A freshly dispensed Coca-Cola soft drink sits upon a soda fountain in Temple, Texas. The sign reads "Refills 65¢"
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There are many good reasons why people shouldn't drink soda. Yet, despite the growing evidence that supports soda is not really the ideal beverage for human consumption, everywhere you turn there are vending machines, soda fountains, menus and grocery stores filled with different brands, flavors and varieties of soda. Not to mention, these servings often come super-sized. A "large", or even "medium", soft drink in fast food meals looks like it is the same amount in a bottle that can be purchased at the grocery!

Currently, the soda industry is surviving and, even though there is competition and a higher awareness of the adverse health effects, the stuff still sells (although sales are slowing in recent years). Each day thousands to millions of people drink soda and is likely still the beverage of choice for many.

Why Do People Still Drink Soda?

Granted, most things are OK in moderation, but it has long been said by many in the medical community that drinking soda on a daily basis can cause health problems over the long-term. Despite this increased awareness, why is it that people neglect to consider the side effects that come with drinking soda?

Is it perhaps that public awareness hasn't been accomplished after all? Or is it brilliant marketing tactics developed by the soft drink companies trump any awareness that has been made? Although, it seems the former is bypassing the latter. In Dec. 2013, it reports showed the industry's sales had slowed, most in particular, diet soda. [1]

Those still drinking it may suffer some of the adverse effects from too much consumption. If this is you, before picking up that can or bottle of pop, you might want to consider some of the problems and negative effects of soda before drinking it.

Obesity and Too Much Sugar

Sugar is one of the biggest issues associated with soda. The beverage is loaded with sugar with each 12-ounce serving containing about eight teaspoons. According to the Associated Press (via NBC News) , a statement by Rachel K. Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont, indicates that even one serving of soda exceeds the daily amount of recommended sugar intake for women. [2] Other potential adverse health effects include increase risk of heart attack. Additionally, there are harmful preservatives and/or carcinogens included in the recipes of some brands.

Drinking large amounts of soda equates to empty calories and can lead to weight gain, which can ultimately affect the body's metabolism. All of that excess sugar has no nutritional value and does not offer the body any benefits. There are alternative sweets that are worth consideration.

Most people today realize the adverse effects of too much sugar, so what did the soda companies do? They came up with a new solution, diet soda.

Soda
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Problems With Diet Soda

On the surface, diet soda sounds wonderful, but it is really any better for you than regular soda? Web MD reports a 2005 study conducted by the University of Texas Health Science Center, supports the theory that even diet soda does not eliminate the obesity factor. [3] In fact, their study concluded that there was a 41 percent increase for overweight risk through daily consumption of diet soft drinks. They do not say diet soda causes obesity, but does increase the risk for excess weight gain. Much like the sugary stuff, other studies suggest these diet drinks can also increase risk of heart attack and stroke.

Another issue with diet soda is the body cannot process artificial sweeteners as well as it can sugar. So while diet soda reduces sugar consumption, if diet soda intake is excessive the substitute sweeteners can bring on other potential adverse effects that regular soda does not. Additionally, in 2014, the Reno Gazette-Journal pointed to a University of Minnesota Study that found just one diet soda a day was associated with a 36 percent increase of metabolic syndrome and diabetes. [9]

Information published in October 2016 further suggested diet soda is not all it's cracked up to be. Researchers from Purdue University examined five years of studies that focused on the health effects of diet soda and concluded the "fake" sugar confuses the body, so when it does consume the real thing, it doesn't know what to do with it and fails to release the hormones that regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. The report's authors said that those who drink diet soda tend to gain more weight than those who do not. There is some dispute, and more studies are needed, however, some experts are now saying to treat diet soda like any other treat - not an everyday thing. [10], [11]

Artificial sweeteners are allowable per FDA approval in the United States, but large quantities of diet soda are going to exceed the level of amounts deemed acceptable by the FDA. This build up of chemicals in the body may contribute to future health problems if the drinking of diet soft drinks exceeds moderation.

Depletion of Calcium

There have been claims that soda and other carbonated soft drinks are a contributing factor in bone density loss. The reason cited for this side effect is due to the high phosphorus levels contained in some bubbly beverages.

According to Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno ND, "When phosphate levels are high and calcium levels are low, calcium is pulled out of the bones". [4] This loss of calcium could eventually lead to a significant drop in bone density, and/or contribute to being afflicted with osteoporosis. This calcium loss could also create dental issues.

Dental Problems

The dental issues caused by too much sugar are obvious because of the decay factor when sticky substances such as soda sit on the teeth too long; this leads to cavities and other issues.  Experts say the sugars quickly attach to bacteria already on the teeth and this leads to various types of dental problems.

Additionally, the high phosphorus levels can also be a contributor to tooth loss, gingivitis and periodontal disease. Every time a serving of soda is consumed, this adds to significant amounts of sugar the teeth are exposed to and can be a contributor to these kinds of dental problems.

Another problem associated with soda are the acid levels. In a 2014 study published in the Journal of Dentistry, it was  found children who drank soda or other sugary drinks were at higher risk of dental problems. Researchers said findings showed permanent damage to the tooth enamel began immediately -- within 30 seconds of high acidity. [8]

Addiction

Many sodas contain caffeine and, as a result, can become addictive (I can attest to this one from years ago before I kicked the soda habit). This is a problem for anyone, but perhaps particularly children. Not only the caffeine, but sugar too. Dropping soda from the diet eliminates what could become a lifelong unhealthy habit that is hard to break.

Tooth decay and absess
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No Nutritional Value

If the health adverse side effects aren't enough to convince you, perhaps the fact soda, diet or regular, has absolutely no nutritional value to the human body may be enough to strike a chord. Its high caloric content provides no benefit whatsoever. Large quantities consumed often takes the place of water or other nutritious options because people fill up on the empty calories. This could lead to not getting enough nutrients or the right balance of hydration flowing through the body.

Additionally, don't be fooled by fruity soft drinks because those fruits are non-existent for the most part. If there is any real fruit in the ingredients, it is so miniscule there is no nutritional benefit. Is the excess sugar in soda really worth the calories? Or in the case of diet versions, the empty non-calories?

The reasons not to drink soda far outweigh the reasons to do so. This is not to say an occasional soft drink will harm you, but those who indulge in frequent drinking are likely going to suffer one or more of the adverse effects from consuming it.

Supermarket soda shelves
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