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Why Drinking Soda is Bad for You

Updated on June 27, 2011

Carbonated Soft Drink

Soft drinks may taste great, but you'll find that no matter what brand you prefer, whether it be Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sprite, Dr. Pepper, Root Beer, or Fanta, they'll tell you that the drink is not a good source of fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, or iron. When you drink a soda, is solely for its good taste.

There are many reasons why soda is not good for you, but remember that moderation will always be the key. If you can find them, instead of buying the regular cans, buy the small, half-sized cans of soda. You'll consume less sugars, caffeine, and carbonation. This doesn't mean that the drink will be better or give you the excuse to drink more of the small cans, it just means you'll consume less of the bad stuff.

First off, think about the ingredients.

  • Carbonated water (plain water infused with carbon dioxide
  • Caramel color (natural additive to create color)
  • Natural flavors (often citrus flavors for added taste)
  • Caffeine (diuretic and stimulate that can be addictive)
  • Phosphoric acid (chemical that adds tangy or sour flavor by breaking down starch to sugar)
  • High-fructose corn syrup (no nutrition, lots of calories)

In a normal diet, you want to ingest as little sugars as possible, which is something that you're not going to achieve by drinking a soda or two a day.

It's the Sugar

Because soft drinks contain no nutritional value, there's no health reason to drink them, but there are many health reasons that one should drink a soft drink. All sodas contain caffeine, Carbonation, and sugars (or sugar substitutes) that be very harmful to your health.

Studies show that soft drinks can lead to tooth decay, nutritional depletion, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. These are the most common health problems that are associated with heavy soft drink consumption, especially in children.

Soft drinks are packed with sugar, which is one of the main reason they are so bad for you. It's recommended that you only have 10 teaspoons of sugars per 2,000 calories on a daily basis, but one soft drink contains more than the allotted 10 teaspoons.

When this much sugar is consumed, your pancreas will produce and release more insulin, which will empty the sugar in your bloodstream and dump it into your tissues and cells for energy. This will raise your insulin levels, which can lead to your immune system weakening, causing you to be more susceptible to disease.

Because the sugar is being dumped into your tissues and cells, the excess that your body isn't able to burn up ends up being stored as fat, which causes weight gain. The weight gain increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Studies show that there is an increased risk of breast cancer in rats when they consumed a high-sugar diet. Although, the human body is a little different than a rat's, it is something to keep in mind if you have breast cancer in your medical history.

It's the Carbonation

The carbonation and phospophic acid can decrease your blood calcium levels. Because calcium is important to have healthy bones and muscles, you'll find that with less calcium in the body, your bone mass and density will suffer. Soda and carbonated drinks will increase your risk of osteoporosis.

Broken bones and bone fractures are also common when you have lowered bone density. The more fragile your bones are, the higher your chance of an injury.

It's the Caffeine

Caffeinated beverages can be worse than all. First off, caffeine is a diuretic which can cause you to become dehydrated if you're not careful; your kidneys will work harder to push out the extra liquid in your body, which is slowly drying out your body.

Caffeine can also decrease the calcium in your body, as well as stimulate your central nervous system, causing stress, a racing mind, insomnia, and the jitters.

Caffeine is very addictive, so when you drink more, you generally crave more over time. The more caffeine you consume the more potential health problems you'll encounter.

Diet Soda is Bad for You

Most people grab the case of diet soda because they think that it's better for their health and diet than a regular soda, but in reality, sugar-free beverages are definitely not better for you. And, it's not really going to help you with your weight loss like you'd hope. The artificial sweeteners that are added will actually hinder your dieting.

Because most diet sodas are non-calorie drinks, this basically tricks your judgement for calorie intake, and because you think that you're drinking something that's better for you than the alternative (regular soda), you're subconscious tells you it's ok to eat more.

No matter if you drink a regular or a diet soda, you'll find that drinking one or more a day will cause a 30% increased chance of gaining weight around the midsection than if you opted for water or another beverage.

The artificial sweeteners that diet soft drinks have can be dangerous to your health. Generally, aspartame, sucralose, and/or saccharin are used in sodas.

Aspartame (nutrasweet) is a chemical that stimulates the brain to think the drink is sweet, which actually causes more food cravings, which can lead to loading up on carbs. Aspartame breaks down into aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol when it's at 86F, and it's even been linked to obesity.

Studies have shown that saccharin acts like a carcinogen, and have even been found to cause bladder cancer in rats.

