Soda is fattening, causes cavities, and is linked to diseases such as diabetes. But if those facts aren’t enough for you to kick the habit, maybe these one will be:
1. “Diet” Soda Isn’t Diet
Diet soda is thought to be a healthier alternative to regular soda, but research says otherwise. The University of Texas Health Science Center conducted a study to observe the effects of drinking diet soda. Researchers examined 475 adults for 10 years and discovered that the waist circumference of participants who drank diet soda expanded by 70 percent. Those who drank more than two diet sodas per day increased their waist size by 500 percent. In another study that examined the effects of diet soda, the researchers concluded that the ingredient responsible for weight gain is aspartame, an artificial sweetener that increases glucose levels in the blood. Aspartame causes excess glucose, which the liver converts into fat.
2. Cancerous Coloring
The artificial coloring used to dye Coke and Pepsi brown is harmful, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The coloring forms out of corn sugar that reacts with ammonia and sulfites under intense heat and pressure. This reaction produces the chemicals 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole (4-MI), which have been shown to cause lung, liver, and thyroid cancer in animals. The Food and Drug Administration concluded “4-MI is not a threat to human health,” and there is no evidence showing the chemical to cause cancer in humans. However, according to California’s Proposition 65 list of cancer-causing chemicals, consuming more than 16 micrograms of 4-MI per day could have harmful effects. Considering that a 12 ounce can of soda contains approximately 130 micrograms of 4-MI, and the average American consumes roughly 14 ounces of soda per day, a high percentage of the population is at risk.
3. Aging Catalyst
Both diet and regular colas contain phosphoric acid, which gives cola its tangy taste and prevents the growth of bacteria and mold. The tangy taste may be satisfying, but consuming excessive amounts of phosphoric acid can lead to numerous health problems, such as heart and kidney damage, muscle loss, osteoporosis, and even premature aging. According to a study published in the FASEB Journal, the large amount of phosphoric acid in sodas caused lab rats to die five weeks sooner than rats that consumed regular quantities of phosphoric acid. This finding is unsettling, given that soda companies have increased the levels of phosphoric acid in sodas over the last two decades.
4. A Thirst and Flame Quencher
Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is an industrial chemical that serves as a flame-retardant in plastics and prevents the artificial flavoring from separating from the rest of the soda. When consumed in large amounts, this versatile chemical has been found to cause memory loss and nerve disorders. Researchers have also suggested that BVO may cause infertility and heart muscle lesions over time. While Europe and Japan have already outlawed the harmful chemical, BVO remains prevalent in many citrus-based sodas in North America. Although Coca-Cola and PepsiCo claimed they would remove BVO from their products by the end of 2014, the chemical can still be found in sodas such as Squirt, Sun Drop, and Sunkist Peach.
5. Would You Like Some Fecal Matter with That?
When your drink is from a soda dispenser, it may contain unwanted materials. According to study published in the January 2010 issue of International Journal of Food Biology, coliform bacteria, which is associated with fecal matter, can be found in beverages from self-serve and restaurant-served fountains. In the study, researchers from Virginia Western Community College tested beverage samples from 90 different soda fountains in one area of Virginia and discovered that almost half of the samples contained coliform bacteria. Out of the sample, 20 percent contained “amounts higher than what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows in drinking water…and more than 11 percent of the analyzed drinks contained E. coli bacteria, a type of coliform that the EPA does not allow for any amount of drinking water.” The researchers attributed the presence of these bacteria in fountain beverages to people touching “the dispensing nozzles and a lack of proper cleaning to disinfect them.” Gross.