A study was published in the Journal of Circulation in 2015 that stated, scientist have estimated that soft-drinks are responsible for 184,000 deaths in adults every year by causing heart disease, cancer, and strokes. Despite the many published studies that prove the harmful affects of these popular drinks, soft-drinks will continue to be readily available to adults and children in every school, every corner store, every food establishment, and every event, solely because it is an extremely profitable product and even more addicting.
So how harmful are soft-drinks and why? First to understand just how injurious these popular beverages are, how they are made and what they contain must first be understood. After understanding their chemical composition, it is then much easier to understand the damage they create within the body and their destructive nutritional pattern.
How Are Soft-Drinks Made
Soft-drinks are beverages that are carbonated by an artificial process that dissolves carbon dioxide into a liquid under high pressure; when that pressure is released, small bubbles develop. Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced by burning carbon and organic compounds; it is also a waste byproduct created during respiration. During this carbonation process, some of the carbon dioxide produce carbonic acid, both of which are highly acidic.
Aside from the carbonation, many of these drinks contain processed sugars or artificial sweeteners that are found in diet drinks that are toxic to the nervous system; coupled with chemicals (artificial sweeteners) that have been proven to be carcinogenic (cancer causing), along with a strong link to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), along with a long list of other aliments.
Soft-drinks hold no nutritional value and because of their high phosphorus content, they are antagonistic to calcium, which can affect bone and connective tissue metabolism, contributing to the weakening of the bones and tissues in diseases such as osteoporosis, aneurysms, prolapses, etc.
The high phosphorus content and imbalance of minerals and other vital nutrients cause these drinks to be acidic and have a low pH around 2.7; the body’s fluids must maintain a slightly alkaline pH of 7.34 to sustain healthy cell function. In an attempt to maintain proper internal balance the body may take alkalizing minerals from it’s tissues and reserves, depleting the body of essential nutrients.
The caffeine content and/or chemicals further overstimulate and disrupt normal cell activity. This often hinders the process of nutrition and elimination, and is the beginning process of building disease. Any disease may manifest under these specific conditions, but listed below are specific findings from studies that are specifically from soft-drink consumption.
1. Increase risk of developing cancer
There have been many studies that have identified the links between soft-drink consumption and various types of cancers. A Chinese health study led by Dr. Pereira from the University of Minnesota and his colleagues followed 60,324 men and women in Singapore for 14 year. They found that those who consumed 2 or more cans a day or an average of 5 cans a weeks, were 87% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer compared to those who did not drink soft-drinks. Dr. Pereira stated that these findings were likely applicable to all western countries.
Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was conducted by a group of Swedish scientists who followed 8,000 men between the ages of 45 to 73 years old for 15 years. They found that those who consumed just 1 can a day had a 40% higher chance of developing prostate cancer.
A Harvard study found that 1 and a half cans a day increased the risk of women developing breast caner and the early onset of puberty is young girls.
2. Increases Risk of Heart Disease
A group of American scientists conducted a study that was published in the Journal of JAMA Internal Medicine, that found 3 cans of soda a day tripled an individuals risk of developing heart disease.
3. Causes Diabetes
Research presented to the American Heart Association included a study that was conducted from 1990 to 2000. They found that with the increased consumption of soft-drinks, there was also an estimated 130,000 new cases of diabetes.
Most soft-drinks are sugar saturated and this leads many diabetics to drink diet soft-drinks, but a study published in the Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology was the first to link the connection between soft-drinks and what is called proliferation diabetic retinopathy. This is a severe type of diabetic blindness.
A study published in the Medical News Today concluded that both sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened (diet) beverages are linked to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Diet soft-drinks have been marketed as healthier, but there continues to be a growing body of evidence that proves that artificial sweeteners are detrimental to the health of the body.
4. May Cause Liver Damage
In 2009 scientist from Israel conducted a study led by Nimer Assy that was published in the Journal of Hepatology. They found that 2 cans a day caused liver damage. In the participants 80% developed fatty liver changes and 17% developed a fatty liver.
