Despite the health hazards related to drinking soda, last year a Gallup poll revealed that 48 percent of surveyed Americans drink soft drinks on a daily basis. And among those who drank soda, the average daily intake was 2.6 glasses per day.
Seven percent of those surveyed claimed they drink four or more sodas a day. Rates of soda consumption were higher with young adults ages 18 to 34, at more than half or 56 percent.
We’ve listed ten cogent reasons not to drink soft drinks, or at the very least consider restricting consumption.
10) Some Sodas Contain a Flame Retardant
Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is vegetable oil derived from soybean or corn that is bonded with the element bromine, and used as a patented flame retardant chemical. BVO is banned in food throughout Europe and Japan, yet BVO has been added to sodas for decades in North America.
Some drinks with BVO listed in their ingredients are Mountain Dew, Squirt, Fanta Orange, Sunkist Pineapple, Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange, Powerade Strawberry Lemonade and Fresca Original Citrus. In Mountain Dew, brominated vegetable oil is listed next-to-last, between disodium EDTA and Yellow 5.
9) Pancreatic Cancer
A report that appeared in the American Association for Cancer Research claims sugar-sweetened sodas with their high-glycemic load have been linked with varying degrees of success to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Consumption of two or more soft drinks a week was linked to an 87% increase in the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Regular consumption of refined sugar and corn syrup has been linked to a host of illnesses including diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Americans consume about 250 to 300 more calories daily now than they did several decades ago, and nearly half this increase is accounted for by consumption of sugared beverages.
One UCLA study found adults who drink at least one soft drink a day are 27 percent more likely to be obese than those who don’t. The study also found that approximately half of children and teens in this country drink at least one soda daily.
Carbonated drinks contain high amounts of phosphoric acid and excessive phosphorous intake depletes the body of calcium which can lead to a loss in bone density, and osteoporosis.
6) Soda Contains HFCS Which Impairs Learning
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is used in virtually everything on grocery store shelves, including soft drinks, cereal, bread, ketchup, and pancake syrups.
High fructose corn syrup impairs memory and learning. New evidence suggests a steady diet of high fructose corn syrup slows the brain, and impairs memory and learning.
“Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,” said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a professor of integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information.
Additionally, a 2009 study conducted by researchers at Georgia State University determined diets high in fructose impaired the spatial memory of adult rats.
5) Cancer Risk Linked to Coke and Pepsi
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer health group in Washington, claim Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Diet Coke, and Diet Pepsi contain high levels of 4-methylimidazole (4-MI), a known animal carcinogen.
The chemical is responsible for the artificial caramel coloring used in colas. CSPI claims the artificial brown coloring in colas and some other products is made by reacting sugars with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperatures. Chemical reactions result in the formation of 2-methylimidazole and 4 methylimidazole.
“Coke and Pepsi, with the acquiescence of the FDA, are needlessly exposing millions of Americans to a chemical that causes cancer,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson.
4) Heart Disease
A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, suggests drinking diet soda daily significantly increases the risk of developing a stroke, heart attack and other serious vascular issues.
The study monitored soda drinking in 2,564 north Manhattan residents (36% men, mean age 69 ± 10, 20% white, 23% black, 53% Hispanic)over a 10-year period.
Based on the research, those who drank diet soda on a daily basis were 43 percent more likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack than the control group, even if pre-existing vascular conditions existed.
The Huffington Post notes a study at the University of Adelaide has shown that drinking too many carbonated soft drinks can lead to an increased risk of developing asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
Australian researchers analyzed the health and soda drinking habits of 16,907 people age 16 or older in southern Australia between 2008 and 2010, according to the Guardian.
Their findings revealed that people who consumed at least a half a liter of soft drinks a day were more than twice as likely to develop either breathing condition compared with those who refrained from the drink altogether, Med Page Today reports.
“The amount of soft drink consumption is associated with an increased chance of asthma and or COPD. There exists a dose-response relationship, which means the more soft drink one consumes, the higher the chance of having these diseases,” the researchers wrote in the journal Respirology, in which the results of the study were published.
A recent study claims that sweetened beverages, including soda, increases the risk of depression in older adults. And artificial sweeteners have an even worse effect on mood.
“Sweetened beverages, coffee and tea are commonly consumed worldwide and have important physical — and may have important mental — health consequences,” study author Dr. Honglei Chen, a researcher with the National Institutes of Health, said in a written statement.
“People who drank more than four cans of soda per day were 30 percent more likely to be depressed than those who did not drink sweetened drinks. Interestingly, diet soda drinkers had a higher chance of being diagnosed than their counterparts who drank the regular versions of soda, fruit punch and iced tea.
1) Prostate Cancer
Men who drink one normal-sized soft drink per day are at greater risk of getting more aggressive forms of prostate cancer, according to a Swedish study.
“Among the men who drank a lot of soft drinks or other drinks with added sugar, we saw an increased risk of prostate cancer of around 40 percent,” said Isabel Drake, a PhD student at Lund University.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, followed over 8,000 men aged 45 to 73 for an average of 15 years.
Those who drank one 330-millilitre (11-fluid-ounce) soft drink a day were 40 percent more likely to develop more serious forms of prostate cancer that required treatment.