day in front of the couch, it is easy for inactivity to become a way of life. Engaging in exercise can not only help with blood pressure, but can help us lose weight and reduce stress – both key ways to reduce blood pressure in and of themselves. Exercise means aerobic activity that gets the heart pumping! But any physical activity is a good thing.
  2. Enjoy a healthy diet, low in salt and alcohol – Enjoy a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, high in fibre and lean protein. In the place of salt/sodium, opt for low or no salt alternatives; such as Spike no salt seasoning, or nutritional yeast (both available at health food stores). Consume little alcohol, if at all, and find alternatives, like all natural sparkling fruit juices, or herbal teas.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight – Those who are overweight are considerably more at risk for developing or having high blood pressure. A benefit to so many aspects of our health, even just a little weight loss can help our blood pressure health.
  4. Don’t smoke – need we say more? These days, it is undisputed that the harsh chemicals and additives present in cigarettes are unhealthy for all aspects of health, including blood pressure.
  5. Manage stress – We’ve all felt our blood pressure go ‘through the roof’ in those stressful moments. Managing stressors is imperative to so many aspects of health, and only you know what truly relaxes you. Meditate, go to a yoga class, treat yourself to a massage, spend some time in the backyard gardening, even engaging in regular deep breathing – whatever works for you.

For most people, implementing these regular lifestyle changes can be challenging. But starting small, with just one or two changes until they become a regular part of the routine can help your overall health, including your blood pressure, immensely. Moreover, thinking of this as a ‘lifestyle prescription’ may help you avoid the doctor’s prescriptions!

Unlike so many health conditions, hypertension is highly controllable by making these lifestyle changes to help prevent or manage hypertension. So get moving, enjoy your fruits and veggies, and destress… your heart health and blood pressure depend on it!


Why Potassium is so Important for your Body

fitness classes in gymA few weeks ago we published a blog called “Electrolytes: Myth-Busted” in response to a question posted on our Facebook page by a Mountain Trek alumni. The article garnered huge interest and prompted another alumni, James, to ask, “Please speak more on potassium.”

So herewith are the facts everyone should know about potassium and how this important mineral applies to your overall health.

What is potassium?

This mineral is one of the main electrolytes in your body (others include sodium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium). Electrolytes are electrically charged particles that our cells use to maintain voltage across our cell membranes and carry electrical impulses to other cells.

What does it do?

Potassium aids nerve conduction, muscle contraction and heart beat regulation. It also helps maintain normal blood pressure by blunting sodium’s effects and ensures proper fluid balance between your cells and body fluids.

Why is it important?

In addition to helping maintain a proper fluid balance in your body, potassium also performs the following functions:

  • Keeps the blood from clotting
  • Maintains the body’s pH balance
  • Carries nutrients to the cells
  • Protects the stomach lining from the damage that could be caused by stomach acids
  • Maintains healthy blood pressure
  • Promotes heart health
  • Preserves bone health

Raw almondsWhat are some sources of potassium?

Potassium is found in a wide variety of foods but bananas are the ones most famously associated with the mineral. Other sources include:

  • Citrus fruits and tomato juice
  • Melons
  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Avocados
  • Almonds and peanuts
  • Raisins and prunes
  • Milk
  • Sweet potatoes and legumes like lima and kidney beans are also high in potassium.
  • Interestingly, sports drinks are typically a poor source of potassium.

Why should you be aware of your potassium levels?

When you sweat (whether from working out, sitting in a sauna or living in a climate with hot, humid temperatures) your perspiration releases potassium out of the body. These decreased levels can lead to adverse effects such as muscle cramping, weakness, fatigue, heart palpitations and constipation. The good news is that potassium is easy to replenish and most people do so by maintaining a diet that includes the above foods. For example, eating almonds after you work out or detoxify in a steam room will help replenish your stores.

When is potassium harmful?

Too little potassium is just as dangerous as too much. A short-term deficiency can cause elevated blood pressure and muscle cramps but on a chronic level (hypokalemia) it is associated with a risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes. If your kidneys are working normally, they’ll regulate the amount of potassium that your body needs but people with diabetes who have kidney disease, for example, need to be especially careful of their potassium intake, as levels can get too high in the body (hyperkalemia), which can, in turn, damage the heart.

What is the suggested intake of potassium?

The recommended intake for adults is 4,700 milligrams daily. People who eat a healthy diet will get enough potassium naturally. However, those who eat mostly processed foods can be short up to a total of 1,000 milligrams. (Some medications for blood pressure could also cause a potassium deficiency, so check with your doctor.)

Should you take potassium supplements?

Unless you have a chronic illness your body will regulate your potassium levels provided your diet consists of certain whole foods like fruit, vegetables and nuts. (See list above.) The only time supplements are recommended is if you require electrolytes due to exertion or excess sweating (Mountain Trek clients might take one daily electrolyte supplement, like Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator, due to their high amounts of perspiration) or if you suffer from certain chronic ailments like diabetic ketoacidosis, a metabolic condition more commonly seen in people with Type 1 diabetes.

