We have all heard that soda is bad for us if we drink too much of it. But do we know why this is? When explaining all the adverse health effects of drinking soda, it seemed important to list all the ingredients and which ones individually cause the negative effects. The most common ingredients in soda are: carbonated water, caramel color, natural flavors, caffeine, phosphoric acid, and high fructose corn syrup/sugars.
The carbonation in soda is what gave it its name of “osteoporosis in a can”. After it irritates the stomach, the body is triggered to use calcium from the blood to make the irritation go away. The calcium of the blood is very important and must be replaced, so the body harvests calcium from the bones to take its place. This slowly drains the bones of their much needed calcium. This could be reversed if for every can of soda you had a glass of milk, but for most, especially children, soda consumption replaces milk consumption all together. Carbonated water is fine in moderation, but who these days seems to moderate it?
This common coloring has been shown in a study by the American Medical Association to show increased risk of hypertension (high blood pressure). The FDA has labeled this a GRAS ingredient. GRAS stands for, generally regarded as safe. Other ingredients on this list are currently undergoing rigorous testing to determine if they increase cancer risks. As science constantly changes and new information becomes available, soon caramel coloring and others on the list may no longer be regarded as safe. Caramel coloring is also the ingredient behind the teeth yellowing effects of soda. As the phosphoric acid wears down tooth enamel, the caramel coloring can more easily stain your teeth.
While a little bit of caffeine is perfectly safe for consumption, even during pregnancy, excess consumption can be harmful. Caffeine is an addictive stimulant. It will make your mood a little better but once you begin drinking a lot of it each day it will be difficult to stop. Your will power may not be affected at all to drinking the caffeine but your body will react viciously at times. Awful headaches or migraines, nausea, upset stomach, dizziness, can all be results of caffeine withdrawal. One can isn’t too bad but drink a lot of it and you’ll almost have to keep it in your diet forever. Caffeine has also shown in some studies to be bad for your heart. This is once again only in high doses. Drinking one can a day will surely not harm your heart, but increased stimulants every day will cause your heart to work a little harder and faster, which will increase your blood pressure.
This is the culprit for the wearing on teeth enamel caused by too much soda intake. Drinking in moderation will be fine as long as you brush your teeth regularly and see a dentist to ensure your teeth are perfectly healthy. The phosphoric acid has actually been tested on shows such as Mythbusters to determine whether it can completely dissolve a tooth. In 24 hours the show proved that soda cannot complete this feat in 24 hours but there was noticeable density loss for the teeth.
High Fructose Corn Syrup / Sugars
These ingredients are also fine in moderation, but also the reason that excess soda drinking has been deemed diabetes in a can. Drinking a couple cans of soda a day will not be too harmful, but think about the person in your life that consumed over five cans per day. This sugar is creating new layers of fat cells on the body, rotting the teeth if you’re not taking care of them properly, and some sweeteners like the ones in diet sodas are rumored to increase the risk of cancer.
Bad in a Can
Soda is fine in moderation. It tastes good, it’s widely available, and it’s a stimulant so it will make you feel good. It’s great for mixing drinks and eating out, but be sure to limit intake as much as possible. Due to its many nicknames: osteoporosis in a can, cancer in a can, diabetes in a can, obesity in a can, they can all be summed up as too much soda is death in a can.
Pure Health MD