The availability of studies that warn about the risks of drinking soda is vast, but they can be hard to sift through. It’s not always easy to tell which studies you can trust. For example, many studies rely only on what participants are willing to admit that they drink, and others are performed only on animals and not humans.
Regardless, it’s important to think carefully about what you are putting into your body. While millions of Americans drink soda every week, the dangers are very real, including greater risk of things like diabetes and obesity.
1. Diabetes risk – Nurses’ Health Study followed over 90,000 women for about eight years and found that those who consumed one or more servings of a soft drink or fruit punch per day were twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes during the duration of the study as those who did not consume any servings. This is just one example—there are many studies just like it.
2. Heart disease risk – The same Nurses’ Health Study found that participants who consumed more than two servings of a soft drink per day were at a 40% higher risk of developing heart disease compared to those who rarely drank soft drinks. The study accounted for differences in other factors, like diet and weight. The dangers to your heart likely come from the amounts of sugar, caffeine, and sodium in soft drinks.
3. Decreased bone health – Soda contains a lot of phosphate. Consuming more phosphate than calcium is not good for bone health. Calcium is necessary for building strong bones, especially during adolescence. Unfortunately, many soda campaigns target adolescents when they need to be building bone strength the most.
4. Weight gain – The average can of soda contains about 140 calories. Drinking calories can contribute to weight gain. In fact, you can add almost 15 pounds to your weight per year just by drinking a can of soda every day. When you consider that soda contains no nutritional value, the extra calories aren’t worth it.
5. Sugar rush – The sugar that soda contains causes your body to crash a few hours later. Most individuals turn to more sources of sugar to help make up for the crashed feeling, which places you in a vicious cycle for the day.
6. No hydration – Even diet soda can be harmful. Even though you may be quenching your thirst, you are not really hydrating yourself by drinking soda. The caffeine that it contains is a diuretic, which will make you urinate more often.
The occasional soda is likely fine in moderation, but turn to healthy beverages like water more frequently to see real health benefits.