Blood Glucose testerWhat is the relationship between potassium and diabetes?

Interestingly, some Type 1 diabetics may have too much potassium in their systems while many Type 2 diabetics have too little. Yet, because of certain medications, some Type 2 diabetics may not be able to excrete potassium in the way they should. If you have (or at risk of getting) diabetes, definitely have your doctor perform a potassium test to determine your levels and ensure that your medications or supplements are not negatively impacting your body’s potassium levels.

Coke Vs. Pepsi … Vs. Water

water cokeIn the 1970s the makers of Pepsi Cola, started what was to become known as the “Cola Wars” when it launched a blind taste test campaign targeting the Coca-Cola Company. The concept was that average people would try the two sodas and choose one over the other.

Since then the two companies have engaged in many different marketing campaigns and today they own some of the most recognizable brands on the planet. In fact, 1.8 billion bottles of Coke are consumed around the world…every day!

However, with concerns of heart disease, obesity and diabetes on the rise, people are starting to rethink the types of liquids they consume. (Even the cola companies are starting to show concern judging by Coca-Cola’s recent obesity commercial.)

The fact is, no matter how the companies spin the message, their products will never touch water in terms of health benefits. Sure, water may not taste as sweet, but have a read of the following and decide what you’d rather drink: Coke or Pepsi…or water.


  • Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45% and bladder cancer by 50%
  • Drinking 5 glass of water can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.
  • One glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of those who participated in a University of Washington study.
  • Preliminary research indicates that drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
  • Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. Drinking a few glasses of water easily rectifies it.
  • Consuming water is the #1 method of flushing impurities from the body.


  • The active ingredient in Coke and Pepsi is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about 4 days.
  • Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.
  • One can of Coke or Pepsi contains the equivalent of 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • To clean corrosion from car battery terminals pour a can of cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.
  • To carry Coke and Pepsi syrup (the concentrate) commercial trucks must use the Hazardous Material stickers reserved for highly corrosive materials.
  • To clean a toilet bowl, pour a can of Coke or Pepsi into the bowl and let it sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in the cola removes stains from vitreous china.


How to Lose Those Last Stubborn Pounds

Weight Loss Tips

Ok, you’ve made some lifestyle changes, drink more water, eat more salad, go for a walk a few times a week…so why does that last 20 lbs of weight hang on so stubbornly? It’s great you’ve made those changes, but there could be a few factors that thwart your health and weight loss goals:

  • you may have reached a new set point, so what you burn is perfectly balanced with what you consume
  • you may not be aware of how your food choices prevent you from breaking through your weight loss barrier
  • you might be fatigued from lack of sleep making it harder to exercise effectively
  • you might be stressed, and this can impair metabolism.

If you take a long view of your health, you can gradually make changes that stick. If you are pressed for time, with risks to your heart or impending diabetes, you might need to make changes quickly. Here are some ideas for addressing that last hurdle.

  1. Assess your habits. Condiments add extra fuel to a meal, and may have ingredients your body doesn’t need. Bottled sweet drinks including juice and soda add calories with less value than whole fruits or freshly pressed juices. Notice the many ways extra calories creep quietly into your day, then make clear choices.
  2. Get enough sleep. Being well-rested means you can exercise the next day; exercising means you’ll sleep well. If your body clock is properly adjusted, meals can also fall into a pattern which can prevent binging.
  3. Snack wisely. Keep veggies, nuts and fruits available to stave off hunger between meals. A small snack will keep fat cells calm, your metabolism burning properly and prevent your body from swinging between feast and famine modes. Make sure to have breakfast and eat a healthy lunch.
  4. Read ingredients carefully and assess your larder. Be picky! Anything that does not come from a farm or is not simply derived from a natural ingredient is worth researching. Go easy on saturated fats and avoid trans-fats completely. The more you know, the easier it will be to make healthy decisions.
  5. Find inner peace. Well, maybe that’s too much to ask, but find ways to unwind. High stress levels lead to fat storage, so figure out how to have fun and feel good. A mindfulness practice plus exercise can alleviate stress and help the body be resilient.

Our Program Isn’t Just For Losing Weight

hiking in forestFitness vacations aren’t just for people needing to lose weight any more.  Mountain Trek hosts people from around the world, of all ages and fitness levels.

As the “Wellness Tourism” industry evolves to meet the needs of our stressed society, people are drawn to Health Retreats for a variety of reasons, with the most obvious being for those wanting to lose pounds, detox, break old habits and learn healthy new ones.

But the appeal of fitness vacations like Mountain Trek is a growing trend among athletes and health conscious people as well, that aren’t necessarily “fat”.  In fact, there are a rising percentage of guests that choose us because our Program matches where they’re already at in their health, lifestyle and attitude.

