Drinking Soda Is Bad For You

Sugar Isn’t So Sweet

8 ounces of soda contains about three tablespoons of sugar, or nine teaspoons.

Drinking soda has been linked to weight gain and obesity, mainly because of the sugar and high fructose corn syrup content. A can of cola contains about three tablespoons of sugar. That's around 140 calories. It takes 3500 calories of excess fuel to put on one pound. If you drink two cans of soda a day, above and beyond the calories you burn off through exercise and bodily functions, you will put on one extra pound every two-and-a half weeks, or about 20 pounds a year. Also, the extra sugar may contribute to tooth decay and can lead to a pre-diabetic condition called metabolic syndrome, which can ultimately lead to type 2 diabetes. One study, while only preliminary, suggests that drinking more than two soft drinks could give you twice the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

All of these reasons could be why public officials in several states have recommended banning sugary sodas from schools and taxing sodas in restaurants and retail outlets.

Caffeinated To The Max

Many sodas contain caffeine, which may not be welcome news for anyone who has to limit their intake of stimulants. Most sodas, except for clear products like Sprite and 7-Up, contain from 35 to 54 mg per 12 ounces, although a 12 ounce can of Mountain Dew contains 54 mg of caffeine! Most experts recommend keeping your total daily caffeine intake from 500 to 600 mg. Hopefully, you're not downing 10 cans of Mountain Dew in a day, but add your soda intake to the rest of your daily caffeine from coffee (100-200 mg per 8 ounce cup, depending on the brand), chocolate, and medications, and that might lead to health problems like rapid heart rate and insomnia.

What’s In That Artificial Sweetener?

Maybe you switched to diet soda to eliminate excess sugar, but what you get in return? Studies have been inconclusive and contradictory about the link between artificial sweeteners and cancer, but some have developed health problems from ingesting artificial sweeteners like aspartame, such as headaches, stomach upset, and worsening of symptoms in people with fibromyalgia. People who are born with a rare condition known as phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid any products containing aspartame, as they can't digest phenylalanine, an amino acid created by the metabolism of aspartame.

Bad To Your Bones

The phosphoric acid in that cola is suspected of interfering with calcium metabolism, and could, over time, weaken your bones and teeth. This is true whether that cola is diet or sugar-sweetened.

As evidence mounts showing how drinking soda is bad for you, you may want to cut your consumption or switch to plain or sparkling water instead.

Credits

Photo courtesy of istockphoto.com

References

GirlsHealth.gov, "What Girls Need to Know About Bone Health" https://www.girlshealth.gov/nutrition/bonehealth/index.cfm

PubMed.gov, "Health effects of soda drinking in adolescent girls in the United Arab Emirates." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18725052

PubMed.gov, "Bubbling over: soda consumption and its link to obesity in California." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19768858

Reuters, "No safe haven: Diet sodas linked with health risks" https://www.reuters.com/article/2007/07/23/us-heart-softdrinks-idUSN2339241420070723?pageNumber=1

CVS Health Resources, "Kids, Soda, and Obesity" https://www.cvshealthresources.com/topic/soda

Mayo Clinic.com, "Caffeine content for coffee, tea, soda and more" https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/caffeine/AN01211

Medline Plus, "Phenylketonuria" https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001166.htm