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Why is Soda Bad for You? Here's Help for Soda Addicts

Updated on January 29, 2018
Chin chin profile image

My name is Chin chin. I have a BS degree in food technology. I like to share important information about health and food-related topics.


For many years, people have patronized soda and carbonated drinks. In fact, some types and flavors have come and gone as companies developed different products to compete for a market share and to suit the taste preference of the buyers.

History tells us that carbonated drinks started when an English clergyman called Joseph Priestly invented the first soda water. He came up with the process of incorporating carbon dioxide to drinking water in 1767. Adding flavors to soda water began in the 19th century when folks started putting birch bark and fruit flavors. Pharmacists added in herbs along with other ingredients and billed the carbonated water as healthy.

There are various myths and misconceptions concerning the effect of soda and carbonated drinks on health and wellbeing. Oftentimes, these hearsays seem to be fine. Mostly, however, they are not.

In this hub, we will examine the myths and the health facts associated with soft drinks, diet soda and other carbonated drinks. Hopefully, it will alter the way you look at soft drinks and what you take into your system. We will end with a couple of tips to give up the soda habit and substitute products that are really healthy for you.

Different carbonated drinks that were developed by companies. Have you tried any of these?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bacon soda (Image by Monica) is a little sweet carbonated drink that tastes like bacon.Cream soda is a sweet carbonated soft drink with vanilla.Surge is a citrus-flavored soda like Mountain Dew.TaB soda is a diet cola soft drink manufactured by Coca Cola. This one is from the early 1990s.
Bacon soda (Image by Monica) is a little sweet carbonated drink that tastes like bacon.
Bacon soda (Image by Monica) is a little sweet carbonated drink that tastes like bacon. | Source
Cream soda is a sweet carbonated soft drink with vanilla.
Cream soda is a sweet carbonated soft drink with vanilla. | Source
Surge is a citrus-flavored soda like Mountain Dew.
Surge is a citrus-flavored soda like Mountain Dew. | Source
TaB soda is a diet cola soft drink manufactured by Coca Cola. This one is from the early 1990s.
TaB soda is a diet cola soft drink manufactured by Coca Cola. This one is from the early 1990s. | Source

The Effects of Soda on Your Health

Sodas contain a number of ingredients including artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, water, sugar and caffeine. First off, let's look at how sugar from sodas can affect our health. Then, we'll also look at caffeine.

1. Increased Obesity Rate

One soda per day contributes approximately 150 calories to a person's daily calorie intake. That is 54,750 calories every year, which adds up to a massive 15.64 pounds. Look at how fast you can gain weight when you drink more than 1 can of soda each day.

Obesity used to be just a problem that is common in adults, but not anymore. There are 90 studies that link drinking sweetened beverages, including soft drinks, to the increasing weight problem in children, states WebMD. When kids drink such beverages, they don't feel full and still eat what they normally eat or even more.

2. Increased Risk for Diabetes

Most kids that have a weight problem are also presented with another problem -- prediabetic risk factors. How is that? When the sugar in soda brings about a spike in blood glucose levels, the body gets a signal from the pancreas to produce insulin and stimulate the body cells to absorb glucose. After the cells absorb the glucose, there will be a remarkable drop in energy and blood sugar levels. Therefore, you crave for something sweet, something which your body could break down immediately to give you an instant power source.

When you take in something sweet or starchy such as potato chips, the process starts again. If you aren't burning the sugars as quickly as your cells are getting them in, they begin to disregard the signals sent from your pancreas. You become insulin resistant and your body stores the sugar as fat and you become diabetic.

The FDA recommends a maximum of 10 teaspoons of sugar every day. One can of soft drink includes all the sugar you ought to have in one day. If you consume anything else with sugar in one day where you drink a soda, you are going over the recommended daily allowance. No wonder, more people are developing diabetes and other diseases associated with high intake of sugar, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and mental decline.

3. Loss of Bone Density

Drinking soft drinks has been linked to the risk of losing bone density as well. Osteoporosis is a disease which leads to substantial bone loss and fragile bones. The spine and hips seem to be notably fragile which could cause incapacitating fractures.

The fact is, there is a really solid connection between soda pop drinkers and the risk of osteoporosis. The typical woman after the age of 40 loses 2 to 5 percent of their bone density every year. Drinking soda adds another 4 percent onto that number. So, women could lose as much as 9 percent of their bone density every year. This can also happen to men, but not as much because of testosterone's effect.

How do soft drinks bring about bone loss?

The answer is not very clear. It used to be thought that the carbonation in some way depleted the bone tissue. Nevertheless, research with carbonated water have not proven bone loss. It is when people drink sodas such as Coke and Pepsi that they encounter a substantial bone loss.

Medical doctors and researchers are not precisely certain why bone loss comes about with soda. One explanation is the swapping of healthy drinks with soft drinks. So, rather than drinking milk, which contains the calcium and vitamin D that the body needs for stronger bones, people take in a soda.

Caffeine appears to be involved in bone depletion along with phosphorus which is present in a lot of soda pops. Both caffeinated and non-caffeinated drinks do bring about bone loss, however, those with caffeine apparently result in more problems.

