The consumption of soft drinks was found to have increased dramatically over the past several decades with the greatest increase among children and adolescents. Excessive intake of soft drinks with high sugar and acid content both regular and diet could cause detrimental impacts on dental and general health including dental caries, dental erosion, overweight, obesity and increased risk of type 2 diabetes (1).
Effects Of Soft Drink Consumption on Health (2)
Share A Drink With Obesity
In an attempt to reduce overweight, obesity and dental caries among populations, diet soft drinks were introduced. Diet (alternatively marketed as sugar-free, zero-calorie or low-calorie) drinks are sugar-free, artificially sweetened versions of carbonated soft drinks with virtually no calories.
A 20-year study on 120,000 men and women found that people who increased their sugary drink consumption by one 12-ounce serving per day gained more weight over time—on average, an extra pound every 4 years—than people who did not change their intake (3).
A study of 33,097 individuals showed that among people with a genetic predisposition for obesity, those who drank sugary drinks were more likely to be obese than those who did not (4). This study is important because it suggests that genetic risk for obesity does not need to become a reality if healthy habits, like avoiding sugary drinks, are followed.
Alternatively, drinking water in place of sugary drinks or fruit juices is associated with lower long-term weight gain (5).
Two Fizzy Drinks A Day Doubles The Risk Of Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes has also emerged as a global public health concern, parallel to the global trends in the prevalence of obesity.
People who consume sugary drinks regularly—1 to 2 cans a day or more—have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks (6). Risks are even greater in young adults and Asians.
The Nurses’ Health Study explored this connection by following the health of more than 90,000 women for eight years. The nurses who said they had one or more servings a day of a sugar-sweetened soft drink or fruit punch were twice as likely to have developed type 2 diabetes during the study than those who rarely had these beverages (7).
The study also found that drinking more artificially sweetened beverages in place of sugary beverages did not appear to lessen diabetes risk. However, replacing one daily serving of a sugary beverage with water, coffee, or tea was linked with a 2–10% lower risk of diabetes.
Cola Is Your Ticket To Heart Disease
People who drink a lot of sugary drinks often tend to weigh more—and eat less healthfully—than people who don’t drink sugary drinks.
A study that followed 40,000 men for two decades found that those who averaged one can of a sugary beverage per day had a 20% higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart attack than men who rarely consumed sugary drinks (8)
A related study in women found a similar sugary beverage–heart disease link. The Nurses’ Health Study, which tracked the health of nearly 90,000 women over two decades, found that women who drank more than two servings of sugary beverage each day had a 40 percent higher risk of heart attacks or death from heart disease than women who rarely drank sugary beverages (9).
Will Soda Really Ruin My Teeth?
Regular and diet carbonated soft drinks can harm your teeth.
Your mouth contains bacteria that feed on sugar, producing chemicals that can break down the hard enamel of your teeth. A cavity forms when erosion of the enamel exposes the soft, inner core of your tooth. When you drink sweetened, carbonated soda, the sugar remains in your mouth, promoting the processes that lead to tooth decay.
The acid in these carbonated drinks further increase the likelihood of developing cavities, because these chemicals also slowly erode the enamel of your teeth (10).
Getting enough calcium is extremely important during childhood and adolescence, when bones are being built. Soft drinks are generally devoid of calcium and other healthful nutrients, yet they are actively marketed to young age groups.
Soda contains high levels of phosphate.Consuming more phosphate than calcium can have a deleterious effect on bone health (11).
There is an inverse pattern between soft drink consumption and milk consumption – when one goes up, the other goes down (12)
If you are a woman, consumption of cola-type, carbonated drinks may reduce your bone strength.
In an October 2006 article published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” report that women who consume regular and diet cola tend to have weaker hipbones compared to those who do not drink these beverages (13).
After adjusting for major diet and lifestyle factors, the researchers found that the more sugary beverages a person drank, the more their risk of early death from any cause increased.
Compared with drinking sugary beverages less than once per month, drinking one to four per month was linked with a 1% increased risk; two to six per week with a 6% increase; one to two per day with a 14% increase; and two or more per day with a 21% increase. The increased early death risk linked with sugary drink consumption was more apparent among women than among men (2).
According to a large, long-term study of 37,716 men and 80,647 women in the U.S., the more sugary beverages people drink, the greater their risk of premature death — particularly from cardiovascular disease, and to a lesser extent from cancer (14).
Drinking sugary drinks and soda raises risk for Asthma.
Lung disease can now be added to the list of poor health outcomes, after obesity and heart disease, associated with sugar-sweetened beverages (15).
Participants who drank at least half a liter of soda per day were more than twice as likely to develop asthma or Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than those who consumed no soft drinks at all (odds ratio= 95%),University of Adelaide (16).
Consumption of aerated drinks can be minimized with a little effort. Switching to ice tea, lemonade or filtered tap water as your beverage of choice would be harmless and would also generate less garbage. Exercising and drinking more water not only kills the cravings for sugar but also flushes out the toxins from your body.