Research at the University of Connecticut Center for Osteoporosis has shown that soda and carbonated beverages may compromise bone health.
Dr. Lawrence Raisz, director of the University of Connecticut Center for Osteoporosis, says “there is enough evidence that high consumption of soda and carbonated beverages is associated with somewhat lower bone mass in children.”
Researchers are not certain of the exact mechanism for this; however, they have believe that drinking soda, especially colas, affects bone density in many ways. The first theory is that those who drink colas are less likely to drink more nutritious beverages, such as milk or calcium-fortified juice.
The second theory is due to the caffeine in colas. Caffeine has previously been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis.
The third theory is that the phosphoric acid contained in colas causes an imbalance in the body as it attempts to neutralize the acid with calcium. If there isn’t enough calcium in the diet, the body will rob the calcium from bone.
A study of over 2,500 people an average of 60 years old performed at Tufts University has found that cola consumption by women is linked with lower bone mineral density at three hip sites, regardless of age, menopause, total calcium, and vitamin D intake. The women drank an average of five carbonated beverages each week, four of which were colas.
The researchers found fewer issues with decaffeinated cola, but they found similar results for diet sodas. They did not find any links between drinking colas and lower bone mass in men.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, over half of Americans, especially postmenopausal women, have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Low levels of calcium are associated with the development of osteoporosis.
Dr. Primal Kaur, director of the Osteoporosis Center at Temple University Health Sciences Center in Philadelphia, recommends that people should get between 1,000 and 1,200 mg of calcium each day. If you are not getting this much from your diet, Dr. Kaur recommends taking calcium supplements.
Dr. Raisz suggests exercise to help prevent osteoporosis. He also recommends performing some form of weight-bearing exercise, such as weight lifting.
Previous research has shown that diet soda is linked to metabolic syndrome. It has also been shown that sugary drinks, such as colas, may be linked to weight gain. All of these studies provide a strong case that colas are harmful to your health in many ways. If you drink soda several times per week, try to replace them with water or tea, which has several health benefits. Start slow and try to work your way to drinking sodas on rare occasions.