The United States ranks first among countries in soft drink consumption, according to Michael Murray ND and Joseph Pizzorno ND of the Encyclopedia of Modern Medicine. They state that the per-capita consumption of soft drinks is in excess of 150 quarts per year, or about three quarts per week.
Recently, there has been discussion about how “safe” the ingredients in soft drinks are, contrary to millions of studies. This has been sparked by the approval of a program created by the Coca-Cola Company, which gives dietitians formal education on the safety of its products and their ingredients. While an esteemed physician, Dr. Ronald Kleinman, seems to be in the position to make an argument for soft drinks, he is being sponsored and paid by the Coca-Cola Company itself, which seems fishy and leaves people questioning the validity of his arguments, which contradict so many previous studies.
Ingredients in Coca Cola
Now, let’s take a look at the components of soft drinks ourselves. Sodas contain a variety of dangerous ingredients, including high fructose corn syrup, aspartame (in diet sodas), caffeine, phosphoric acid, traces of MSG and high amounts of fluoride.
According to Judith Valentine, PhD, gastrointestinal distress goes hand in hand with soda consumption. This is not only due to caffeine, which increases stomach acid levels, but also phosphoric acid, which upsets the fragile environment in the stomach and can cause inflammation of the stomach lining.
Phosphoric acid has many other negative affects as well. It pulls calcium out of bones and can increase a person’s risk of osteoporosis. High phosphorus intake is also associated with tooth loss, periodontal disease and gingivitis.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the number one ingredient in most soft drinks, can cause an array of problems. First, because of the way it is processed, it often contains traces of mercury, a toxin that affects your brain and nervous system. Many studies have also shown the HFCS suppresses the sensation of being full, causing people to consume more and putting them at risk for fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes. HFCS has also been shown to directly cause obesity, as well as cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
And don’t be fooled by diet soda, which replaces high fructose corn syrup with sugar substitutes—it’s health risks are just as dangerous. Diet sodas contain aspartame or saccharin, sugar substitutes which are known to cause bladder cancer and affect fetal brain development, according to Dr. Earl Mindell. Many soft drinks also contain food dyes, which have been linked with hyperactivity in children, cancer, and allergic reactions.
The UK is going after the beverage industries to revamp ingredients for their campaign against obesity. Read my take on the campaign here.
In all, it is safe to say that children and adults alike should stay away from the empty calories and harmful additives in soft drinks, as doctors and nutrition experts have been recommending for decades. To refresh on ‘sugar: the socially acceptable drug of choice’ review my article, here.
Yours in Health,