You know it’s not healthy – but it’s cheap, convenient and tasty. Plenty of people drink it – 15 billion gallons a year consumed in the United States alone.
Need a reason to stop drinking soda? Here are fourteen:
Soda contributes to overweight and obesity. Drinking one can of soda a day can add more than 1 pound of weight gain every month. A single 12-ounce can of soda has as much as 13 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. A can of Coca-Cola Classic will take about 30 minutes to walk off. Diet soda? Forget about it. It is just as likely to cause weight gain as regular, or even more. Plus there’s the added health risks – Artificial Sweeteners – How Sweet Are They? (The Lancet, February 2001)
Soda damages your liver. There is evidence that consumption of too many soft drinks puts you under increased risk for liver cirrhosis similar to what chronic alcoholics have. The preservative sodium benzoate may be the cause. (The Independent, Britain, May 27, 2007)
Soda dissolves tooth enamel. Researches say that soft drinks are responsible for doubling or tripling the incidence of tooth decay. Soda’s acidity is even worse for teeth than the solid sugar found in candy. In tests done on the acidity levels of soda, certain ones were found to have PH levels as low as 2.5. To put that into perspective, battery acid has a pH of 1 and pure water has a pH of 7. You do the math. (Journal of the American Dental Association, 1984:109-241-5)
Kidney stones and chronic kidney disease
Colas are well known for their high phosphoric acid content, a substance known to change the urine in a way that promotes kidney stone formation. Research, published in Epidemiology, found that drinking two or more colas a day (whether artificially sweetened or regular) was linked to a twofold risk of chronic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease includes conditions that damage and decrease the kidney’s ability to remove toxins and maintain normal fluid balance. (Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, August 1992)
Anything that promotes weight gain increases the risk of diabetes. Drinking soda not only contributes to making people fat, but it also stresses the body’s ability to process sugar. Some scientists suspect this is why the number of Americans with type 2 diabetes has tripled from 6.6 million in 1980 to 23.6 million today. (Journal of the American Medical Association, August 25, 2004)
Heartburn & acid reflux
Heavy consumption of soda is a strong predictor of heartburn. Carbonated beverages are very acidic. They also deliver a lot of air – in the form of carbon dioxide – which can cause distension of the stomach. And that distension appears to be associated with more reflux. (American College of Chest Physicians journal “Chest”, May 2005)
Soft drinks containing phosphoric acid are linked to osteoporosis (a weakening of the skeletal structure) because they lead to lower calcium levels and higher phosphate levels in the blood. When phosphate levels are high and calcium levels are low, calcium is pulled out of the bones. Researchers found, that high soda consumption (particularly cola) in children poses a significant risk factor for impaired calcification of growing bones. (American Journal of Preventive Medicine, October 2004)
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Overconsumption of soda leads to an increase in blood pressure. It doesn’t matter if the soda is regular or diet. Teens, particularly black teens, who drink several soft drinks daily may increase their blood pressure and their risk for developing hypertension. (The Journal of the American Medical Association, November 9, 2005)
Heavy soda drinkers are more likely to develop risk factors for heart disease. Research shows that drinking more than one soft drink a day is associated with an increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms such as central obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugar, elevated fasting triglycerides, low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol). Having three or more of the symptoms increases a person’s risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.(American Heart Association’s journal “Circulation”, July 31, 2007)
Impaired digestion (gastrointestinal distress)
Drinking sodas, especially on an empty stomach, can upset the fragile acid-alkaline balance of the stomach and other gastric lining, creating a continuous acid environment. This prolonged acid environment can lead to inflammation of the stomach and duodenal lining. (Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2005 Oct;105(10):1559-1566)
Hyperactivity and Mental Problems
Teenagers who drink more soda have more mental health difficulties, including hyperactivity and mental distress. In a study conducted in Norway, researchers used questionnaires to survey 5,547 Norwegian 10th graders about their eating and soda-drinking habits, as well as hyperactivity and conduct problems in school, and mental health indicators such as anxiousness, dizziness, hopelessness, panic, sadness, sleeplessness, tension, unhappiness with themselves and a sense that everything is a burden. Teenagers who drank the most soda (an average of four or more glasses a day) scored highest on measures of behavioral difficulties, hyperactivity, mental distress and overall mental health problems. (American Journal of Public Health, October 2006, Vol 96, No. 10)
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University say when people don’t get their usual dose of caffeine, they can suffer a range of withdrawal symptoms including headache, fatigue, muscle pain and inability to concentrate.
The amount of water required to produce a single liter of soft drink may be only three or four liters, but vast quantities are used to produce the sugar and corn syrup feedstock. UN calculations suggest that more than one third of the world’s population is suffering from water shortages: by 2020 water use is expected to increase by 40 per cent from current levels, and by 2025, according to another UN estimate, two out of three people could be living under conditions of “water stress”. Sourced: Ecologists warn the planet is running short of water
If the health risks don’t convince you, look at the economics. A person who drinks just 2 cans of soda a day will pay $206 over the course of a year to keep the habit going. If there is more than one soda drinker in the household, that yearly total could quickly double or even triple.
Tell me again, why are you still drinking soda?
- Center for Science in the Public Interest: Liquid Candy
- Natural News: Kids’ soda consumption strongly linked to hyperactivity, mental problems
- Reuters: No safe haven: Diet sodas linked with health risks
- Squidoo: 10 Diseases Linked To Soda
- The Independent: Caution: Some soft drinks may seriously harm your health
- WebMD: 1 Daily Soda May Boost Heart Disease