The Benefits of Soft Drinks!

Soft Drinks cause health problems

What are the benefits of Soft Drinks?

The only benefit of soft drinks is that they can be a refreshing party drink or an occasional "treat" to drink but consumed regularly they can only have negative consequences on your health

As these drinks are digested and absorbed into our bloodstream, they do damage little by little.  Phosphoric acid, citric, malic and tartaric acids are all added to soft drinks.  These highly acidic substances start the damage as soon as you drink them as they corrode the surface of the tooth enamel and when consumed in high amounts, cause many unwanted dental caries.. Following the teeth, the soft drink finds its way to our digestive system.  The body has an amazing ability to find uses for the ingredients that we digest, some useful, some not.  In the case of the soft drink, the excess amount of sugars and calories contribute to heart disease and diabetes.

Soft Drinks and Osteoporosis

Research also suggests that soft drinks contribute to osteoporosis.  This is due to the high phosphorus content in soft drinks.  A high amount of phosphorus in the diet hinders the absorption of calcium, should calcium levels be low.  In general, adolescents are more likely to drink high amounts of soft drinks and consume lower than the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) requirements of calcium.  They are therefore in a higher risk of having bones that show signs of being less dense, of losing strength and breaking more easily.

During adolescents, more than half of peak bone mass is developed.  It is therefore imperative that this age group meets the RDI requirements of calcium and that they avoid massive consumptions of soft drinks.

The Risks of Artificial Sweeteners

When it comes to diet soft drinks, many people are unaware of the dangers of the added artificial sweetener, aspartame.  Aspartame is added to many soft drinks to avoid the calories that come from sugar, but the dangers of aspartame are worse than sugar.  The dangers of aspartame are as follows:

  • It can decrease the availability of tryptophan and therefore serotonin.  Tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin.  Serotonin regulates mood, sleep and appetite and low serotonin is associated with depression and anxiety;
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a disease in which the person is unable to process the amino acid, phenylalanine.  As a result, the levels of phenylalanine in the blood increase to very toxic levels.  This can cause a variety of complications, including brain damage and even mimic many of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.  Aspartame contains the amino acid phenylalanine in the blood and therefore should be avoided.

Metabolic Syndrome is a collection of conditions that may increase the risk of Diabetes Type 2, stroke or heart disease.  Research suggests that in middle age people, the consumption of soft drinks, including diet soft drinks may boost the risk of metabolic syndrome.  This is due to the false presumption that because the diet soft drinks contain no calories, they can eat more calories, therefore increasing their caloric content of foods.  This may in turn lead to increased body weight.

The Effects of Caffeine

Last but not least, soft drinks contain amounts of caffeine.  Caffeine is mildly addictive at low doses.  We might know that caffeine manifests as behavioural changes.  These include:

  • Increased alertness;
  • Increased energy;
  • Increased ability to concentrate.

Some of the benefits of caffeine may sound appealing and is ok in moderation but it is what leads to the addictive nature of soft drinks and is not ideal for our kids. So while many people love the taste of soft drinks they really are only for an occasional treat.

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