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FYI SOUTH Magazine, Winter 2007

Soda's hidden hazards

Soda's hidden hazards

Soda's hidden hazards

By Daniel C. Luthi, Nutrition Educator & Chinese Herbalist Translated by Ann Lee

Besides insane amounts of sugar, cancer-causing additives and bone-demolishing chemicals, what's in a soda? Absolutely nothing else! But these three main components pose enormous health hazards. First, there is the huge amount of sugar in these drinks—up to 10 teaspoons (that's 100% of recommended daily sugar intake!) in one 12-ounce can or bottle. Too much sugar can lead to obesity, diabetes, tooth decay and many other related illnesses. Secondly, diet soft drinks contain saccharin and/or aspartame, both of which have demonstrated, in numerous studies, an increased risk for various cancers—even at one or two bottles per day. Saccharin is believed to have a cancer-causing effect on the bladder, as well as on female reproductive organs. Aspartame has been implicated to cause headaches, brain tumors and brain lesions. These studies have not been conclusive but they surely advocate the consumption of both of these sweeteners sparingly.

The third factor, and my main concern about soda, is its lack of nutrients and its chemical profile. It contains high levels of sodium, phosphoric acid and virtually no calcium. When excessive sodium and phosphoric acid is excreted it pulls calcium from the bones, causing poor bone mineralization in children and osteoporosis (low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue leading to fractures) in adults. Frequent exposure to this phosphoric acid also softens tooth enamel leading to an increased risk for tooth decay and cavities. As today's lifestyle already comprises of multiple risk factors for osteoporosis, such as smoking, excessive alcohol, low calcium intake, Vitamin D deficiency and menopause, as well as an inactive lifestyles and just getting older, the last thing we need is one more added risk factor.

That said, an occasional soda can be a very satisfying and delightfully thirst-quenching experience and as such presents about as much of a danger to your health as your occasional doughnut or fried chicken, and possibly less than a scooter ride to your nearby 7-11. The health hazard lies in the two or more cans of soda a day, diet or regular, ingested over many years. The long-term, combined effect of high phosphoric acid, high sugar/artificial sweetener, and low calcium levels in the blood is what we should avoid. The most affected by all these toxins are children. Imagine what high sugar, phosphoric acid and caffeine levels can do to their weight, brains, teeth, bones, skin, attention span, learning abilities and sleep patterns! So, parents, please remember, soft drinks should not be included in the diet of children under the age of 11, except as an occasional treat!


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