Healthy Alternatives

  • Fresh water- Water will help your body perform regular, daily functions. If you want a little flavor in your water, you can add a little basil, mint leaves, or a drop of honey. Just remember that if you are filling your glass up from the tap, you'll want to make sure that you have some kind of filtration system so that you can filter out the contaminants and unhealthy substances.

  • Fruit Juice- Fruit juice contains a good bit of sugar when compared to water, but it contains so much less than soft drinks. Plus, you can buy all natural juice instead of concentrate. You'll be drinking something that is not only good for you but tastes good.
  • Tea- Whether you like black tea, green, white, or oolong teas, you'll find that in general tea contains antioxidants that are good for you. Although, herbal teas do not have the same antioxidant properties, they're still a better choice than sodas, and create a nice calming and relaxing state. You can add a little cinnamon or honey to your tea if you want to sweeten it a little bit.


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    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 4 years ago from Virginia

      Great advice and supportive facts behind it. Pinned.

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

      I agree although there are some proven health benefits to drinking coffee because of the caffeine . I never drink soda because of the reasons you have shared. Thanks for taking the time to research and share.

    • profile image

      Daniel Wahl 6 years ago

      This is my story..... I drink 3 bottles of mountain dew a day, and one or two energy drinks. I eat whatever I want whenever I want. I eat at fast food a lot, and I usually order two large burgers.... That said, I'm 16, 5'7, and weigh 127 pounds... I start half back for our football team, i run the 100, 200, and 400 meter dash in track.. I ride bulls, and can drain threes in basketball (I hate bball though so I don't play).. Im not much of a distance runner, but my time in the mile is 6:23, I can do 68 pushups in a minute, and can bench more than my weight... And I do all this while eating and drinking everything that the "health" ppeople don't.. Sooo go figure.........

    • profile image

      Courtney 6 years ago

      I know most of the symptoms that can happen to you you when you have to much soda like dyhdration and hear dieses

    • profile image

      shreya uppal 6 years ago

      thanks now i have some information on my report thanks

    • profile image

      Lola 6 years ago

      Sprite now has added 30+ grams of sugar.. i been finding 20 oz of Sprite with over 60+ grams of sugar... it just been recent I started noticing how sprite has more sugar added than mt. dew which today I looked at and only has 31 grams of sugar... WHAT HAPPEN TO SPRITE ???? Why did they go up in sugar... this sickness in peoples head about adding more sugar is really disturbing.

    • FrugalandFab profile image

      FrugalandFab 6 years ago from New Hampshire

      Wonderful hub! As you have clearly pointed out there is NOTHING good that can come from drinking soda. It makes me cringe when I see people reaching for a soda instead of some good old fashion water. Would you like to know what doesn't make me cringe though? Watching my kids cringe when they see other people drink soda. Thanks for writing this I hope many more read it. Voted up!

    • profile image

      Soda guy 6 years ago

      One can of soda a day isn't bad for you. Yes it has alot of sugar but if u drink it slowly it's a good source of energy without the crash. Also the difference between honey and high fructose corn syrup is nothing. I drink a sprite with my dinner almost every night. Fructose is stored in the liver for energy later and glucose is for immediate energy. Sprite has less sugar than most drinks. Has citric acid which is an organic acid so it's easily neutralized by your body. Actually apple juice is worse for you than soda if you look at the science of it

    • profile image

      pig pig 6 years ago

      i smokeand don't know what is wrong with me i think when i eat it takes away my problems i am fat

    • profile image

      butthead 6 years ago

      i hate soda

    • profile image

      Thomas Kimbrell 6 years ago

      I cut out sodas over three months ago and I lost some 20 to 25 pounds. My waist size went down 5" to where I have to buy new cloths. I eat slower and more healthy. I feel better that the weight is gone. Cutting sodas out of my diet is one of the best things I had ever done.

    • GinaCPocan profile image

      GinaCPocan 6 years ago from Chicago

      I have already known Pop was bad for you, but I seen things in this article I didn't know before but supports my decision to refrain from it as much as possible. I rarely have soda these days. I tend to choose water over pop. I already have enough health issues and bad habits, I really don't need any more.

      Thanks for the article.

