Side effects of drinking soda
Posted by mandyf on January 21, 2012
Soda has long been the beverage of choice for millions of people. When it comes to drinking soda you always hear about possible health risks or side effects of some sort, but rarely take them seriously. The way most people look at those risks (Real and potential) is that there are a lot of worse things they could be drinking, and that sugar and caffeine are innocent ingredients getting a bad rap.
A dentist will quickly point out that should cut back on your soda consumption as soda weakens tooth enamel. As usual, when was told this I nodded agreement which is what I do whenever someone has a massive iron hook jammed into my mouth and I’m defenseless to fight back. A few days later though I began to wonder if there was anything to all the talk about the downside of soda and found out there was plenty beyond the cost associated to purchasing so many empty calories.
The first thing that scares you is sodium benzoate and it’s link to cancer. The word cancer linked to this chemical freaks you out a little and gets your attention. Sodium benzoate is found in over 1,500 different types of soda as well as forest fires, cigarette smoke, and burning coal. The level it generally occurs in sodas as a partner of ascorbic acid is five times higher than the limit allowed in U.S. drinking water. In diet soda it can be up to eleven times higher than the allowable rate in water. It made me wonder if it is so bad in water and everywhere else, why is it okay, especially at high levels, in soda? Benzene is a carcinogen and has been linked to leukemia. How bad is it? It’s bad enough that PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Cadbury-Schweppes, are facing class action lawsuits over benzene-forming ingredients in their beverages.
Carbonated beverages (Not just soda) can lead to acid reflux disease. That in and of itself is fairly manageable but still annoying. The problem is acid reflux disease has been identified as a risk factor for esophageal cancer. While studies in India which directly linked soda to esophageal cancer where debunked by a Yale study, Yale did not deny there was an indirect correlation between acid reflux disease to esophageal cancer. It is a longer line of cause and effect, but there is still some connection.
Aspertame is something we have all heard of. It was only a couple years ago headlines claimed the sweetener caused lymphomas and leukemias. It did in rats at least, but a 5000,000 person study conducted later that year said aspertame was not cancer causing, but may cause headaches for people predisposed to them. None the less the suggestion that aspertame be consumed in moderation makes me believe maybe it isn’t the best thing out there. Aspertame has also been linked to increasing a persons appetite although studies are again split. Those funded by sugar growers say it does, private research firms financed by aspartame producers say no, and independent testing agencies say maybe. In short nobody seems to know for sure.
Where soda really falls on it’s face however is the sugar. A person with a 2,200 daily diet has a recommended daily allowance of twelve teaspoons of sugar. A twelve ounce can of soda has ten teaspoons of sugar and a twenty ounce bottle has seventeen ounces. For someone like me two twenty ounce soda’s per day is low, but even that puts me at twenty two teaspoons over my recommended allowance. Excessive sugar intake can lead to diabetes and heart disease as well as clinical obesity which can lead to any number of further health problems. The Harvard School of Public health conducted a study in which women that normally drank one soda per week who upped their intake to one per day gained on average eighteen pounds over the course of the study.
Soda crowds out healthier foods by curbing a persons appetite. In the case of kids a study of six- to 13-year-old children published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that “those who drank more sweetened beverages, including soda, drank less milk. Those who drank an average of 20 ounces of soda a day had lower intakes of calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin A, and other vital nutrients.” Soda consumption can also lead to kidney stones (Due to the phosphoric acid in most sodas) and osteoporosis as soda drinkers tend to drink less milk.
Now lets get back to the teeth and see what a dentist would have to say about how soda impacts them. The sugar is undeniably bad for your teeth, but it is the acids in soda that really do a number on your pearly whites. Like most things with the human body, our mouths have a delicate balance that is designed to keep it healthy, notably it’s PH balance which is generally 6.2 to 7.0. A diet soda is generally around 2.47 to 3.35 which is considered very acidic.It is a real double whammy, the acid eats your tooth enamel and the sugar gets down to the decay business. it is suggested that if you do drink soda to do so during a meal and to brush as soon as possible after having a soda.
It is accepted as fact soda is not the healthiest beverage out there, and we know it does have some definite side effects. In many cases it is something which is at least agreed to be a potential contributor to some pretty nasty health problems. A dingy smile and tooth decay along with weight gain, and benzene consumption which may lead to cancer should be enough to to know sodas side effects are undesirable. Still soda is for many of us a regular treat and even with its side effects we will just keep drinking.