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mrswho's avatar

Are carbonated beverages really that bad for you?

Asked by mrswho (1678 points ) February 15th, 2009

Everyone keeps telling me that if I continue to drink so many carbonated sodas that my bones will crumble (or somthing like that). I generally drink around 4 Coke zeroes a day and like my bones, but I also like their delicious goodness. Will I end up a boneless blob?

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15 Answers

Bluefreedom's avatar

Carbonated drinks can be very unhealthy for you for many reasons. Here are some good articles detailing this.

Soft Drinks: Unsafe Beverages

Liquid Candy

Soft Drinks, Hard Facts

laureth's avatar

Here you go: Link

mrswho's avatar

Darn it! My bones thank you. I was hoping answers more along the lines of “nope, you’re good” but thanks. Drat

augustlan's avatar

I’m glad I drink Sprite Zero. No caffeine, no cola, no problem?

laureth's avatar

No bubbles in Sprite Zero?

augustlan's avatar

@laureth From your link: The acid content in a carbonated beverage is 5 to 10 percent of what the body’s metabolism naturally produces, Heaney has found, which is far too little to interrupt the calcium absorption of bones. In general, he says, the carbonation in soda has no ill effect on bone-mineral content. (Emphasis mine)

Again from the link: Caffeine causes the kidneys to pull sodium from the blood using proteins that accidentally scoop up calcium ions as well. The body reverses this effect within 24 hours, however. Another commonly cited culprit is phosphoric acid, an ingredient in colas.

So it seems the carbonation is not the problem, but other ingredients not found in Sprite Zero.

However, I am sick and muddled at the moment, and may be interpreting this all wrong :)

laureth's avatar

Ah, okay. <Pops self on forehead> Duh! :)

adreamofautumn's avatar

Whether they are bad…more often than not “carbonated” means things like soda. Which are bad with or without carbonation. Also, disgusting.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Of course you won’t end up a boneless blob! You might end up a hunched-over 40-year-old who appears to be 60, and gets to spend that $6,000 you had lying around on hip-replacement surgery so that you can continue to walk at all.

Yes, many carbonated beverages contain high fructose corn syrup and phosphoric acid, which are actually “bad for you”. And of course “diet” drinks have artificial sweeteners, whose relative healthiness or unhealthiness could be debated at length by many intelligent people.

On the other hand, carbonation in itself is not harmful in the least. I drink (carbonated) club soda mixed with orange juice all the time, and there’s nothing unhealthy about that.

rooeytoo's avatar

I love Coca Cola, can’t help myself, but in deference to the bad press caffeine and sugar seem to be garnering, I have switched to soda water with a few drops of cordial. And I am getting used to it, I hardly miss Coke at all anymore (blatant lie)(trying to convince myself).

Darwin's avatar

The phosphoric acid (found in colas and Dr. Pepper and its clones) is both hard on your kidneys, which have to get rid of the excess, and may upset the calcium into bone mechanism by binding with calcium in the digestive tract in a way that traps the calcium and keeps your body from using it. In addition, the calcium-phosphorus connection doubles your risk of kidney stones (you really don’t want those). This is what my husband’s nephrologist tells us (and tells us again, because my husband really doesn’t want to give up his Coca Cola. He doesn’t have much choice, though, because I won’t buy it and he can’t drive.).

The brown coloration also puts a mild strain on the kidneys because they have to filter it out. This is no biggie for normal, healthy kidneys but can be a big problem for people like my husband who is operating on 30% of normal kidney function.

Thus, if you have to drink soda opt for one of the clear ones with citric acid instead of phosphoric acid.

To quote Wikipedia (yes, I know, but some bits are very good, well-written, and accurate summaries):

“Phosphoric acid, used in many soft drinks (primarily cola), has been linked to lower bone density in epidemiological studies…The paper cites significant statistical evidence to show that women who consume cola daily have lower bone density. Total phosphorus intake was not significantly higher in daily cola consumers than in nonconsumers; however, the calcium-to-phosphorus ratios were lower…The study does not examine the effect of phosphoric acid, which binds with magnesium and calcium in the digestive tract to form salts that are not absorbed…Cola consumption has also been linked to chronic kidney disease and kidney stones through medical research. This study differentiated between the effects of cola (generally contains phosphoric acid), non-cola carbonated beverages (substitute citric acid) and coffee (control for caffeine), and found that drinking 2 or more colas per day more than doubled the incidence of kidney disease.”

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphoric_acid#Biological_effects_on_bone_calcium_and_kidney_health )

tuqqer's avatar

The original question was about carbonation. Not sugar, or phosphorous, or caffeine.

I own a beverage company here in Boulder, Colorado. Periodically, the question of “Is carbonation ok for me?” comes up in our emails. The question always stems from two concerns that have been floating around the Internet:
1. Does carbonated water weaken bones or leach minerals?
2. Does carbonated water have too much sodium?

On bones: there isn’t a shread of scientific evidence that points to carbonated water having any effect, at all, on bones. Nor is there any conceivable means by which it could. Carbonation is simply carbon dioxide—CO2—which is a natural and extremely important part of human biology; it is our main way of balancing internal pH.

It is believed that the original fear around bone loss and fizzy drinks came from an ingredient used in some cokes and sodas, called phosphorous. Phosphorous may in fact leach calcium from the body. But many fizzy drinks don’t contain a speck of it. More importantly, it has nothing to do with the carbonation. Again, carbonation is simply CO2 gas. Nothing else.

On excess sodium: again, there’s no correlation at all with carbonated water and sodium. There is zero sodium in most fizzy drinks.

Again, carbonation is nothing more than carbon dioxide, something we produce every time we breath. It doesn’t leach minerals and it doesn’t contain salt.

rcuevas's avatar

I was glad to hear the answers about carbonation as my favorite drink is a naturally effervescent mineral water from Germany brand name Gerolsteiner. If it is naturally ocurring then I, as a kidney transplantee, won’t have a problem. My transplant is 16 months old and labs are great.

augustlan's avatar

@rcuevas Congrats on your successful transplant, and welcome to Fluther!

monkeymanjr's avatar

ha i love this, i dont believe anyone here has went through, a bladder mass or bladder infection due too soda? how bad is it for you? REALLY BAD if you ask me, ive went through a bladder mass and bladder infection due to too much soda, i was drinking 2 to 3 12 packs a day, of course i didnt know soda was bad for me, i was just so young. if you really want to know soda can cause the following i just listed, you pee out lots of blood and, little blood looking clots, both white and red, and it hurts too pee like no ones business when you first get them, from this day i still drink them but in precaution. trust me this stuff about bone decay and bad teeth is bullcrap hear it from someone whos been through it at a young age.

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