Most American drink soda everyday without giving it a second thought.
However, it’s considered common knowledge that sugary drinks aren’t good for your health. And yet, each year, Americans consume an average of 57 gallons of soda per person (1).
So how bad is soda? Well, let’s just say doctors aren’t divided on the subject.
Soda and Osteoporosis
Cola soda contains both phosphoric acid and caffeine.
In 2006, the Framingham Osteoporosis Study examined the bone mineral density (BMD) of 1413 women and 1125 men (2). It found that daily cola intake was associated with significantly lower BMD in the hips of women, which are much more prone to bone loss than men (3).
Some studies suggest that this phenomena is caused by too much phosphorous, which can inhibit calcium absorption (4). It’s also thought that phosphoric acid in cola leaches calcium out of bones (5).
Another study suggests that drinking 330 mg of caffeine, or about four cups of coffee can cause bone loss (4). Caffeine is thought to interfere with calcium absorption and lead to calcium loss through urine.
If you suffer from osteoporosis, are over the age of 50 or have a condition which impairs nutrient absorption (such as Crohn’s disease), you should avoid soda at all cost.
Here are additional reasons why you should quit soda:
1. Extra Pounds
Two out of three adults and one out of three children in the United States are overweight or obese (6). It’s believe that daily soda consumption is contributing to this epidemic.
According to Dr. Christopher Ochner, assistant professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai,: “If everything else in their diet is equal, a person who has a can of Coke a day adds an extra 14.5 pounds per year, just from the calories alone.” (7).
Worst of all, soda consumption causes you to gain visceral fat, which gathers around your organs and increase your risk of heart disease (8).
2. Liver Damage
Sugary drinks contain large amounts of fructose, which can damage the liver in large amounts. It’s one of the leading cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
As little as two cans of Coke a day increases not only your risk of fatty liver, but also of liver failure, liver cirrhosis and heart disease (9).
3. Tooth Decay
Drinking soda causes tooth erosion, damaging tooth enamel and increasing your risk of cavities (10). This damaging reaction lasts for about 20 minutes after each sip, meaning that taking your time to drink soda actually increases its negative impact of your teeth.
Unlike fruits and fruit juice, soda can reach beyond surface enamel and into your dentin and even corrode through composite filings (10). It causes even more damage to the teeth of children, which are not fully developed and hardened.
4. Kidney Disease
A study that examined 3,000 women over the course of 20 years found that soda-drinking women had a 30% greater reduction in kidney function compared with non-soda drinkers (11).
Another study in Japan concluded that consuming more than two sodas a day causes protein loss through urine, which is a marker of kidney damage, kidney disease, heart disease, and heart failure (12).
People who consume sugary drinks regularly—1 to 2 cans a day or more—have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non soda drinkers (6).
Dr. Christopher Ochner, assistant professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai suggests that soda consumption causes dangerous influxes in blood sugar levels (7).
“These people wind up spiking and crashing, and the system that keeps trying to regulate this – it’s up and down” Ochner said.
“You get dysregulation, and you wind up getting insulin resistance. The body’s not able to properly metabolize the sugar, which ultimately leads to diabetes.”
People who average one can of a sugary beverage per day also have 20% higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart attack (6).
If you have a soda habit that you just can’t seem to quit, try replacing the drink with healthier options like infused water, tea and fresh vegetable juice. You’ll have more energy and feel healthier after just a few days.