Soda is devoid of any nutritional value, but studies have shown it to have far reaching and sometimes devastating effects on the body. Here’s a look at what can happen to the body long-term for those who regularly drink soda.
Sodas contain high levels of sugar, acids, preservatives and other harmful ingredients which actually cause more damage to the body than just expanding waistlines. Soda consumption is now linked with many chronic illnesses and conditions including, strokes, kidney stones and dementia. Here is a breakdown on the damage caused every time you reach for a can of soda.
TOOTH DECAY AND LOSS
The sugar and acid in sodas easily dissolves tooth enamel. Over time when tooth decay reaches the nerve and the root, it can result in tooth loss or painful abscesses can develop sometime leading to severe infections.
Research published in the Academy of General Dentistry journal in 2006 found that drinking soda is nearly as harmful for your teeth as drinking battery acid. Most commonly these are citric acid and/or phosphoric acid which lead to the corrosion of the tooth enamel. Diet sodas have a pH of 3.2, so are even more acidic than regular sodas.
The Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center say soft drinks are among the most significant dietary sources of tooth decay. “Acids and acidic sugar byproducts in soft drinks soften tooth enamel, contributing to the formation of cavities. In extreme cases, softer enamel combined with improper brushing, grinding of the teeth or other conditions can lead to tooth loss (i).”
Soda’s contain horrendous amounts of sugar. Research undertaken by UCLA showed that a diet containing excessive levels of sugar results in a reduction of a brain chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF (ii). Without BDNF, our brains are unable to form new memories and learning capabilities are reduced as well as memory.
Scientists at the University of Copenhagen also found a link between low levels of BDNF and depression and dementia. Low levels of BDNF have also been linked with insulin resistance, (iii).
Further damage as a result of chronically high sugar consumption dulls the brain’s mechanism for knowing when to stop eating according to research from the University of Minnesota in 2010.
ASTHMA AND LUNG HEALTH
Sodium benzoate is used as a preservative in many foods including sodas and is used for it’s antimicrobial effects. This sodium preservative adds even more sodium to the diet and reduces the availability of potassium in our bodies. Common reactions to sodium benzoate include recurring uticaria or constant rashes and eczema.
It is also linked with asthma. Research carried out by the University of Adelaide concluded that drinking too much soda can increase the risk for developing asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, or COPD. The risk increased in line with the increase in consumption. This is a major casue for concern as each day in America 11 people die of asthma alone, and the annual cost to the healthcare system has been estimated at $18 Billion annually.
Most soft drinks contain high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener that is coming under increased scrutiny. This is usually derived from GMO corn and has been linked with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, a condition associated with an elevated heart disease risk.
Researchers from Harvard published findings in 2012 showing there was a direct correlation between soda consumption and heart disease concluding that “one daily 12-ounce serving of regular soda was linked to a 19% increase in the relative risk of cardiovascular disease (iv).”
Colas contain high levels of phosphoric acid which has been linked to kidney stones and other renal conditions. However it is also thought that diet colas have an even more detrimental affect on kidney function, even if just drinking two diet colas per day.
Carbonated soft drinks can cause irritation to the digestive system and should be avoided with people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Consuming sodas can result in a buildup of gas in the abdomen which causes pain, stomach cramps and bloating.
The caffeine levels in many sodas increase stomach acid production, which can excacerbate symptoms in people already suffering from diarrhea, or conversely can cause constipation.
Nearly all aluminum soda cans are lined with an epoxy resin called bisphenol A (BPA), used to keep the acids in soda from reacting with the metal. BPA is known to interfere with hormones, and has been linked to everything from infertility to obesity and diabetes and some forms of reproductive cancers. This is the same cancer causing chemical found in many plastic baby bottles, water bottles and plastic containers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have highlighted soda cans, along with restaurant, school, and fast-food meals as a major source of exposure to the chemical. Pepsi and Coke seem to be locked in a battle to see which company can be the first to develop a 100 percent plant-based-plastic bottle, which could be labelled as”BPA free”, however neither company is prepared to switch to BPA-free aluminum cans at this stage.
Soda consumption has been linked in several studies to osteoporosis and bone density loss mainly due to the phosphoric acid content. A high phosphate diet has been linked with bone breakdown and an increased risk of suffering from osteoporosis. Phospherous is an essential bone mineral however when excess phosphorous is excreted in the urine it also leaches the body of calcium, another mineral essential to bone health and growth.
Studies have also shown caffeine to inhibit the absorption of calcium.
Astonishingly if you drink just one soda every day, you actually consume 39 pounds of sugar annually from the soda alone.
Research undertaken at Harvard showed that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to more than 180,000 obesity-related deaths each year in the U.S., which means that about one in every 100 deaths from obesity-related diseases is caused by drinking sugary beverages.
A further study concluded that regularly consuming drinks high in sugar interacts with the genes that affect weight, dramatically increasing a person’s risk for obesity (v). The link between obesity and soft drink consumption is now so strong that it is estimated that for each additional soda consumed, the risk of obesity actually increases by a factor of 1.6 . Overall figures show that 70% of cardiovascular disease and 30% of gall bladder surgery is linked with obesity, with 42% of breast and colon cancers diagnosed in patients who are obese.
Those who drink more soda have an 80% greater risk of going on to develop Type-2 diabetes – current figures show that almost 1$ out of 10$ in American healthcare is spent on diabetes.
Ditch the soda and your body will thank you.