Unless you have had your head buried in a Big Gulp you probably already know that there are a litany of reasons why soda is bad for you. It’s nothing but sugar water. It’s devoid of any nutritional value. It leads to obesity and diabetes. Here are things you might not know.
- Drinking non-diet soda leads to dramatic increases in fat buildup around your liver and your skeletal muscles, both of which can contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes. A Danish study revealed that people who drank a regular soda every day for six months saw a 132 to 142 percent
increase in liver fat, a 117 to 221 percent jump in skeletal fat, and about a 30 percent increase in both triglyceride blood fats and other organ fat. Their consumption also led to an 11 percent increase in cholesterol, compared with the people who drank other beverages such as water or milk.
- Even diet soda will pack on the pounds: Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center found that those who drank diet soda had a 70 percent increase in waist circumference over the 10-year study, compared with those who didn’t drink any soda. Those who drank more than two diet sodas per day saw a 500 percent waist expansion!
- Artificial caramel coloring used to make Coke, Pepsi, and other colas brown. The reason: Two contaminants in the coloring, 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, have been found to cause cancer in animals, a threat the group says is unnecessary, considering that the coloring is purely cosmetic. According to California’s strict Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer, just 16 micrograms per person per day of 4-methylimidazole is enough to pose a cancer threat, and most popular brown colas, both diet and regular, contain 200 micrograms per 20-ounce bottle.
- Diet or regular, all colas contain phosphates, or phosphoric acid, a weak acid that gives colas their tangy flavor and improves their shelf life. Although it exists in many whole foods, such as meat, dairy, and nuts, too much phosphoric acid can lead to heart and kidney problems, muscle loss, and osteoporosis, and one study suggests it could trigger accelerated aging. Excessive phosphate levels found in sodas caused lab rats to die a full five weeks earlier than the rats whose diets had more normal phosphate levels—a disturbing trend considering that soda manufacturers have been increasing the levels of phosphoric acid in their products over the past few decades.
- The artificial sweeteners are bad for the environment. The artificial sweeteners in diet sodas don’t break down in our bodies, nor do wastewater-treatment plants catch them before they enter waterways so they end up in rivers and lakes. A recent test of 19 municipal water supplies in the U.S. revealed the presence of sucralose in every one. It’s not clear yet what these low levels are doing to people, but past research has found that sucralose in rivers and lakes interferes with some organisms’ feeding habits.
- Mountain Dew contains an ingredient called brominated vegetable oil, ( BVO), added to prevent the flavoring from separating from the drink, is an industrial chemical used as a flame retardant in plastics. Also found in other citrus-based soft drinks and sports drinks, the chemical has been known to cause memory loss and nerve disorders when consumed in large quantities. Researchers also suspect that, like brominated flame retardants used in furniture foam, the chemical builds up in body fat, possibly causing behavioral problems, infertility, and lesions on heart muscles over time.
- It’s not just the soda that’s causing all the problems. Nearly all aluminum soda cans are lined with an epoxy resin called bisphenol A (BPA), used to keep the acids in soda from reacting with the metal. BPA is known to interfere with hormones, and has been linked to everything from infertility to obesity and diabetes and some forms of reproductive cancers.
- Yellow #5 is a common dye used to color soft drinks. Reactions to the consumption of this dye can include indigestion, anxiety, migraines, clinical depression, blurred vision, itching, general weakness, heat waves, feeling of suffocation, purple skin patches, and sleep disturbance. It has also been linked to childhood obsessive compulsive disorder and hyperactivity. Its use has been banned in Norway, Austria, and Germany.
- Carbonation is an irritant to the stomach. Our bodies pull calcium out of the bloodstream to cure this irritation. The blood must replenish its calcium supply, so it pulls calcium from the bones contributing again to osteoporosis.
- If you drink at least one soft drink every day, you could have more than a 50% higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome according to a study in the American Heart Association’s journal. Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions which includes lower metabolic rate and excess fat around the waist. Researchers found the risk was high whether you were drinking regular or diet soda.
- Have you heard dentists refer to “Mountain Dew mouth”? Drinking soda has a detrimental effect on our teeth. While the high sugar content of soda causes tooth decay, the acid in all soft drinks easily dissolves tooth enamel.
- Michael Pollan says if we are what we eat we are mostly corn. Take a look at the ingredients list for any soda and chances are most of those ingredients are derived from corn. As much as 88 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified to resist toxic pesticides or engineered to create pesticides within the plant itself. There are no human studies that can prove or disprove whether these crops are safe. Independent scientists have found that, in animals, genetically modified crops, or GMOs, are linked to digestive tract damage, accelerated aging, and even infertility. By drinking soda, you’re taking part in the biggest science experiment on the planet.
“Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.” Buddha
I want to acknowledge Rodale and their great article 9 Scary Facts About Soda from which I borrowed heavily.