Are Carbonated Drinks Harmful? 9 Side Effects
It is a blistering hot summer day and there is nothing more refreshing than a tall glass of bubbly soda to quench your thirst. You take a large gulp and continue sipping until all you hear are the ice cubes clinking against the glass. Sounds simply amazing, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, that cold glass of your favorite soft drink is doing far more than just quenching your thirst. Many people are asking themselves, “Are carbonated drinks harmful?”. Unfortunately, the answer is yes.
The negative effects of drinking soda are numerous and some are even severe in nature. Stopping that craving for sugar is difficult but let’s examine what that sugary drink is actually doing to your body to convince you that it is indeed worth choosing a healthier alternative.
#1. An Increase in Weight
Drinking just a single soda every day is equal to ingesting 39 POUNDS of sugar annually! Think about that for a moment – 39 pounds is the average weight of a four-year-old child! The liver metabolizes the copious amounts of sugar and converts it eventually into fat – thus the weight gain.
With obesity rates on the rise, many people are also facing numerous other health issues like heart disease and diabetes. Even if you are fortunate enough to not develop those diseases, gaining extra weight can make the simplest tasks like tying your shoes or climbing stairs very difficult.
#2. Dental Issues
A can of soda contains about 37 grams or 9 teaspoons of sugar in it so there is no surprise that it is one of the foods that are damaging to your teeth. Not only is the high sugar content damaging to your teeth causing cavities but the phosphoric acid is also extremely corrosive. It can erode the enamel of your teeth completely away, leading to painful abscesses and costly dental visits.
#3. Development of Kidney Stones
Soft drinks contain high levels of phosphoric acid which inevitably creates a highly acidic environment in your kidney tract.
When your urine becomes too acidic, kidney stones can very likely form. It is extremely painful when they exit your body and can be associated with fever and blood in your urine.
In some cases, surgery is required to remove the stones from your system. Who knew that one of the side effects of soda would be actual stones forming in your body?
#4. Impaired Brain Functions
Drinking soda affects the control center of your body – your brain! The high sugar content prevents us from learning quickly and easily but it also affects our ability to remember things. Thus, we are forced to find ways to increase our memory when we could simply choose water to drink instead of a carbonated beverage.
Our brains are also unable to process insulin which can result in diabetes! By the way, those who consume soda on a daily basis are increasing their chances of developing diabetes by 80%.
Your daily soda intake also affects your ability to regulate what you eat and how much. In fact, it dulls the brain’s ability to alert you when you have had enough to eat. Consequently, you gain weight and generally, your food choices are poor as well.
#5. Digestive System Issues
Those lovely little bubbles from the carbonation in your drink are evil little things. They can cause cramping, and bloating and even worsen the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Many soft drinks contain high levels of caffeine that are also disruptive to the digestive system, leading to diarrhea or in some cases, lead to constipation.
#6. Loss of Bone Density
As we age, we inevitably begin to experience a lowered bone density and thus become more prone to broken bones. However, drinking soda on a regular basis quickens this process exponentially. The caffeine found in many of the drinks prevents our bones from absorbing the necessary calcium from our diet or supplements. The high levels of phosphoric acid are corrosive and when it leaves via the urinary tract, it also takes the calcium with it.
#7. Heart Complications
As I have mentioned earlier, an increase in your weight can also lead to various heart complications. Under the excess weight, your heart is forced to work harder to circulate your blood throughout your system. Your arteries may begin to clog up resulting in heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.
The high fructose corn syrup found in many soft drinks has also been associated with an increased chance of a metabolic syndrome that leads to heart disease and diabetes.
#8. Reproductive Issues
Much of the soft drinks we consume are found in cans that contain BPA. It is a chemical commonly known to cause cancer. It has also been found to cause issues with a person’s endocrine system – a system of glands that create and excrete various hormones responsible for various bodily functions. Premature puberty, reproductive abnormalities, and decreased fertility may result. Ultimately, you can decide are carbonated drinks harmful enough for you to avoid for your own and even your children’s health? I guess the answer is obvious!
#9. Breathing Issues
The more carbonated beverages you consume, the greater your risk for breathing issues like asthma or even COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
A preservative called Sodium Benzoate is added to soft drinks to extend its shelf life. As sodium is in the name, it is obvious that sodium is then added which reduces the availability of potassium in your diet. This has been found to contribute to lung issues.
My Final Thoughts
It is common for many people to choose soft drinks as their predominant choice to quench their thirst. There is no doubt that it can provide an immediate and satisfying cure to our thirst. However, as I have clearly outlined in the points above, the consequences of that choice may be too detrimental to ignore.
Between the added carbonation, phosphoric acid, sugars, preservatives, and caffeine found in soda, our bodies are forced to suffer some immediate and long term consequences. It is up to you to decide are carbonated drinks harmful enough for you to avoid or at least reduce.
If you are a heavy soda drinker, quitting them immediately may prove to be very difficult and it may be important to begin reducing your intake gradually. Try reaching for drinks that are not carbonated and contain less sugar. Even better, choose water and add a slice of lemon or cucumber to provide some additional flavour. Before you know it, you will unconsciously choose healthier options because they make you feel fabulous!