When alcohol is not involved it is called, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and it is caused by a buildup of fat in the liver. This type of liver disease is the most common in the United States and can lead to scarring of the liver that may lead to a life-threatening condition called cirrhosis.
5. Increases Aggression in Teens
The body does not work in isolation. What affects one area of the body affects the body in its entirety. When the body is in a state of stress or disease, so is the brain.
A study held by Dr. Sara Solnick from the University of Vermont found that teenagers who drank 2 or more cans a week were more aggressive towards their peers and siblings. This maybe contributed to the chemical structure of sugar that has been compared to cocaine, along with the colorants that are toxic to the nervous system. Synthetic sweeteners may also be found to heighten these issue due to their direct stimulating affects upon the brain.
6. May Induce Premature Births in Pregnant Women
A study done out of Denmark followed 60,000 pregnant women found that they were more likely to give birth prematurely. It is thought that the artificial sweeteners change the hormonal balance and may possibly negatively affected the womb. This is more than possible when looking at how the body responds to artificial sweeteners; they act as stimulants and over stimulate cells throughout the body.
7. Can Change the Brain
Dr. Blaylock is a retired neurosurgeon and has risked his reputation to not only study but speak out against the affects synthetic sweeteners have on the brain. He has coined the word “excitotoxins,” a substance that over-excites the brain cells to death. He has found that these chemicals have devastating affects on the brain.
To concur with Dr. Blaylock’s work, Jane Franklin from Macquarie University in Sydney found that soft-drinks increase hyperactivity. Not only have the synthetic sweeteners and sugar been known to cause hyperactivity, but the synthetic colorants also play a major factor in this behavior.
8. Premature Aging
There are two primary reasons soft-drinks may cause premature aging: processed sugar and phosphorus. This type of aging goes beyond the outside appearance, as the internal structure ages as well, making someone more vulnerable to the development of disease.
An excessive amount of sugar creates something that is called Advances Glycation End-Products (AGES). It is a process where sugar molecules fuse to the cells and harden, similar to cooking sugar on the stove. This hardening makes the cells vulnerable to oxidation, damage. This process only occurs in an acidic environment. The fact that processed sugars contain no nutrients and create a hostile environment within the body, it is the ideal substance for this process to occur.
In addition, a study published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal found that high levels of phosphorus accelerated aging.
Phosphorus is essential to the body, but in the correct amounts and balance. The body attempts to keep this delicate balance between calcium and phosphorus. When an excessive amount of phosphorus is ingested, the body withdraws calcium from it’s tissues. The first sign of this occurring is brittle nail, teeth problems, thinning hair, and premature aging.
A study conducted by the University of Texas found that those who consume soft-drinks are three times more likely to be obese. This is just one of many studies to prove this to be fact. Soft-drinks are void nutrients, contain chemicals, and an excessive amount of processed sugar; a perfect recipe for obesity.
10. Increases Risk of Alzheimer's
Dr. Blaylock has written books on the affects synthetic sweeteners have on the brain, and the findings are devastating. With brain-cell death comes brain diseases, one including Alzheimer's.
Not only are synthetic sweeteners detrimental to the brain, but processed sugar alters the pH of the body, decreasing oxygen and starves the brain of this essential non-food nutrient.
A study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry held by the University of Alabama found that mice that were given soft-drinks suffered from memory impairment.
Soft-drinks are one of the most legal detrimental substances consumed out of pure enjoyment, habit, or addiction, apart from cigarettes. They do not benefit the body in any way; on the contrary, they rob the body of not only its vitality, but health.
The health ramifications go beyond cavities and weight issues and give rise for great concern. A drink that has been marketed to the young and old, and portrayed as harmless is at the very least a poison and by definition, a drug.
Excellent and definitely will benefit our listening audience. Soft drinks or POP as some would call it was one of the first things that I had to make a decision to give up. Your article reinforces that I made the right choice years ago. Todah Raba for a "WELL WRITTEN" article. Moreh Medadyahu