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Bad Effects of Carbonated Soft Drinks

Carbonated soft drinks are the single biggest source of calories in the American diet, providing about 7 percent of calories; adding in noncarbonated drinks brings the figure to 9 percent. Teenagers get 13 percent of their calories from carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks.

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girls drink carbonated drinksCarbonated soft drinks are the single biggest source of calories in the American diet, providing about 7 percent of calories; adding in noncarbonated drinks brings the figure to 9 percent. Teenagers get 13 percent of their calories from carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks.

While many different categories make up the American beverage product picture, carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) paint the broadest strokes. As the “granddaddy of them all,” carbonated soft drinks (CSD)s occupy a unique place in the hearts, minds and palates of the American consumer.

Still and carbonated soft drinks will also contain trace elements of minerals from their main ingredient, water, and other ingredients e.g. juices. Some are also fortified with vitamins, details of which will appear on the label.

History of Carbonated Soft Drinks

Soft drinks have been an anchor in American culture since the beginning of the twentieth century, but the roots of these beverages extend much further back in time.

The first carbonated soft drinks, which were named as such in order to clearly differentiate them from hard, alcoholic beverages, and the technology to make them were imported from the Europeans, who had discovered how to force carbon dioxide gas into water back in the sixteenth century.

The original bubbly drinks were carbonated mineral waters mimicking those found in therapeutic natural springs and the first of these were patented in the United States in 1810. Less than a decade later, the soda fountain was patented as well. By the mid-1800s, American chemists and pharmacists were concocting sweetened, flavored carbonated beverages.

Soft drinks now can be found most anywhere in the world, but nowhere are they as ubiquitous as in the United States, where 450 different types are sold and more than 2.5 million vending machines dispense them around the clock, including in our schools. The American Beverage Association says that, in 2004, 28 percent of all beverages consumed in the U.S. were carbonated soft drinks.

Why are Carbonated Soft Drinks a Concern for Health?

Excessive use of carbonated beverages, sports drinks and fruit drinks can impact bone health, oral health and lead to obesity in young people. The typical 12-ounce can of non-diet pop provides approximately 150 calories, nine teaspoons of sugar, and no minerals or vitamins.
Sports drinks and fruit drinks have similar amounts of sugar and calories but often have
some vitamins and minerals.

Because many carbonated soft drinks are high in caffeine, they are also mildly addictive, leading to increased consumption. Girls ages 12 to 19 years consume an average of 59 mg of caffeine per day and boys consume an average of 86 mg of caffeine per day. One can of cola contains 40 to 45 mg of caffeine.

The high acid and sugar content of pop provide a rich environment for dental decay. The high calorie content of pop may add to the increasing rate of obesity in youth. Overweight adolescents are more likely to become overweight adults.

As carbonated soft drinks tend to contain high amounts of both sugars and acids, they’re the worst possible combination for dental health.

A new study on the risk factors associated with nighttime heartburn found drinking carbonated soft drinks and the use of benzodiazepines, a commonly-prescribed class of sleeping pill, are among the strongest predictors of that painful burning sensation.

School-age girls who drink a lot of carbonated soft drinks are increasing their risk of osteoporosis.

Carbonated Soft drinks and bones health men crush a can with carbonated drink

There has been a theory that the phosphoric acid contained in some soft drinks (colas) displaces calcium from the bones, lowering bone density of the skeleton and leading to conditions such as osteoporosis and very weak bones. However, calcium metabolism studies by leading calcium and bone expert Dr. Robert Heaney determined that the net effect of carbonated soft drinks, (including colas, which use phosphoric acid as the acidulant) on calcium retention was negligible. He concluded that it is likely that colas prominence in observational studies is due to their prominence in the marketplace, and that the real issue is that people who drink a lot of soft drinks also tend to have an overall diet that is low in calcium.

Reducing consumption of carbonated soft drinks, replacing benzodiazepines with other types of sleeping pills, and losing weight can all help reduce nighttime heartburn.

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