A glass of soda is not poison, but a can of cola a day is. The harmful effects of soft drinks go beyond weight gain and obesity. Soft drinks can cause diabetes, asthma, heart, liver and kidney disease, bone loss, tooth decay and cancer. Any soft drinks or bottled dairy products can be included in the “soft drinks” group, but usually indicate the retail sale of sweet, bubbly, soda or flavored soft drinks. Ironically, the label “contains no fruit” tells us that the drink has no nutritional content. However, more worrisome than the lack of nutrition is the high level of unhealthy ingredients in the average soda and the health risk they represent. So, exactly what health conditions does drinking soda give rise to? Here is the list.
1. Increases the Risk of Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome:
The high levels of sugar in the average drink cause an acute peak in your blood glucose level, and without helping you stay satiated for a long time. As a result, your body feels hungry and fatigue, triggering a vicious circle that negatively affects your waistline and increases your risk of type 2 diabetes.
“Drinking one or more sodas a day leads to a substantial weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in women”.
Also in men, taking one or two daily servings of such soft drinks increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (by 26%) and metabolic syndrome.
“Light” or “Zero” Soft Drinks can Cause you to Gain Weight
And no, “light” or “zero” soft drinks do not help. Contrary to what is advertised, light drinks can cause you to gain weight. Researchers believe that artificial sweeteners in soft drinks do not satisfy sweet tooth like normal sugar and, as a result, tend to look for more sugar. In addition, aspartame is an artificial sweetener that has been under the scanner since the 1980s. Although experts have clarified it for now, aspartame has been implicated in cancer in some animal studies. Artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol can also cause irritable bowel syndrome.
2. Increases the Risk of Obesity in Children:
Because children enjoy drinking these sugary drinks (often replacing healthy foods), they are at greater risk. As one study indicates, decreasing soda intake can significantly reduce obesity in children and adolescents. Given that many of them have no nutritional benefits, these drinks have no place in the children’s diet. Caffeine in many of them can replace nutrient dense foods such as milk and suppress hunger in children.
3. Increases the Risk of Heart Disease:
Obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, all of which become more likely with the consumption of sugary drinks, are all markers of cardiovascular disease. When you are consuming too much sugar from unhealthy sources, you are less likely to eat fruits and vegetables rich in nutrients and fiber. This can lead to an imbalance in lipids and cause heart problems. In a study conducted for more than two decades, it was found that men who consumed soft drinks regularly had a 20% higher risk of having a heart attack.
4. Cause Dental Erosion:
There is another reason why excess sugar in the soda can erase smiles. The sugar in soft drinks, when absorbed by bacteria in the mouth, becomes an acid. And this acid attacks the tooth enamel and weakens it. Children and adolescents are especially susceptible to tooth decay due to their underdeveloped enamel. Are sugar-free sodas the solution? Unfortunately not. The damage caused to your teeth when you drink soft drinks is the same as consuming methamphetamine or cocaine. This is because in addition to sugar, sodas also contain citric acid and phosphoric acid as preservatives. This can sometimes make the drink highly acidic. As one study found, a certain type of glue had a pH of 2.3. These acids can wear tooth enamel and dentin, the bottom layer, from the moment they come into contact with the teeth. For occasional sodas, and even citrus juices, use a straw, have a quick drink and brush after 30 minutes.
5. It Leads to Osteoporosis and Bone Fractures:
Phosphoric acid is a food additive that is added to soft drinks to give them an acidic taste and also to inhibit the growth of microorganisms in a sugar-rich environment. Too much phosphate in the blood can intervene with an adequate calcium metabolism, essential for bone health. Caffeine can also interfere with mineral absorption. According to one study, daily consumption of cola caused osteoporosis and an increased risk of bone fractures in older women, possibly due to an imbalance in the proportion of calcium and phosphate. Interestingly, cola-free drinks showed no such effect. None of them affected bone mineral density in men. It is possible that smaller bones, less physical activity and hormonal changes put women at greater risk. Some of these other causes of bone loss or osteoporosis may also have played a role.
6. It Can Cause Kidney Problems:
In a study with 465 patients with chronic kidney disease and 467 healthy people, it was found that drinking two glasses of cola a day, but not drinks without a cola, increased the risk of kidney disease twice. This was attributed to phosphoric acid in the tails, which causes urinary disorders, kidney stones and chronic kidney disease.
7. May Cause Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease:
A common sweetener used in soft drinks is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), made from corn starch. Unlike glucose, which can be broken down by the body’s cells, fructose can only be processed by the liver. When consumed in excess, it can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition that is also associated with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Since HFCS, being cheaper than sugar, is commonly used to sweeten beverages, some research comes to attribute the obesity epidemic, in large part, to HFCS in soft drinks.
8. Increases the Risk of Cancer:
The colors and preservatives added in the drinks mean more problems for you. And this is a problem of the worst kind.
Cola Color: The caramel color of the trademark of the popular tails may be aesthetically pleasing, but its effects are purely perverse: 4-methylimidazole is a carcinogen found in the brown coloration of food. In a laboratory environment, the 4-methylimidazole causes cancer of the lung, liver and thyroid in mice.
Orange-flavored drinks: Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in cheerful orange drinks is known to react with sodium benzoate, a common preservative found in soda, to form benzene. Benzene has been found to be a carcinogen that damages bone marrow cells and causes blood cancer in animal studies.
Plastic bottles and aluminum cans: Plastics and cans used to pack soda are loaded with chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA), the infamous carcinogen also known to alter hormones and raise blood pressure.
9. Can Interrupt Sleep:
The caffeine found in their soft drinks is highly addictive and acts as a stimulant by increasing the production of adrenaline. That is good news when you need a stimulant to overcome that deadline at work or that gigantic house renovation project. But if it is a common feature, things get worse. When consumed in excess, caffeine can disrupt sleep and digestion. And playing with your dream triggers a chain of problems.
10. Cause Asthma and COPD:
A study in Australia found that consuming more than 500 ml of soda every day was associated with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). The researchers assumed that several factors could be at stake here. The high amount of sugar in soda can trigger allergies in the airways and cause inflammation. Soda preservatives such as nitrites, sulphites and sodium benzoate could make these symptoms worse. Phthalates in soda bottles are also related to asthma.
What Can You Drink Instead of Soda?
Water or infusion water: There is nothing better than H2O when it comes to replacing sugary sodas and bottled beverages. Add a little cucumber and lemon or a handful of pomegranate seeds to get some color and a subtle layer of flavor. Iced tea, coconut water or real fruit juice without added sugars are a healthy option if you want something a little tastier.
Soda water: If you can’t stop drinking those bubbles, drink sparkling water and a stream of lemon. Or try cutting the sugar in a canned or packaged juice by diluting it with carbonated water.
Probiotic teas: You can even try kombucha, a fermented tea that can cure your intestines and satisfy your sweet tooth. To get that probiotic punch, opt for a yogurt-based smoothie with some fresh fruit or honey.