    • profile image

      Candace 6 years ago

      I have been drinking soda for over 30 years. It is usually Pepsi, unless a restaurant does not have Pepsi, then I have a coke. I start out first thing in the morning opening a can of Pepsi and I drink anywhere from 6 to 8 Pepsi a day. I know I am addicted to the soda, because I have actually tried to quit drinking it, and drinking water. I became sick at my stomach and a bad headache after only one day. I do not smoke or drink, but I believe soda to be some sort of drug also, which can grab you and place you in its web. My family all say That the Pepsi is going to kill me someday. But I have continued to drink the Pepsi anyway. I am some what over weight due to the Pepsi I am sure, especially in my stomach area. I would not call me obese but somewhat over weight. I would rather drink a Pepsi then eating. In fact I eat really not much food, but receive all of my calories from Pepsi.I would really like to stop drinking soda and more water. I have ended up in the hospital several times due to being dehydrated,well i must be a dummy, living in Arizona where summers can reach in the tribal digests.Even after ending up in the emergency room after drinking soda and no water, I have always gone back to my soda. It sounds terrible I know, but Pepsi is my drug of choice. Is there anyone who has any ideas of how I can quite the soda and stay off from it.

    • profile image

      Chris 6 years ago

      All parents should read this article to their kids

    • profile image

      Jons 6 years ago

      Hubpages, what you are saying about sodas are true. But it's kinda tricky. Everything is consumed by moderation. Coffee contains caffeine, so does that mean we should not drink coffee? Yes, it can increase your excretion of calcium but caffeine helps in keeping you alert and alive for the day right? Also, the sugars that are used are artificial sweeteners. So for example 1 tsp of aspartame = 90 times sweeter that a regular sugar, so your using 1 tsp of sugar for lets say about 90 g of sugar. There are still no reliable researches about artificial sweeteners cause some are biased.

      Everything in excess causes illness.

      Even water when taken more than the needed. You can get edema and your electrolytes get diluted.

      Tea also contains caffeine and yet you tell them to substitute it for the soda

    • profile image

      josellyjs 6 years ago

      I drink a can of soda daily and I like all sodas but Mountain Dew and Sierra Mist. I do know however that it is bad for me and I really do try stopping and sometimes I go a few days and maybe a week if I'm lucky but I always have that need to drink it. I'm not fat, and I have all my teeth and never got a cavity in my life but I don't want to risk health problems. I just wish there were an easier way to stop because it's such an addiction now.

    • jamterrell profile image

      jamterrell 6 years ago

      Now I know how drinking soda can harm us, I'll refrain myself from doing so.

    • profile image

      Kal Martin 7 years ago

      caffeine has been shown to help prevent parkinson's disease and alzeihmers. it stimulates your muscles and your brain in positive ways. it does dehydrate you but that can be made up for by drinking water. coffee is also healthy in that it has been shown to prevent diabetes and is natural-at least the organic brands are. however it is also highly acidic. I start my day with a single cup of coffee and two glasses of ice water, followed by thirty minutes of moderate-to-intense exercise. breakfast is two eggs with a glass of natural farmers milk. a morning snack is three celery sticks with peanut butter and another glass of ice water. lunch is a turkey sandwich on wheat bread, more water, and a cheat desert whether it be a cookie or a soda or a scoop of ice cream. this keeps junk food cravings away so i dont eat it as much and keeps me motivated for my workout the next day. dinner is roast chicken breast with rice, and a single egg before i sleep to keep my metabolism running overnight. im 56 years old, and still have the same six pack that was there when i was in high school. my advice? practice a little discipline. its the reason i'll be playing sports with my grandkids for years to come.

    • profile image

      Viktoriya Schooley 7 years ago

      I am originally from Ukraine, and in my family we stay away from any kind of soda. I drink tea with honey, water and juice sometimes. And feel great. But my mother-in-law addicted to Dr. Pepper, and she gives it to my 18 month old baby behind my back. What do I do?

    • profile image

      Danny 7 years ago i drink soda everyday and like after awhile i start to crash. So like I have no idea what's wrong.

    • profile image

      vanessa 7 years ago

      yea I completely stopped drinking soda. i never really drank it in the first place but when i stopped it completely, i lost a few pounds and its easy to keep any weight off. My husband drinks soda everyday. and has as a kid. he deffintly is not fat. he's very thin. never broke a bone in his life, but when he doesn't drink soda he gets a headache and he's had a few cavities. stupid soda. when i have kids. they wont even know what soda is HAHa. i don't want them drinking it

    • profile image

      Tonya 7 years ago

      Haven't drank soda in 2 years! (had one a friend offered me at her house, once and fully regretted it.) I also do not believe in "moderation". If it's bad, it shouldn't be in your body. No one wants to die, but yet, they destroy their bodies daily.......Even after knowing the truth. Makes no sense!

