Soda drinks are the beverage of choice for millions of children and youngsters. The sweet taste, pleasant fizz and energizing jolt experienced with drinking soda make it really hard to resist.
According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005–2008, 50 percent of the U.S. population consumes sugar drinks on any given day, and 25 percent consumes more than one 12-ounce can of cola.
It would not be wrong to say that people are just addicted to soda. The addiction is such that without a can of their favorite soda, many people can’t even think of eating their lunch or dinner.
Although most of the ingredients in soda drinks are deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are many hidden dangers in them that can cause side effects.
Anyone can suffer from the side effects, especially those who consume soda in excess on a regular basis.
Familiarizing yourself with the possible side effects can help you make the right decision to quit your habit.
1. Harms Your Teeth
Most of the sodas available in the market contain added citric acid and sugar, which are not good for your teeth.
High intake of soda can damage the protective enamel covering on your teeth and also be harmful to dentin and composite fillings, ultimately leading to cavities. When combined with poor oral hygiene, the results can be disastrous.
Also, the sugar in soda can lead to tooth decay and bad breath.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B reports that excessive intake of soft drinks can cause complex dental consequences including dental erosion and caries.
This study provides tips to prevent dental erosion and cavities, such as limiting your intake of soft drinks, choosing low erosive soft drinks and not brushing your teeth within one hour of consuming acidic food.
2. Increases Risk of Obesity
Regular as well as diet soda is a big “NO” for all those who wish to keep their weight under control.
The high amount of sugar as well as artificial sweeteners in sodas contain hidden calories and induce a whole set of physiologic and hormonal responses in the body. This contributes to weight gain and increased waist circumference.
Though artificial sweeteners are low in calories, they confuse your brain and cause sugar cravings.
A 2006 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that sugar-sweetened beverages, particularly soda, provide little nutritional benefit and increase weight gain and probably the risk of diabetes, fractures and dental caries.
In a meta-analysis of 88 studies published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2007, researchers examined the association between soft drink consumption and nutrition and health outcomes. They found clear associations of soft drink intake with increased energy intake and body weight.
3. Reduces Bone Strength
Excess intake of carbonated drinks can lead to reduced bone strength. This is especially true for females, who are more prone to weak bones with age.
A 2006 article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that women who consume regular and diet cola are more likely to have weaker hip bones than those who do not drink these beverages.
Low bone mineral density did not appear to be associated with other forms of carbonated drinks, but the report noted a need for additional research to confirm the findings.
Soda beverages like cola contain phosphoric acid, which interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to osteoporosis and bone softening. Phosphoric acid also interacts with stomach acid, slowing digestion and blocking nutrient absorption.
Regular weight-bearing exercise and adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D are the best protection against weak bones.
4. Hurts Your Heart
Excess intake of regular as well as diet soda boosts your risk of having a vascular event, such as a stroke or heart attack, even leading to death.
In a 2009 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers tracked the health of 88,520 women ages 34 to 59 for over two decades.
They found that women who drank more than two servings of sugary beverages daily had a 40 percent higher risk of heart attacks or death from heart disease than women who rarely drank sugary beverages.
Another study of 42,883 men over two decades found that those who drank an average of one can of a sugary beverage per day had a 20 percent higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart attack than men who rarely consumed sugary drinks. This study was published in Circulation in 2012.
5. Increases Diabetes Risk
Anything that promotes weight gain automatically raises the risk of diabetes. As soda affects your body’s ability to process sugar and causes weight gain, people who consume this sugary beverage are at a higher risk of diabetes.
A 2004 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that the large amounts of readily absorbable sugars and excess calories in sugar-sweetened beverages like soft drinks and fruit punches may contribute to weight gain and an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
A 2008 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine also reports that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks and fruit drinks is associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes mellitus in African American women from all parts of the U.S.
More recently, a 2015 study published in the British Medical Journal confirms that increased intake of sugar-sweetened drinks like sodas is associated with a higher prevalence of Type 2 diabetes.
Quitting or limiting your soda consumption thus will help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
6. Raises Blood Pressure
High soda intake is also known to cause high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension and is one of the main causes of heart disease.
High blood pressure can gradually weaken the heart muscles, increasing the risk of a heart attack, heart failure and cardiac arrest.
A 2011 study published in Hypertension found that regular intake of soda was directly and significantly associated with high blood pressure.
It is the high fructose corn syrup in soda that contributes to elevated blood pressure. A 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology reports that high fructose corn syrup is associated with hypertension, irrespective of a history of hypertension.