Soft drinks (sodas) are carbonated beverages. Although occasional consumption of these drinks may not be detrimental to your health, consuming soft drinks high in sugar and made with artificial ingredients on a regular basis is not healthy. Eliminating these soft drinks completely is the best way to prevent or eliminate the associated health problems. Decades of research has overwhelmingly concluded that drinking soda and/or diet soda high in sugar or artificial ingredients on a regular basis is risky for one’s health. Thankfully, there are some great new healthy soda alternatives on the market!
While water, sparkling water, natural juices, and non-caffeinated tea (e.g. green tea) are the healthiest hydrating fluids, during hot weather many people choose to drink soda. It is refreshing to see some beverage companies producing healthy sodas, free from artificial ingredients and sugar. Naked Life produce healthy soft drinks that are Low GI/Fructose Free/No Artificial sweeteners/No Artificial preservatives/No Artificial colours/No phosphoric acid/No Caramel 150b colour/BPA Free/GMO Free. These are a great alternative to standard soft drinks -as they have no “nasties”.
The high sugar content of non-diet soft drinks adds extra calories to your daily intake. Regular consumption of soft drinks has been linked to obesity and an increased body mass index over time in both adults and children. Obesity and a high body mass index are risk factors for many chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.
Studies have shown that consuming soft drinks regularly may contribute to a higher risk of developing diabetes. Sweeteners and caramel colouring added to soft drinks may decrease insulin sensitivity. This results in increased blood glucose levels and diabetes. Drinking soda adds calories to the daily diet, but does not curb hunger. This leads to consumption of too many calories, which increases the risk of Diabetes.
Since drinking soda adds sugar and calories to the diet, it may increase the risk of developing Metabolic Syndrome (obesity, high blood pressure, high blood triglycerides, low levels of HDL cholesterol and insulin resistance), which raises the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Diet soft drinks also appear to cause this problem. This is because studies show that those who drink soda of any kind tend to eat a diet that is high in fat and calories.
The sugar content of soda may contribute to tooth decay because acid is produced when bacteria enter the mouth and mixes with sugar. When the acid attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or more and causes plaque build-up on the teeth and gums, it erodes the enamel leads to tooth decay.
The high sugar, sodium and caffeine content in soda dehydrates the body, and over a long time may result in chronic dehydration.
Soda contains high levels of phosphate. Consuming more phosphate than calcium may be harmful to bone health. An adequate calcium intake is very important during childhood and adolescence, when bones are growing. Soft drinks lack calcium and other healthy nutrients. This may lead to decreased bone mineral density and increased risk of fractures.
Drinking soft drinks may contribute to kidney stone formation and decreases overall kidney function. According to a 2009 review of the research in the "Journal of the American Society of Nephrology," this is because of the most prominent sweetener in regular sodas: fructose.
"Whether on its own, in the form of glucose-fructose, or as high-fructose corn syrup, this sugar may increase kidney stone formation and damage kidney cells”.