The components of your bones include calcium and phosphorus. Factors that decrease your body's ability to absorb calcium increase your risk for developing osteoporosis, a disease in which bones become brittle and break. Consumption of carbonated beverages, including club soda, contributes to that risk by decreasing overall calcium intake, the Care2 website warns. Club soda also contains sodium, which, when consumed at high levels, decreases your body's ability to absorb calcium.
The formation of healthy bones requires an adequate supply of calcium, the Mayo Clinic explains. Replacing calcium-rich beverage sources, such as milk, with non-calcium containing beverages, such as juices, sodas, and even unflavored club sodas, on a daily basis decreases your total daily calcium intake. The average healthy adult requires at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. A glass of milk provides about 30 percent of that requirement. Drinking three glasses a day, one at every meal, provides almost your entire daily requirement. Unfortunately, replacing milk with club soda, colas, or juice at even one meal, let alone all three, decreases your overall intake.
Carbonated beverages, particularly colas, were once thought to remove calcium from your bones due to their high levels of phosphorus. Yet colas contain only about 30 to 45 mg of phosphorus per 8-ounce serving, much less than other foods not correlated with bone loss, such as bran cereals and chicken, which contain about 200 to 300 mg per serving. Research published in 1988 in the "Journal of Nutrition" reports that a phosphorus intake of up to 2,000 mg per day does not adversely effect calcium metabolism, although the authors note that it is possible that the type of phosphorus contained in carbonated beverages may not behave in the same manner as the phosphorus found in complex dietary proteins, such as chicken.
If high levels of phosphorus in sodas caused a decrease in calcium absorption, club soda would still not be a problem, because it contains no phosphorus. Other beverages free of phosphorus include lemon-lime sodas, orange sodas, orange juice and grape juice. However, replacing calcium-rich milk with any of these beverages still decreases your overall calcium intake, Care2 warns.
While phosphorus may not contribute to overall calcium loss, caffeine consumption does. A 2001 study by the Creighton Osteoporosis Research Center, reported in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," concluded that urine calcium excretion rose significantly with caffeine-containing beverages. Phosphoric acid without caffeine produced no excess calcium loss, nor did it increase the calcium loss associated with caffeine intake. Club soda contains no phosphorus and no caffeine; therefore, any calcium loss associated with club soda consumption is not related to this issue.
Sodium has a significant impact on calcium absorption. A 2006 study published in the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" found that sodium chloride — ordinary table salt — elevates urinary calcium loss at levels that can lead to increased bone loss, boosting your risk for osteoporosis. Club soda contains about 75 mg of sodium per cup. Therefore, club soda may lead to some urinary calcium loss due to sodium. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as well as the Institute of Medicine and the American Heart Association, recommend your total sodium intake not exceed 1,500 to 2,300 mg a day. Most Americans, however, far exceed that amount. Cutting sodium intake, from sources such as club soda, helps retain more calcium and helps decrease your risk for osteoporosis.
- Care2: Osteoporosis and Diet Danger
- "The Journal of Nutrition"; Do Protein and Phosphorus Cause Calcium Loss?; Herta Spencer et al.; 1988
- "Journal of the American College of Nutrition"; Role of Dietary Sodium in Osteoporosis; Robert P. Heaney, M.D.; 2006
- Mayo Clinic: Osteoporosis Risk Factors
- BeWell: More on Soda and Your Bones
- "Journal of Adolescent Health"; Carbonated Beverages, and Dietary Calcium; G. Wyshak and R.E. Frisch; May 1994