Health Effects of Soda
A recent study published in the journal of General Dentistry suggests that drinking diet soda damages the teeth as badly as smoking crack or methamphetamine use. The study has been criticized because it involved only the findings on one individual in her 30s and compared her teeth to that of 51-year-old habitual crack cocaine user and a 29-year-old methamphetamine user. Plus, the women who drank 2 liters of diet soda a day for 3 to 5 years did not receive routine dental care for more than 20 years questioning the validity of the study. But, the study raises the question of the health effects of drinking soda – regular or diet.
The average American consumes 50 gallons of soft drinks a year. That’s a lot of carbonated water. Here’s what we know happens to the body from the consumption of soda.
Soft Drink Ingredients
Here’s what happens when drinking a regular Coke. Ten teaspoons of sugar which is 100% of your recommended daily intake are absorbed. Your blood sugar then spikes triggering an insulin response that turns a large of amount of that sugar into fat. Caffeine in the soft drink stimulates the liver to release more sugar into the blood stream. Sugar stimulates the release of dopamine (the “pleasure” neurotransmitter) much the same way that heroin does.The French centuries ago referred to sugar as “crack”.
Diet and regular soft drinks contain phosphoric acid that demineralizes bone and teeth leading to osteoporosis and tooth decay. Caffeine increases blood pressure, cause jitters, and insomnia. Aspartame an artificial sweetener found in diet soda has been linked to an array of neurologic disorders including brain tumors, seizure disorders, as well as diabetes and birth defects. And, then there is sugar. Some forms of sugar are metabolized in the liver much the same way as alcohol.
For a more detailed explanation of the harmful effects or sugar and how it is metabolized watch the following video by Robert Lustig, MD – author of Fat Chance.
Adverse Health Effects from Soda
Tooth decay from soda is related to phosphoric acid, and in the case of regular soft drinks – sugar. The mouth contains several bacteria tha feed on sugar and in the process produce chemicals that break down tooth enamel. Drinking with a straw is one way to limit the amount of soda that comes in contact with the teeth.
The insulin produced by soft drinks leads to obesity. Insulin is a fattening hormone. Though they do not contain sugar the sweetness of diet sodas can trigger an insulin response and studies show that diet soft drinkers gain weight, too. Fat produced by sodas accumulate around the liver and skeletal muscles raising the risk of diabetes as well.
Phosphoric acid when excessive (it is naturally found meat, dairy, and nuts) accelerates aging in laboratory rats. Excess phosphoric acid is damaging to the heart and kidneys contributing to premature aging.
Thought the risk seems small the carmel coloring used in colas contains contaminants found to cause cancer in animals. The contaminants are 2 methylimidazole and 4 methylimidazole.
Memory and Neurologic Disorders
Citrus based soft drinks contain brominated vegetable oil (BVO) which is used as a flame retardant in plastics. BVO is known to causes memory loss and other neurologic disorders.
Aluminum soda cans are lined with a resin called bisphenol A (BPA) which prevents the acids in the soft drink from breaking down the metal in the can. BPA is a hormonal disruptor possessing estrogen activity and is known to cause infertility and some reproductive cancers.
A regular or diet soda every now and then is nothing to worry about, but if you want exceptional health do not consume them on a regular basis.