Soft drinks are beverages that contain no alcohol. These carbonated beverages usually contain water, natural or artificial sweeteners, aroma, and essences. To sweeten the taste, soft drinks may be laced with high fructose syrup or artificial sugar. Caffeine, artificial flavorings, and fruit extracts are typically added.
What drinking soft drinks does on the body:
Drinking soft drinks is a daily staple for a lot of people forming part of meals and snacks with little disregard for the consequences. They are also drunk alone with no accompanying food. On a closer scrutiny and backed by empirical evidence and researches, glugging down soft drinks harmful to the body. The list of potential harm it can do on the human health is discussed below.
1. High level of sugar
Labels are important because they inform the consumer of the make up of a product and its ingredients. For the informed consumer, it helps in identifying components of a product and to know what is put in the body. Take a look at the information written on the bottles or cans of soft drinks. Sugar is a main ingredient that improves its taste and gives it an appealing flavor. However, for every 12-oz can of soft drinks consumed, 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar are flushed down in the body. That’s about 130 calories of energy for each 33-ml of soft drinks downed. Taking a swig of a bottle each day contributes to weight gain. Being overweight is not an ideal condition as it can cause short or long-term medical problems as well as debilitating diseases.
2. Increased risked of type 2 diabetes
Significant weight gains brought by excessive consumption of sugary drinks contribute to obesity and it is one of the main risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Roughly 80 to 90% of patients who suffer from this condition are obese.
3. Inability to sleep
Caffeine, found in cola soft drinks, has many effects on the body’s metabolism. It stimulates the nervous system and may produce symptoms of irritability, anxiousness, or nervousness. Disproportionate intake of caffeine is one of the reasons a person has difficulties in sleeping. People who drink too much caffeine laden drinks are alert and tend to encounter problems in getting a good night’s rest. Lack of sleep, in turn, can make people irritable and short-tempered as well as shortens focus and attention. It affects productivity and concentration.
Linked to excessive sugar levels in the body, hyperactivity may occur among people who drink lots of soft drinks as the high calorie intake brings extra energy. Drinking these beverages cause energy levels to spike and people may become hyperactive. Correlating sugar and hyperactivity in children though is not conclusive as their behavior develops differently as they grow.
5. Dental problems
In addition to sugar, soft drinks contain chemicals and preservatives. Their presence in drinks are correlated to high incidences of dental cavities among consumers. These substances are linked to tooth decay and dental erosion. If proper oral hygiene is not observed, loss of teeth and the protective enamel occurs.
Dehydration is a condition where the body has deficient amounts of water. Automatically reaching out for a can of soft drinks as a thirst quencher is not the ideal because it gives the sensation of being sated or full. When this happens, the person has the tendency not to drink water anymore and this can lead to dehydration.
7. Loss of fluids
Soft drinks are double-edged swords. They also act as diuretics enabling a person to eliminate water from the body quickly which can lead to dehydration when fluid loss is not replaced.
Some experts say that bone development is simply weakened because the consumption of soft drinks increases while that of calcium products decreases. Milk beverages rich in calcium are simply replaced by more carbonated drinks. Others state that there might be a connection between osteoporosis and soft drinks consumption.
In a study conducted by researchers at Tuft’s University among thousands of men and women, roughly 4% of women who drank 3 to 4 servings of soft drinks have lower bone density. In contrast, women who did not consume any exhibited no signs of low bone density. The culprit is phosphoric acid, a substance found in soft drinks that is highly detrimental to bone formation. Although phosphorus is an essential mineral, too much of it interferes in calcium absorption necessary for good bones development.
9. Aggressive behavior
According to the online issue of Injury Prevention (October 25, 2011), soda consumption might belinked to aggressive and violent behavior among teens. However, the study also states that it is a mere indication of the problem with ‘poor parenting’ as the main culprit.
10. Links to pancreatic cancer
In a study lead by Mark Pereira of the University of Minnesota, it was found out that consumption of soda can increase a person’s risk of contracting pancreatic cancer compared to those who are not drinking the beverage. He argued that excessive sugar levels in the body contribute to insulin levels in the system, which in turn contributes to the growth of pancreatic cancer cells. He added that people who consume plenty of soft drinks have generally poor health habits. This point, however, is refuted by the Yale Cancer Center pointing out the limitations of the study such as variable factors used.
While the negative effects of drinking soft drinks is primarily due to the harmful consequences of over consumption, there are also outcomes that need further study. It is clear though that excessive sugar and caffeine levels are bad for the body and health. Overconsumption of both regular and diet soda affects the behavior and responses of people. Soft drinks contain artificial sweeteners, chemicals, and preservatives that also bring negative effects on the health and behavior of people. As researches continue to evolve, there might be other health consequences of soft drinks brought to light. Until then, it is wise to change lifestyles and habits. Consume soft drinks in moderation and if possible, avoid them altogether for the sake of potential medical issues and to stay healthy in both mind and body.