Not many people give a second thought when they down a soda or energy drink. Each year, Americans consume around 45 gallons of soda per person. In fact, people drink more soda than they do water, which has led to major health problems.
These drinks not only destroy your bones, but they harm nearly every organ in the body.
Dangers of Phosphoric Acid in Soda
In the Framingham Osteoporosis Study, BMD (bone mineral density) was measured in 1413 women and 1125 men. Their dietary intake was measured by a food-frequency questionnaire, and adjusted for BMI, height, age, energy intake, physical activity score, smoking, alcohol use, total calcium intake, total vitamin D intake, caffeine from non-cola sources, and for women, estrogen use and menopausal status.
The study found that daily cola intake was associated with significantly lower BMD in the hips of women, who are typically more prone to bone loss than men, because of hormonal differences between the sexes.
Why does this happen? It is suggested that phosphoric acid in cola leaches calcium out of the bone, or that too much phosphorous inhibits calcium absorption (2). Caffeine in sodas, energy drinks, and coffee also accelerates bone loss in women. Caffeine has been postulated to interfere with calcium absorption and leads to calcium loss through urine.
Phosphoric acid exists in many whole foods, but too much often leads to heart and kidney problems, muscle loss, and osteoporosis, as we have seen.
If you have absorption issues like leaky gut, suffer from osteoporosis or other bone-related disorders, or are over the age of 50, you should absolutely avoid soda at all costs. Eliminating soda and caffeine altogether (regardless of whether you suffer from the aforementioned), will automatically protect your body from the dangers these beverages pose to the human body.
Drinks you should avoid include:
- Colas (coca-cola, pepsi, dr. pepper, etc.)
- Energy drinks
- Sports drinks
- Bottled or canned iced tea beverages
- Bottled or canned coffee beverages
Additional Dangers of Drinking These Beverages
In addition to weakening your bone matrix and putting you at risk for developing osteoporosis, sodas have some other downsides. They not only make you gain weight, but they can contribute to health conditions like cancer and fatty liver disease.
Soda causes you to gain visceral fat (fat around the abdomen), which squishes your organs and increases your risk of heart disease. Drinking one soda a day can increase liver fat, skeletal fat, triglyceride blood fat and other organ fat.
Caramel colouring found in many sodas helps give them their brown colour. Caramel colouring contains two contaminants, 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, both of which have been found to cause cancer.
Soda causes major damage to tooth enamel, and increases your risk of developing cavities. The damaging reaction lasts 20 minutes after each sip, so taking your time to drink soda is actually more harmful.
Fatty Liver Disease
The large amount of synthetic fructose found in these drinks damages the liver when consumed in large amounts. The fructose is turned into fat, which remains in the liver and leads to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Type 2 Diabetes
Drinking just one can of soda per day has been linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Dosing yourself with large amounts of sugary drinks impairs memory and decision-making abilities, and can lead to conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Higher glucose levels have also been associated with an increased risk of dementia.
If you still want to get your soft drink fix, or crave that carbonation, you can opt for healthier options like kombucha or plain seltzer water.
You can also opt to make your own natural sweet juices, or fruit and herb flavoured waters.
By switching out healthier options for soda, you’ll feel better within a few days and with a renewed source of energy!