Let’s be honest: Few things are as refreshing as a nice, cold soda. But while drinking the occasional soda is OK, it’s not healthy to make fizzy, sweetened beverages a regular part of your diet — and not just because it can add inches to your waistline. Drinking soda can also cause a wide range of health problems in addition to obesity.
Soda can contribute to type-2 diabetes
There is strong evidence that shows a connection between regular soda consumption and type 2 diabetes.
People who consume soda regularly (one or two cans per day or more) have a 26 percent increased risk of developing the disease than people who rarely drink soda.
A study of 90,000 women that took place over eight years found that women who reported consuming at least one serving of a sugar-sweetened drink per day were twice as likely to have developed type-2 diabetes.
Soda can increase your risk of heart disease
Regularly drinking sugary drinks also has a negative impact on your heart health.
A study conducted over 20 years found that men who consumed a can of soda per day had a 20 percent higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart disease than men who rarely consumed soda. Studies show the same link between soda and heart disease in women.
In fact, in the same study of 90,000 women mentioned above, women who drank more than two servings of a sugary drink per day had a 40 percent higher risk of heart attacks or death from heart disease.
Researchers found that even when the women ate an otherwise healthy diet or maintained a healthy weight, the risk of heart disease lowered only slightly. In other words, soda is harmful to your health even if you’re not overweight and you eat a healthy diet.
Experts believe that soda’s high sugar content affects blood glucose, cholesterol, inflammation and metabolism, all of which can have an effect on your heart health.
Soda is bad for your bones
You wouldn’t think that drinking soda has an impact on your bones, but it does affect bone health, especially in young people. Soda contains high levels of phosphate. If you take in more phosphate than calcium, your bones deteriorate.
In fact, consuming soda tends to decrease your calcium, because you’re then less likely to drink milk, a vital source of calcium.
Soda is linked to obesity
Finally (and most obviously), regularly drinking soda is linked to weight gain. People who consume soda don’t feel as full as if they had consumed the same calories from solid food. As a result, they eat, which brings its own calorie load.
As we’ve discussed on this blog before, weight gain is a simple matter of calories in, calories out. If you consume more calories than you burn in a day, you’re bound to pile on the pounds.
“Soda has no nutritional value whatsoever and definitely has no place in a nutrition plan for healthy living or weight loss,” Dr. Dirk says. “Even diet sodas have no advantage.”
To avoid the many negative health consequences of drinking soda, it’s best to cut soda and other sugary drinks out of your diet. Studies show that reducing or eliminating sugary drinks from your diet can lead to better weight control among those who are initially overweight.
So next time you get a hankering for a fizzy drink, reach for a glass of sparkling water instead.