Soft Drinks and Health
What are Soft Drinks or Carbonated Drinks?
Soft drinks or carbonated drinks are drinks that contain caffeine, sugar and water and are free of alcohol. They may also contain some flavoring agent like in Fanta and lemon-flavored cola drinks. They are available in bottles, cans or in some other form of packaging. They are cheaper than fruit juices and are widely available.
I think soft drinks are called soft drinks because they can soften bones of your body. This is my perception but keep reading this article and you will agree with me. Soft drinks introduced int he market and became vogue. Drinking a can or bottle of coca cola was more chic than wearing trendy clothes or accessories during early and mid 20th century.
The first carbonated drink was introduced in 1700. Since than efforts were made to develop better and more flavoring soft drinks. So soon after the development of first carbonated drinks citric acid was developed from lemon juice and than carbonated lemonade was available in England. It got registration too. Coca cola was first developed in 1886. This was the year when Dr. Pepper too got registered.
The trend for drinking soft drinks kept growing. First it was cultivated because people thought that these bubbly drinks are good for health but later it became fashion. In the late 20th century soft drinks became college fashion. On average students drank a bottle of any soft drink a day. Soft drinks companies too earned lot from it. The Generation X or Generation Next slogan of Pepsi became so much popular that it became a fashion trend and a whole new lifestyle. During 1990 and after that the trend for soft drinks went down to some extent.
Read about the Negative Effects of Junk Food here
Why Soft Drinks are Dangerous for Health:
At first people knew nothing about the side effects of soft drinks and would love to drink any soft drink while thirsty or while feeling craving. When for the first time the debate was started about the side effects of soft drinks, the soft drinks companies tried their best to reject them by advertising campaigns. For example in one of the ad of Pepsi it was shown that the managing director of Pepsi Co was drinking Pepsi and even giving it to his son and saying that it is not dangerous to health and all the claims about its side effects are false. Nutritionists on the other hand kept researching on the ingredients in the soft drinks and their effects on health.
In the beginning I said that soft drinks can soften the bones. Though soft drink companies deny the fact that these drinks can cause depletion of calcium form bones. The reality is that many comparative studies so far have been conducted on the human beings who drink soft drinks daily and their bone structure with those who do not drink it, the results reveal that those who drink soft drinks are more prone to bone weakening. Phosphorus which is present in cola drinks is said to be responsible for depletion of calcium. Risks of bones fracture can increase to manifold with the continuous consumption of soft drinks.
In one of the study conducted by Dr. Robert Heaney it was concluded that the effect of soft drinks on calcium excretion in urine is negligible but still he suggest that carbonated drinks should be replaced by other healthy juices as soft drinks contain no nutrients for which they should be drunk.
As teenagers drink carbonated drinks more than adults and they are physically active their chances of bone fracture increases. Though many campaigns by the non-profit organizations have been conducted to spread the awareness about the negative effects specially bone depletion but the marketing campaigns that soft drinks companies run are far more appealing and attract young people.
This is one of the most obvious fact about the carbonated drinks. One bottle of Coca Cola contains more than 10 teaspoons of sugar. A part form sugar their is no other nutrient present in the carbonated drinks. The amount of sugar in some carbonated beverages exceeds 10 teaspoons, although, FDA has put a limit to the use of sugar in soft drinks.
Drinking a can of cola that contains high amount of sugar can cause obesity. The result is evident to all of us. In america great amount of youngsters are getting fat the reason is not only soft drinks but it is one of the major reason. Apart from soft drinks processed food and junk food id responsible for this. Teenage obesity has become very common and with obesity comes other problems like diabetes, coronary diseases and others.
When soft drinks become a regular diet need than we cut the intake of healthy juices, water and other drinks from our diet. It has also been seen that those who consume carbonated drinks in their regular routine could not drink lightly flavored juices as their flavor does not appeal them any more. Lack of nutrients like vitamins and minerals that come from juices is seen in the diet of these people.
Diabetes is one of the major concern in drinking carbonated drinks. Doctors strictly advise diabetes patients to control their intake of soft drinks. They have been linked with diabetes form many experiments.
Caffeine consumption is another concern with drinking soft drinks. Caffeine was until now linked with increasing risks of cancer. The amount of caffeine in one bottle of cola drink is greater than in coffee and in other tea.
Caffeine addiction is seen in many teenagers and adults as well as in some children too who drink excessive amount of carbonated drinks. This addiction prevent them for drinking juices and reduce the amount of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients in their diet.
The amount of sugar in carbonated drinks is high so it leads to dental decay, dental carries and dissolving of tooth enamel. Dental problems have become very common among masses. Many people say that they brush their teeth twice a day but yet they are facing severe tooth problems. The reason is that while they brush twice (in the morning and night) but they take soft drinks during day-time. So after drinking the acid and bacteria get enough time to work on their teeth and causes decay. The problem is that dentist discourage brushing teeth right after consuming soft drinks as the presence of acid can cause further erosion of enamel by brushing. So its better to avoid drinking it.
What Does a Can of Soft Drink Contains?
A can of soft drink contains sugar in the amount described above, acid, caffeine and phosphorus. The pH of regular soft drinks range between 1.5-3.0. The normal pH of our body is between 7.2-7.4. It is said that if you consume one can of carbonated drinks you need at least 32 glasses of water to neutralize the pH of body again.
How to Avoid Soft Drinks?
Soft drinks are consumed not because we do not know the dangers of drinking it but because
- they are readily available
- Cheaper than many other form of drinks
- Comes in multitude of flavors and tastes
- Marketed in such a way that targets youth and children
- Widely available on any and every shop, (even shopping malls offer soft drinks at the purchase of goods for their place) so it is hard to avoid them.
But if you want to avoid drinking soft drinks and replace them for something else than there are solutions.
- While going to college, school or university keep a bottle of green tea with yourself and ,rather than drinking soft drinks, drink green tea when you are thirsty. It will quench your thirst, if you are obese it will help you loose weight and provide you nutrients that you cannot get from many other foods.
- If not possible keep a bottle of mineral water with yourself and drink it to quench thirst.
- Do not drink packaged juices even as they do not contain the extracts of juices, rather, they contain sugar, flavoring agents, additives, preservatives which are also harmful.
Latest Researches on Soft Drinks:
A very current research on the soft drinks and their effects on health suggested that apart from many other negative impacts of soft drinks on health, it has another health concerning which is more alarming. Professor Peter Piper in Sheffield University was conducting researches on sodium benzoate -a preservative used in soft drinks- for long time and he concluded that sodium benzoate can damage an important part of DNA -mitochondria- in plant cells it has been found. This is really alarming as soft drinks companies are still propagating that these drinks can boost health.
So think before consuming soft drinks...........