    • profile image

      Alisha D 7 years ago

      I just wanted to say that recently I decided to stop drinking soda of all kinds. I havnt had one in almost 10 days. I've been drinking water, green tea and milk. When I make tea at home I only put half a cup of sugar in it. I can't describe how I feel now. I feel like I have more energy, like a weights been lifted off me.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      I have heard that excessive soda drinking can cause ulcers, but I don't know if that's just for people prone to ulcers or what.

      Stomach ulcers, I'm not sure what ulcers you're referring to.

    • electricsky profile image

      electricsky 8 years ago from North Georgia

      Yes, I agree canned sodas are bad for your health. Do they cause ulcers? They burn when you drink them.

      Thanks for the information.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      Mountain Dew is by far the worst soda for you. It's been proven to cause cavaties far worse than any other soda.

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 8 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Great hub, Whitney05. As of late, I've drastically cut my intake of sodas, especially because I started reading more in the past month or so about how bad artificial sweeteners are and how these soft drinks are processed in the body. Last night I watched an old news report (not too old, 2009) about problems in some of the states where large numbers of children are losing their teeth at very early ages. You may have heard of this problem... "mountain dew mouth." Apparently, Mountain Dew has additional ingredients in it that do make it extra addictive - on top of having more sugar in it than several other leading soft drinks.

    • lxd35 profile image

      lxd35 8 years ago

      quit soda a month ago! feel great =)

    • Cayden Ryan profile image

      Cayden Ryan 8 years ago from Strasburg

      I personally agree it is terrible for you, but in my personal existence, Mountain Dew and me kind of have a thing, it's personal, you know? lol

      On a serious note, VERY informative hub!

    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      I know, I know! But how will I get my caffeine fix as coffee simply doesn't do it any more! I think the message is, simply do not go down that road at all. The diet sodas makes you cravings even worse and makes it even more difficult to stay away from the sugary and starchy foods.

    • aj28 profile image

      aj28 8 years ago from So. CA

      Great to see everyone coming around to this. It's difficult to break addictions such as tobacco and alcohol even though we know they're harmful to us. Short-term "lifts" at the expense of long-term health complications. When soft drinks first were marketed, they were touted for their energy boost, "giving you a 'lift'('Pep'si) to get through your day." Cocaine was an ingredient in Coca-Cola early in its bottling. So besides being a quick blast to your endocrine system, all that sugar & caffeine are addictive and will have you coming back for more. Not good if you want to be active your middle years hanging with the grandkids and going to ballgames! Also, read somewhere that aspartame is shown to be carcinogenic in laboratory studies as with saccharin (as the Hub Leader wrote). Safe to say, sucrose is no picnic either. The soda companies are also some of the most recognizable icons in the history of advertising. We've grown up with them by our side in public and our homes. We are always seeing their ads. Those are powerful subliminal messages being directed towards us. It's hard to refuse when you're constantly courted. But, like any addiction/bad habit, it's difficult to quit, but once you break it, you'll begin to grow healthier and feel better. It's worth it!!

    • OpinionDuck profile image

      OpinionDuck 8 years ago


      It would be an easier life, if more things that we eat and drink would taste as good as those that aren't good for us.

      Great job on this hub.

    • Amez profile image

      Amez 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      well, this one is a tricky Hub, because even though I'd have to agree to what you have shared, I just can't to let my scurity blanket in life go, my Pepsi I can't remember when I finally said good by to all the rest, but Its been my passion for along time, I really believe that my fear of drinking facet water or tap water brought about the dependency to drinking out of my Soda bottle. But maybe one day I will. till then I must say its always good to see those will to challenge our better sense in things like this. thanks again Ed

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 8 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      almost everyone of us, know that drinking soda is not good for our health but some of us can't really resist it. my mon is a soda fanatic, now that she's older, it is not advisable for her to drink soda, but she still does. well at least, less frequent now.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      john, i have heard soda can increase acne.

      streetsmart, good luck.

    • streetsmart profile image

      streetsmart 8 years ago from San Francisco, California

      very helpful hub. now i am worried about my partner, he is a soda addict. a day won't go by without him drinking a can or two of soda. explaining all these to him is futile.

