New Reason to Step Away from the Soda
Drinking carbonated soft drinks (also known as sodas) has been implicated in the growing obesity epidemic. New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, notoriously attempted to curb the obesity problem in his city by banning the sale of oversized portions of sugary sodas. The ban sought to limit the size of sweetened soft drinks to 16 ounces or less. Although the move was blocked by a state judge, it certainly helped focus attention on the issue of soda’s role in the ongoing overweight/obesity crisis.
Some argue that high fructose corn syrup, used in many soft drinks, may play a role in rising rates of obesity, including among children. Others argue that the type of sugar used to sweeten drinks is irrelevant; excess sugars are to blame, they say. Period. Regardless of the sweetener consumed, most experts agree that soft drinks are a major source of empty calories, and these excess calories are not good for you. Intake of soft drinks jumped five-fold between 1950 and 2000, and the sugary beverages now account for nearly half of most Americans’ excess calories from added sugar. Few would argue that excess sugar calories from soft drinks don’t contribute to obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease, etc.
Now, according to a report published in General Dentistry, there’s a new reason to avoid soft drinks: They’re hard on teeth. Dr. Mohamed A. Bassiouny studied the enamel of a variety of patients and came to a shocking conclusion: even diet soft drinks are as bad for teeth as crack cocaine or methamphetamine abuse. That’s because soft drinks—even those with zero calories—are loaded with corrosive citric acid, which erodes enamel, making cavities more likely. According to his study, the teeth of soft drink users resembled the teeth of crack or meth addicts. Neither of those populations are known for their sparkling teeth and healthy gums.
Academy of General Dentistry (2013, May 28). Soda and illegal drugs cause similar damage to teeth: Acids erode enamel. ScienceDaily.
Bassiouny MA. Dental erosion due to abuse of illicit drugs and acidic carbonated beverages. Gen Dent. 2013 Mar-Apr;61(2):38-44.
Bray GA. Energy and fructose from beverages sweetened with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup pose a health risk for some people. Adv Nutr. 2013 Mar 1;4(2):220-5. doi: 10.3945/an.112.002816.
Morgan RE. Does consumption of high-fructose corn syrup beverages cause obesity in children? Pediatr Obes. 2013 Apr 29. doi: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2013.00173.x. [Epub ahead of print]