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What Are the Negative Effects of Soft Drinks?

author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
What Are the Negative Effects of Soft Drinks?
friends drinking sodas

Soft drink consumption is a growing health concern. If you are a habitual soda drinker, consider that one 32-ounce soda contains about 26 teaspoons of sugar, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The excess calories and sugar that soft drinks contain are linked to a number of adverse health effects. Try replacing sodas with healthier options such as flavored water, soy milk and herbal tea.

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Linked to Fatty Liver

Researchers at the Ziv Medical Center in Israel set out to determine the role of soft drink consumption in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, which occurs when fat builds up in the liver. The team found that 80 percent of people with NAFLD who were free of other risk factors consumed excess soft drinks. The team asserted that soft drink consumption was the only independent variable able to predict fatty liver presence in 82.5 percent of cases. The study was published in the October 2008 issue of the "Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology."

Linked to Weight Gain

Yale University researchers analyzed 88 studies to determine the health effects of soft drink consumption. The team found evidence that soft drink consumption led to excess energy intake not just from providing extra calories but also through appetite stimulation. The researchers hypothesize that the rapid rise in blood sugar that soft drinks cause stimulates hunger. The team found a direct link to soft drink consumption and weight gain. The review was published in the April 2007 edition of the "American Journal of Public Health."

Diet Drinks Aren't the Answer

If you're considering switching to diet soft drinks, you may want to think again. Diet soda intake is linked to adverse health effects, according to University of Texas researchers. The team found that consuming as little as one diet soda daily is linked to a 36-percent greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome and a 67 percent increased risk for Type 2 diabetes. The results from the study are published in the April 2009 issue of the journal "Diabetes Care."

Choose Healthier Drinks

It's better to decrease your soft drink intake and increase the amount of water you consume on a daily basis. Try carrying a refillable water bottle with you so that you have something to drink when thirst hits. If you need a hint of flavor, try adding slices of fruit to your water to infuse it with flavor. Watermelon, lemon, lime and peach are good options. You can even add a splash of 100 percent fruit juice to sparkling water for a refreshing boost in flavor.

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