    • johnb0127 profile image

      johnb0127 8 years ago from TX

      Does dark soda cause acne?

    • martycraigs profile image

      martycraigs 8 years ago

      I can't imagine what soda would do to my intestines!

      Great hub, thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Martin V 8 years ago

      great hub! thanks for sharing!

    • MikeNV profile image

      MikeNV 8 years ago from Henderson, NV

      People always think of the Sugar, but it's the PH effect the sodas have on your body that is equally if not more dangerous. Coca Cola Syrup has to be transported on Trucks that Carry a Hazardous Materials permit because in it's condensed form it is so acidic. In the body it's also acidic (So is sugar). Or bodies have different levels of acid, but our blood must maintain a near perfect PH Balance of 7.35-7.45 or we die. Our bodies will automatically adjust this balance by taking minerals from our mineral stores when needed. The problem is the main mineral used to balance blood level PH is Calcium... and the body will grab it from the easiest place... this just happens to be bones and teeth.

      I am not an advocate of all things in moderation; but it is your body. If something is not good for health it is not good PERIOD. To subject your body to anything that is not healthy even in "moderation"... simply doesn't make sense.

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 8 years ago from Michigan

      Good points, its not something people think about enough.

    • Chachafance profile image

      Charnita Fance 8 years ago from Eufaula, AL

      Great info. I stay away from soda and have for the past 5-6 years. I drink mainly water and tea - juice every now and then. I don't need anymore health issues than I already have going on!

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      That is true. I guess what I meant by concentrates are the mixed juices that are mostly artificial flavors. I was more thinking of the fresh juices that are nearly juice and little added waters. I have at least one brand (if not a few others) in my local grocery store that have little added water and no additives; just fresh juice.

      Juice is still a better alternative than soda.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 8 years ago from San Francisco

      Whitney - yes, somewhat. Most concentrates are 100% juice (minus the water). From what I've read, the real issue is human metabolism of fructose, which is in sucrose, HFCS and fruit. Dr Robert Lustig has studied this extensively.

      At any rate, an excellent, informative Hub!

    • GiftedGrandma profile image

      GiftedGrandma 8 years ago from USA

      Good informative hub... I so agree with soda doing you no good. But not many will agree to stop drinking it.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      Jim, yes they are harder to digest. One can really lose weight when soft drinks are not consumed.

      Livelonger, it is true that fruit concentrates have a lot of sugar, but all natural juices generally do not. There are several brands on the market that are nearly fresh squeezed juices that don't have the added sugars or sweeteners. Those would be the alternatives.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 8 years ago from San Francisco

      Great hub, but a few things are worth pointing out:

      - fruit juice has about the same amount of sugar as soda; except for the fact that it has some vitamins and (possibly) fiber, fruit juice is not a healthy beverage (childhood obesity has been linked to both juice & soda consumption)

      - HFCS is almost identical chemically to sugar (recently rebranded to "evaporated cane juice"); the only problem is that HFCS is much cheaper, so manufacturers put it in everything nowadays. Both are bad for you, as you correctly pointed out.

    • Jim Bryan profile image

      Jim Bryan 8 years ago from Austin, TX

      Good Hub Whitney.

      I also think that High Fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners are *much* harder for the body to deal with than glucose, sucrose, etc--both short term and long. I drink tea, juice, and coffee primarily, interspersed occasionally with liberal amounts of various alcoholic beverages. I quit Sodas and fast food years ago while making a decision to eat smaller portions, and lost over 20 pounds (and kept it off).

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      I don't drink any soft drinks and drink only coffee or water. Then there it was said coffee was bad for you and the next time coffee is good for you. By now I don't know what to belief.

      Good hub and very informative. Thank you.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      Pamela, I think is small sips, you'd be ok but a whole can or more a day probably isn't the best idea.

      Resspenser, peanuts are good, but you're still drinking a whole can of soda. You'll still have to worry about he caffeine, carbonation, sugar, and then salt from the peanuts. Although, the salt will pretty much kill the carbonation for the last half of the drink. It's still not going to be good for you. It may taste good, but adding peanuts won't make the drink healthier.

    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 8 years ago from South Carolina

      On the other hand peanuts are good for you. I suggest you get one of those small bottles of Coke, drink about one third of it and then add a pack of Lance salted peanuts. :)

      Good hub!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

      Good hub. I have heard that one can of soda can wipe out your immune system for a day. I'm not sure if that is true but you gave plenty of reasons not to drink them.