You may wonder how athletic people would benefit from attending a fitness retreat when they’re already fit and don’t need to shed pounds.  Some of the reasons these types of guests choose healthy getaways such as Mountain Trek include:

  • getting out of the office and back in touch with nature to breathe clean air
  • hiking in pristine nature through new terrain with other outdoor enthusiasts
  • training for an upcoming marathon, which their life back home didn’t allow time for
  • breaking out of their workout routine and getting re-inspired
  • detoxing from coffee, alcohol, and other habits that can creep up on us all
  • taking a much needed break from technology overload and career demands
  • enjoying regular bodywork, treatments and consultations from skilled practitioners all in one location
  • rewarding themselves after an achievement such as getting their degree
  • renewing and deepening their commitment to their health
  • enjoying an adventurous getaway with friends or a loved ones
  • indulging in down time by going solo, and feeling safe going alone in the supportive environment
  • meeting new like-minded people from around the world
  • tuning up before a wedding or other important life event    

We see it all here at Mountain Trek, and see people of all fitness levels have a blast pushing themselves beyond the limits of their comfort zones.  No matter what condition they arrived in, we consistently see guests go home feeling energized and 10 years younger, proud of their accomplishments and with a renewed commitment to their health.  

How your Diet can Kick Pre-Diabetes to the Curb

By Jennifer Keirstead, Holistic Nutritionist 

Fresh vegetables

Fresh vegetables

Along with stress reduction for staying clear of insulin resistance, as discussed in our prior blog by Kirkland Shave, what could be more impactful in preventing Pre-Diabetes than what you eat? Working powerfully together as the one-two punch in regulating blood sugar, lowered stress and a healthy diet are vital to avoid insulin resistance, and ultimately Type 2 Diabetes.

Tips for Preventing Pre-Diabetes with Diet:

  • Focus on a diet full of healthy fats, protein and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs include whole grains complete with all of their fibre and nutrients intact.  Some of my favorites include millet, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and steel-cut oats.
  • Eliminate processed foods from your diet, such as packaged snacks, refined sugar, baked goods, cookies, candy, fruit juices, soda and aspartame.
  • Avoid hydrogenated oils or trans fatty acids such as margarine and canola oil. Replace these fats with the healthy ones found in avocados, eggs, nuts and seeds, flax meal, plain yogurt, olive and coconut oil.
  • Enjoy organic, nutrient-rich meat and wild fish, such as grass fed beef, lamb, organic chicken and fatty fish such as wild salmon and cod.
  • Limit refined grains. These are characterized as being “white” and void in fibre and nutrients, and include anything with white flour (breads, rolls), white rice, processed cereals and white pasta.

Ideally, the majority of your diet should consist of leafy green vegetables, squashes, eggs, nuts and healthy meats for protein, and good fats, while avoiding sugar and refined or simple carbohydrates.

Did you know?

An increase in trace minerals can help regulate blood sugar levels.  Supplements such as chromium, magnesium and zinc can be found at your local health and vitamin store.  Food sources high in trace minerals include dark leafy-green vegetables such as chard, spinach, kale, collards and sea vegetables.  Instead of regular table salt, choose Celtic sea salt as an excellent source of trace minerals.

Pre-Diabetes and Stress

Pre diabetes and stress

How Insulin Resistance is Triggered by Stress

By Kirkland Shave, Program Director 

Do you need another compelling reason to reduce stress in your life?

Although a healthy diet and exercise are crucial to regulating blood sugar and preventing pre-diabetes, other factors are also proven to be at cause for insulin resistance.

A February 2010 review from the European Depression in Diabetes Research Consortium states, “Results of longitudinal studies suggest that depression, general emotional stress and anxiety, sleeping problems, anger and hostility are associated with an increased risk for the development of Type 2 Diabetes.”

When under stress (physical, mental or emotional), blood sugar rises in order to supply energy for fight or flight. Stress increases the body’s demand for energy, whether it is an acute life and death situation, or coping with chronic mental or emotional difficulties. In people with diabetes, the flight or fight response does not work as well. The blood sugar regulating hormone insulin, is not always able to transfer the extra energy (glucose or fat) to the muscle cells for two reasons.

Cells may become resistant to insulin if they don’t need the extra energy (glucose) that floods our blood stream in response to the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol. And, as insulin resistance builds, the pancreas can become fatigued as it tries to produce adequate amounts of insulin to nourish the cells. These factors cause people with insulin resistance to have constantly elevated blood sugar – hyperglycemia – which can lead to Type 2 diabetes.

Coping with chronic stressors often leads to a variety of feelings of dissatisfaction. Our natural tendency will be to make choices that elicit our “feel good hormones” to avoid the weight of these feelings. Unfortunately, we are genetically wired to crave certain foods to elicit the brain soothing hormones serotonin and dopamine. Consuming any of the “three main cravings” of salt, fat and carbs makes us feel better in the moment, but doesn’t support the lowering of blood sugar.

Stress Management is vital to turn around this hormonal domino effect that can lead to elevated blood sugar, insulin resistance, and ultimately Type 2 Diabetes.