It seems these days that doctors regularly unveil new research about the effects of soda on the body. For millions of people, these popular beverages have far more detrimental effects on the body than most would care to admit. If you must have one soda a day—or worse, several sodas a day—the facts of what this bubbly beverage is doing to your body may have you rethinking what you’re drinking.
Soda on the Brain
The human brain is naturally rich in the protein BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Without this chemical, the brain can’t form new memories and has difficulty learning or recalling new information. Drinking excessive amounts of sugar, which is present in many soft drinks, reduces BDNF. This reduction contributes to insulin resistance, which can lead to a host of other health problems.
A study released by the University of Copenhagen revealed that low BDNF levels may also play a role in the development of dementia and depression, and yet another—performed by the University of Minnesota in 2010—found that chronic sugar consumption hinders your brain’s ability to know when you’re full, making it harder to know when to stop eating.
Soda and Your Teeth
For most, drinking a soda once in a while won’t make much of a difference in the way of dental health. For those who overdo it, the effect the beverage has on the teeth is shocking. Not only does the sugar in soda cause cavities, soda is so acidic that it is equivalent to drinking battery acid, as far as your teeth are concerned. Soft drinks typically include phosphoric or citric acid, which corrodes tooth enamel. If you think switching to diet soda will save your pearly whites, think again: diet sodas have a pH of 3.2, a higher acidity than regular sugar-laden drinks.
Soda drinkers may be more susceptible to bone density loss and osteoporosis. This is partially due to the fact that those drinking many sodas a day may not drink other healthier drinks like sugar-free fruit juice, water, and milk.
Lungs Are Affected Too
In a surprising study released by the University of Adelaide, soft drinks are attributed to the development of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, or COPD. The more sodas you drink, the more likely it is that you will develop a lung disease or disorder. If you combine drinking soda with smoking cigarettes, your risk of developing COPD more than doubles.
By now, most people know that soda can lead to obesity. However, many people don’t know that soda leads to excessive fat around the liver, heart, and skeletal muscles as well. Danish researchers found that by simply drinking one soda per day for six months, a person would see an increase of liver fat and fat around other organs in the body.
Contrary to popular belief, diet soda isn’t any better and will not help you lose weight. Although diet sodas have fewer calories than their sugary counterparts, regularly drinking diet sodas will actually contribute to weight gain in the long run. Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center found in a study that diet soft drink consumption is actually associated with increased waistline circumference.
All Things in Moderation
In a nutshell, soda has absolutely no redeeming qualities. If consumed in excess, soft drinks can often do irrevocable damage to your body. However, as with many food items, the key is in moderation. If you must have a soda once in a while, it’s OK—just not every day.