Soft drinks have been a regular part of diet for decades now, but only recently have people been researching and trying to determine if these are actually safe for regular consumption. We will examine some of the bad side effects of soft drinks and let you decide for yourself.
Soft drinks contain an excessive amount of sugar
The caloric count of sodas is enough to cause a problem for some. Because the drinks are often consumed twice a day and do not contribute to stopping hunger or decreasing appetite, they are usually consumed as excess calories. Consuming these extra calories in just one soda a day for a single year can contribute to up to 15 pounds of weight gain. In addition, sugar is found in very high concentrations in soft drinks. Just one soda a day is equivalent to 25 pounds of sugar per year. Not surprisingly, this can lead to weight gain even in diet sodas because any excess glucose is converted in the body to fat and even diet sodas contain a very large amount of sugar. One study found that cocktails made with diet free soft drinks actually make people drunker faster. The sugar-free drinks actually allow the alcohol to enter your bloodstream faster. The high levels of sugar change the way your body breaks down sugar and can cause metabolic syndrome– a collection of symptoms that can put one at higher risk for developing type II diabetes. One study in 2002 found that excessive levels of sugar can actually decrease the amount of brain derived neurotrophic factor which helps produce new memories, so soft drinks could even make it harder for you to learn. Soft drinks are also very damaging to teeth. The high levels of sugar contribute to cavities. In addition, soda is very acidic with a level as low as 3.2. Low pH level can weaken the enamel of teeth and make cavities more likely to develop.
Soft drinks contain many ingredients that are not beneficial for health
Both diet and regular sodas also contain phosphates which helps them stay fresh longer. Phosphates are actually found in many processed foods, but recent studies have suggested that they may actually cause problems such as osteoporosis and aging.
Caffeine in sodas has its own negative effects. Caffeine can increase stomach acid production, leading to stomach discomfort. Carbonation in drinks can also irritate the digestive system and cause poor transit, leading to gas and stomach upset. Caffeine can also make people more alert and awake, which can be beneficial, but in some cases can make it difficult for people to get to sleep, even hours after consumption. Soft drinks are also dehydrating due to their concentrations of caffeine and sugar. In addition, the time that people spend drinking soft drinks they are not drinking from other more hydrating drinks such as water or milk.
There are many specific ingredients found in soft drinks that have negative consequences. There are also multiple studies that suggest that high soft drink consumption is associated with certain findings that do not yet have a clear pathophysiology. Some evidence suggests that sodas may be linked with kidney stones and kidney disease, though this exact reason this occurs is not well understood. One study showed that two or more diet sodas a day was associated with a 30% drop in renal function and in other places linked to proteinuria, an early sign of kidney dysfunction.
Soft drinks contain no healthy ingredients
The most disappointing thing about soft drinks is that other than the awakening effects of caffeine, there is no nutritional benefit to soda. Whereas other drinks like coffee, teas, or milk have nutritional positives and negatives, soft drinks contain no vitamins, minerals, or health-promoting factors. In general, the recommendations remain to try to consume soft drinks only sparingly because of all these things.