The Dangers of Sodas and Diet Drinks
Sodas and colas are incredibly popular across the world. These beverages account for more than a quarter of all drinks consumed in the United States. More than 15 billion gallons were sold in 2000. That works out to at least one 12-ounce can per day for every man, woman and child. Sodas are full of empty calories and will contribute to obesity, tooth decay, weakened bones and caffeine dependence. Studies have shown strong links between children who drink sodas and childhood obesity.
No one can deny the ties to soda and tooth decay, and it isn't just the high levels of sugar that cause it. The acids in sodas begin to etch away the tooth enamel within 20 minutes. These acids also upset the gastrointestinal system and cause many stomach disorders, as well as disturb the acid/base balance in the body, making an acid climate in which disease flourishes. Sodas are a huge contributor to caffeine dependence, and it often starts with young children. And diet colas are often packed with a lot more caffeine than their regular counterparts.
With the popularity of stimulant drinks such as Red Bull, that contain extra amounts of caffeine, there is a reported rise in aggressive behavior and violence among youths that consume these drinks. Besides acids and caffeine, sodas contain phosphorus, an ingredient shown to weaken bones by promoting the loss of calcium. Phosphorus contributes to bone breakage during childhood, and osteoporosis later in life. Another danger is aspartame added to diet sodas as a sugar substitute. There are over 92 different health related side effects associated with aspartame consumption, including brain tumors, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and epilepsy/seizures. Plus, when aspartame is kept in warm areas or stored for long periods of time, it changes to methanol, an alcohol that converts to formaldehyde and formic acid, both of which are carcinogens. There really are no good reasons to drink sodas. Juices, herbal teas and water are much better substitutes.
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