Unfortunately, Americans are drinking more soda than ever before. They account for more than 25 percent of all drinks consumed in the United States. More than 15 billion gallons of soda are consumed each year — about one 12-ounce can per day for every man, woman and child.
Even more alarming is the fact that kids are heavy consumers of soft drinks. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, kids are drinking soda pop at unprecedented rates. According to reports, carbonated soda pop provides more added sugar in a typical 2-year-old toddler’s diet than cookies, candies and ice cream combined and a third of all teen-age boys drink at least three cans of soda each day.
Before you pop open that next can or let you children order a soda at dinner, you may want to read the following information about the damaging effects of your favorite carbonated beverage.
- Liver damage
Soda damages your liver. Consumption of too many soft drinks puts you under increased risk for liver cirrhosis similar to the increased risk faced by chronic alcoholics.
- Tooth decay
Soda eats up and dissolves the tooth enamel. Researchers say that soft drinks are responsible for doubling or tripling the incidence of tooth decay. Soda’s acidity is even worse for teeth than the solid sugar found in candy.
- Kidney stones and chronic kidney disease
Sodas are well known for their high phosphoric acid content, a substance that changes the urine in a way that promotes kidney stone formation. Drinking one quart (less than three 12-ounce cans) of soda per week may increase your risk of developing kidney stones by 15 percent.
- Heartburn & acid reflux
Heavy consumption of soda is a strong predictor of heartburn. Many carbonated beverages are very acidic. They also deliver a lot of air in the form of carbon dioxide, which can cause distension of your stomach. And that distension appears to be associated with more reflux.
Soft drinks containing phosphoric acid are definitely linked to osteoporosis (a weakening of your skeletal structure) because they lead to lower calcium levels and higher phosphate levels in your blood. When phosphate levels are high and calcium levels are low, calcium is pulled out of your bones. The phosphate content of soft drinks is very high, and they contain virtually no calcium. Researchers found, that high soda consumption (particularly cola(7)) in children poses a significant risk factor for impaired calcification of growing bones.
- Heart disease
Heavy soda drinkers are more likely to develop risk factors for heart disease. Research shows that drinking more than one soft drink a day is associated with an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome — a group of symptoms such as central obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugar, elevated fasting triglycerides, and low levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol.
- Impaired digestion (gastrointestinal distress)
Drinking soda can upset the fragile acid-alkaline balance of the stomach and other gastric lining, creating a continuous acid environment. This prolonged acid environment can lead to inflammation of the stomach and duodenal lining which becomes quite painful. This prolonged acid environment can lead to inflammation of your stomach and its lining.