The consumption of sugary drinks has rapidly increased over the years to the point that half of all Americans drink soda on any given day. One in four soda drinkers consume 200 calories from soda daily, while 5 percent drink upwards of 500 calories. While you should stay away from excess calories, especially in the form of beverages, that’s not the only damage soda can do to your body.
It may come as no surprise that drinking soda contributes to weight gain. Soda is high in sugar and calories and offers no nutrients that keep you full or promote good health. Drinking soda regularly can easily put you over your allotted calories for the day. According to a study published in “Policy Brief” in 2009, adults who drink soda occasionally are 15 percent more likely to be overweight or obese, while adults who drink one or more sodas every day are 27 percent more likely to be overweight or obese than adults who don’t drink soda,
In addition to causing weight gain, soda is associated with an increase in the risk of developing type-2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a general term for a group of factors that increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. These include high triglycerides, low high-density lipoprotein levels, high blood pressure, high fasting blood sugar and a large waistline. According to a meta-analysis published in “Diabetes Care” in 2010, individuals who drank one to two servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per day were 26 percent more likely to develop type-2 diabetes than those who drank less than one serving per month.
Regularly drinking soda may decrease bone mineral density and increase your risk of osteoporosis. Soda contains phosphoric acid -- a flavoring agent associated with negative effects on bone. Dr. Thomas Weber, an osteoporosis specialist at Duke University, hypothesizes that the increased acid load from regular soda intake may be more than the kidneys can handle. As a result, the body looks for buffers -- like calcium -- to neutralize the acid. Some of this calcium may be pulled from your bones, weakening their structure and increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Another theory is that of displacement, which claims that drinking soda regularly leaves less room for drinking healthful, calcium- and vitamin D-rich beverages like milk.
Soda is one of the most significant dietary contributors to tooth decay, according to the Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center. The phosphoric acid in soda can soften the enamel on your teeth, increasing your risk of tooth decay and cavities. The sugar in soda also serves as a feeding ground for the bacteria naturally found in your mouth. When bacteria feed on sugar, they create acids that can damage the structure of teeth.
- Harvard School of Public Health: Soft Drinks and Disease
- Diabetes Care: Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes
- American Journal of Public Health: Effects of Soft Drink Consumption on Nutrition and Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Colas, but not Other Carbonated Beverages, Are Associated With Low Bone Mineral Density in Older Women: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study.
- Duke Health: Diet Soda: Too Good to Be True?
- Policy Brief: Bubbling Over: Soda Consumption and Its Link to Obesity in California
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: What Is Metabolic Syndrome?
- Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center: Soda or Pop? It's Teeth Trouble by Any Name
- Nutrition and You; Joan Salge Blake
- Harvard School of Public Health: Sugary Drinks and Obesity Fact Sheet