The Dangers of Soft Drinks


Carbonated drinks sold in cans or bottles can cause serious health problems.


Often soft drinks are thought of as harmless drinks that are fine to give to children and others. But these fizzy carbonated drinks, can in fact cause a number of serious health problems. Generally this will happen when they are taken as a regular part of the diet. There is a long list of conditions that recent research has linked to soft drinks. The list includes tooth decay [1, 2, 3], Type 2 Diabetes [4], Fractures [5], Osteoporosis, Reflux Disease (GERD) [6, 7], Pancreatic Cancer [8], High Blood Sugar [8], Inflammation, especially of the blood vessels [4, 9], cardiovascular disease [4, 9], Metabolic Syndrome [10, 11, 12],  Kidney disorders [13, 14], and obesity [15].


Both sugary and diet drinks soft drinks cause problems

The sugars in the soft drinks are only part of the problem [14]. Many soft drinks are very high in sugars, about 10 teaspoons in a 330ml can [16]. But even with diet drinks many problems still occur. People who have type 2 diabetes who drank diet soft drinks were found to increase their risk of inflammation which is linked to serious cardiovascular problems [4].


Fizzy drinks affect the ability of the body to lay down calcium in the bones

Fizzy drinks have been found to affect the ability of the body to lay down calcium in the bones. With low levels of calcium and other important minerals the bones will be weaker. Research shows links between carbonated drinks, osteoporosis and fractures [5]. Carbonated drinks can cause and aggravate acid reflux. This is a condition which in the extreme may damage the oesophagus (the tube the food passes down on the way to the stomach), so much that the person is at risk of cancer of the oesophagus [6, 7]. Another form of cancer that has been found to be associated with soft drinks is pancreatic cancer. In the case of pancreatic cancer it seems the high blood sugar level caused by not only soft drinks but also sweetened fruit soups and stewed fruit may be a trigger for cancer [8].


Problems of Caffeine in Soft Drinks

Another problem with soft drinks is the high levels of caffeine that they often contain. Caffeine has been linked to a host of problems, in particular behavioural disorders, depression, high blood pressure, dementia, anxiety, and the list goes on and on.


So should you switch to fruit juice?

Yes if it is squeezed freshly - that means you have squeezed it either by hand or in a juicer. But NO  if it is in a carton or bottle. Studies show that fruit juices are also high in sugars and acids; these can also cause problems such as the Metabolic Syndrome (this syndrome involves serious problems with the cardiovascular system and blood sugar levels, and often it includes diabetes). Fruit juices can also cause tooth decay.


So what to drink?

The best thing to drink is water plain and simple. It is the best nutrient for your body. It will not cause any problems. Herbal teas are another good option. And if you want to add a little flavour to the water, try squeezing a little fresh orange juice into it.


Contact Bay Health Clinic today to find out more or to book a consultation with one of our Naturopaths; if needed they will also prepare tailored herbal medicines and recommend supplements to help you feel your best.  Call 07 571 3226 or email us:



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2.        Touger-Decker, R. and C. van Loveren, Sugars and dental caries. Am J Clin Nutr, 2003. 78(4): p. 881S-892.

3.        Lineback, D.R. and J.M. Jones, Sugars and Health Workshop: summary and conclusions. Am J Clin Nutr, 2003. 78(4): p. 893S-897.

4.        Schulze, M.B., et al., Dietary pattern, inflammation, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in women. Am J Clin Nutr, 2005. 82(3): p. 675-684.

5.        Libuda, L., et al., Association between long-term consumption of soft drinks and variables of bone modeling and remodeling in a sample of healthy German children and adolescents. Am J Clin Nutr, 2008. 88(6): p. 1670-1677.

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8.        Larsson, S.C., L. Bergkvist, and A. Wolk, Consumption of sugar and sugar-sweetened foods and the risk of pancreatic cancer in a prospective study. Am J Clin Nutr, 2006. 84(5): p. 1171-1176.

9.        Esmaillzadeh, A., et al., Dietary Patterns and Markers of Systemic Inflammation among Iranian Women. J. Nutr., 2007. 137(4): p. 992-998.

10.      Dhingra, R., et al., Soft Drink Consumption and Risk of Developing Cardiometabolic Risk Factors and the Metabolic Syndrome in Middle-Aged Adults in the Community. Circulation, 2007. 116(5): p. 480-488.

11.      Lutsey, P.L., L.M. Steffen, and J. Stevens, Dietary Intake and the Development of the Metabolic Syndrome: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Circulation, 2008. 117(6): p. 754-761.

12.      Yoshida, M., et al., Surrogate Markers of Insulin Resistance Are Associated with Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Drinks and Fruit Juice in Middle and Older-Aged Adults. J. Nutr., 2007. 137(9): p. 2121-2127.

13.      Curhan, G.C., et al., Prospective Study of Beverage Use and the Risk of Kidney Stones. Am. J. Epidemiol., 1996. 143(3): p. 240-247.

14.      Johnson, R.J., et al., Potential role of sugar (fructose) in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr, 2007. 86(4): p. 899-906.

15.      Bes-Rastrollo, M., et al., Predictors of weight gain in a Mediterranean cohort: the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra Study 1. Am J Clin Nutr, 2006. 83(2): p. 362-370.

16.      Chacko, E., I. McDuff, and R. Jackson, Replacing sugar-based soft drinks with sugar-free alternatives could slow the progress of the obesity epidemic: have your Coke® and drink it too.   Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 2003. 116(1184).