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.
Here are the top 10 reasons to break your soda addiction.
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.
7. Increases Gout Risk
Gout can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, and one of the reasons behind it is a high amount of uric acid in the body. The high dietary fructose content in soda can lead to a high uric acid level, thus increasing the risk of gout.
In a 2008 study published in the British Medical Journal, the beverage consumption patterns of 46,393 men was assessed over 12 years. Out of these, 755 were diagnosed with gout and reported an unhealthy excess consumption of fructose-rich soda.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed the association between fructose-rich beverages and risk of gout in women.
Some 78,906 women with no history of gout at baseline were studied for about 22 years. The study found that women who drank soda regularly reported elevated uric acid levels in the body and consequent development of gout.
People who have gout often have other types of health problems, such as hypertension, diabetes and uric acid kidney stones. This gives you many reasons why quitting drinking soda is a wise decision.
8. Damages Your Kidneys
The high phosphoric acid as well as high fructose corn syrup content in soda beverages can affect how well your kidneys function.
According to a 2011 study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, daily intake of two or more soda drinks significantly increases the risk of damaging the kidneys and inhibiting their function.
Regular soda intake also raises the risk of kidney stones, which causes painful urination, urine, nausea, vomiting and a fever.
A 2008 study published in Kidney International analyzed the fructose consumption pattern in 45,984 men for 48 years.
A total of 4,902 men were found to suffer from kidney stones. The study found that high fructose intake increases the risk of developing calcium, oxalate and uric acid kidney stones.
Furthermore, a 2013 study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology confirms that excessive soda intake raises the risk of developing kidney stones.
To protect your kidneys from damage, stop drinking soda right away.
9. Causes Liver Disease
Drinking too many soda beverages is bad for your liver, too. Excess intake can increase your risk for liver disease. The high fructose corn syrup in it may be partly to blame.
A 2008 study published in the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology reports that soft drink intake can be linked with fatty liver in the absence of traditional risk factors.
Moreover, a 2011 study published in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism reports that consumption of dietary fructose may cause the onset and subsequent development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Apart from high fructose corn syrup, the artificial sweetener aspartame in soda causes the chemical formaldehyde to accumulate in the liver and bind to protein molecules. This can be really harmful for your liver health.
One of the best things you can do for your liver is to make the switch to plain, fresh water.
10. Increases Cancer Risk
The artificial caramel coloring used to give cola beverages a brown color, as well as the high sugar content in soda, can raise your risk of various cancers.
The two contaminants in caramel coloring, 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, raise the risk of breast, colon, esophageal and throat cancer.
A 2015 study published in PLOS One reports that the caramel color in soft drinks and exposure to 4-methylimidazole can increase cancer risks and burdens.
The high amount of dietary sugar in the typical western diet also may increase the risk of breast cancer and metastasis to the lungs, according to a 2016 study published in Cancer Research. For many, a good portion of the extra sugar may come from soda.
Reducing your sugar intake by avoiding soda beverages can play a key role in lowering your cancer risk.