4. Tooth Decay

There is also substantial research that connect having sugary soda pops with tooth decay. Not only is soda acidic which destroys the teeth enamel, the sugar from the soda also stays in your mouth and attracts germs and tooth decay. Individuals who drink soft drinks usually have an increased prevalence of cavities.

5. Problem with Kidney Stones

In 2013, the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology performed a research that concluded that drinking sodas was linked to a 23% higher risk of acquiring kidney stones. Kidney stones are more than an agonizing occurrence that necessitates surgical treatment. They can result in chronic bladder infections.

6. Benzene Poisoning and Cancer

When the FDA got samples of 26 soft drinks they identified that most of them contained benzene levels which were greater than what the FDA allows. Benzene is a known carcinogen, it triggers cancer. In spite of the high levels, the FDA considered the sodas to be safe.

How to Beat Your Soda Habit

For millions of people, drinking soda and carbonated drinks is a lifestyle. A Coke can replace the milk or coffee at breakfast for somebody who does not drink milk or coffee. A diet coke goes normally with your lunch. And if you do not drink alcoholic beverages, there is very little to drink in a bar when you go out at night with friends.

There are many men and women who simply do not like drinking water. What happens is that their taste buds end up sensitized to sugar. People love sugar. It is in our DNA to like sweet. So, modifying your soda habit could be challenging.

Here are a few different techniques you can consider using. The first is to wean yourself from drinking soda.

A Moderate Solution to Giving up Soda

How much soda pop do you drink every day? One, two, five? Monitor the soda that you consume everyday and set a goal to stop.

Cut back by one soda at a time and substitute it with unflavored and unsweetened carbonated water, plain water, unsweetened coffee or unsweetened tea. Never replace the soda with another diet or sweetened drink.

The objective is to get your taste buds to like water. As soon as you do away with soda from your everyday life, when you taste it once again it will taste odd to you.

Let’s see an example of somebody who consumes 3 sodas each day and his weekly schedule on quitting soda.

Make Your Own Carbonated Water at Home

SodaStream Jet Sparkling Water Maker Starter Kit, Black and Silver
SodaStream Jet Sparkling Water Maker Starter Kit, Black and Silver

With the SodaStream soda maker, you can make your own carbonated or sparkling water at home. You can concoct your own carbonated beverage that is healthier because you can adjust the flavor and sweetness to suit your taste preference. This gadget is not battery or electricity-operated, so you can save power and make carbonated water any time anywhere.


Weekly Schedule on Quitting Soda

To Do
Cut back by one soda
. If you typically drink 3 sodas everyday, cut back to 2 sodas this week. Substitute 1 soda with plain water or plain carbonated water, unsweetened coffee or tea.
Cut back by one more soda
You are just drinking 1 soda per day this week. You may feel a little bit of withdrawal as your body gets used to to less sugar and caffeine. Just as before, replace the soft drink with plain or carbonated water. Coffee or tea can help with the caffeine
Cut back by one soda if you can or a half soda
You can have 6 oz of soda or nothing if you can. Be sure that you are having plenty of water, carbonated or even plain
4 and on
No more soft drinks
Having occasional soda as a treat is all right so long as it does not happen frequently.

This video gives additional suggestions for giving up soda

The Cold Turkey Approach

If you're up to it, another solution is to stop drinking soft drinks completely beginning day one. No more soda, sweetened beverages or even diet soda. This tends to unquestionably cause you a couple of days of headache and lethargy. If soda has become a part of your way of life for a while, then you will feel a bit of withdrawal.

Caffeine withdrawal could be managed with coffee. Sugar withdrawal might cause you to desire other sweets. Do not give into it. It is going to pass and you will emerge much healthier. You will have more vitality and you will feel the satisfaction of being free from your addiction to sugar.

If the bubbles and fizz are hard to overcome, sparkling water is a good replacement for soda. You may get the satisfaction of opening up a can or a bottle, seeing and hearing the fizz, and sensing the bubbles in your throat. It is a good way for some to deal with the loss of soda from their eating and drinking habit.

The Bottom Line

Consuming carbonated drinks that are sweetened or flavored with artificial flavorings and sweeteners is not good for your health in the long run. Both diet and sugary sodas bring about weight gain and diabetes and may even cause cancer, osteoporosis and kidney stones.

There are other beverages you can drink up and plain water is the best.Taking soda and sugary drinks out of your life is a good idea. Your overall health and well-being are very important.

© 2015 Chin chin


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    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      2 years ago from USA

      I gave up sodas cold turkey. It wasn't as hard as I imagined even though I used to drink 4-6 sodas a day. It's been almost 2 years. I do miss them, however, especially in the summer.

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      I agree chefsref. I read in WebMD that some sodas have phosphoric acid in them that contributes to osteoporosis and tooth decay. That's why non-cola sodas (Sprite or MDew) are recommended for those who really can't give up the soda, because they cause less harm. Of course, the best is to really keep sodas at bay.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

    • chefsref profile image

      Lee Raynor 

      4 years ago from Citra Florida

      Hey Chin Chin

      Good Hub!

      I think it is the phosphoric acid in some sodas that cause bone loss, PA is commonly used in delimers to dissolve calcium.

      I was surprised when y dentist said I had to give up diet sodas. It's not just the sugar that causes tooth decay but the acid also dissolves your teeth.


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