We’ve heard it again and again: Fizzy drinks are bad for us. While most of us are fully aware that sweetened carbonated drinks and sparkling water aren’t exactly healthy, how many people know the true extent of its effects on the body? Here are ten important and sometimes surprising reasons to avoid them:
1. Reproductive Issues
Cans that hold your soft drink are often lined with BPA, which acts as a barrier between the metal and the drink. BPA (bisphenol A) is a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to diabetes, infertility, and even reproductive cancers.
2. Kidney Problems
In a Harvard Medical School study of more than 3,000 women, researchers found that diet soft drinks were associated with a two-fold increased risk for kidney decline. Kidney function started declining when women drank more than two soft drinks a day.
3. Terrible Hangovers
Cocktails made with diet soft drinks get you drunker, faster, according to a study out of the Northern Kentucky University in the US. That’s because sugar-free mixers allow liquor to enter your bloodstream much quicker than those with sugar, leaving you with a bigger buzz.
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A Tufts University study found that daily consumption of colas is associated with low bone-mineral density in older women. The link was not found in other carbonated soft drinks. The likely cause? Phosphoric acid, which is unique to colas.
5. Cancer-Causing Chemicals
The caramel coloring that gives colas their trademark look contains two contaminants that are known to cause cancer in animals. The weirdest part is that the caramel coloring is often used purely for aesthetic purposes and doesn’t affect the taste of the drink so why include it at all?
The high amounts of sugar in fizzy drinks triggers the release of dopamine in our bodies, which makes us feel good. But this is also how highly addictive cocaine works, which could explain why it’s so hard to give up sugar, even though we know it’s bad for us.
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7. Nerve Disorders
Many soft drinks, particularly citrus flavored ones, contain flame retardants in the form of brominated vegetable oil. It’s used to stop the flavouring from separating from the drink but the chemical has been linked to alarming conditions, such as nerve disorders, memory loss, and skin lesions.
Yes, you read that right. Fizzy drinks are polluting our water because while our bodies are able to excrete the artificial sweeteners contained in most soft drinks, they then flow into our waterways and contaminate our ecosystem.
9. Uncomfortable Bloating
The gas in fizzy drinks and even sparkling water fills the stomach with air. If you suffer from bloating, the extra gas will make it worse as the air will simply sit in the stomach. The gas – namely carbonic acid – will also aggravate irritable bowel syndrome.
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10. Weight Gain
Some flavoured sparkling water contains sodium, natural and artificial acids, sweeteners, and other additives. All of these could contain hidden calories and extra sodium. Also, these additives can lead to cavities and weight gain over time.
(Text by Karen Fitall, Good Health (Bauer) / Additional Reporting by Natalya Molok)