How many times have you turned to soft drinks when you’re thirsty? Soft drinks and carbonated drinks and beverages have become a huge part of American diets. What’s the connection between soft drinks and health, though? Is it okay to drink so many carbonated beverages? Make a soft drinks list to figure out how much you really drink in a given week and compare it with the health information in reputable sources.
What are Soft Drinks?
Soft drinks are made up of carbonated water, flavor additives and sugar. Diet soft drinks replace the sugar with sweetener. Every soft drink has varying ingredients. Also, some soft drinks have caffeine while others are caffeine-free. Some people have to be careful of the caffeine in soft drinks, since caffeine can cause stress and lead to health problems.
Types of Soft Drinks
- Cola: In 1881, the first cola-flavored soft drink was introduced to the market. Today, cola can be made with or without caffeine.
- Cream Soda: Delicious, frothy cream soda is a favorite choice for ice cream floats. Since there’s so much sugar in cream soda, though, you should drink it in moderation. Sugary foods should only make up 15 percent or less of your daily diet.
- Other popular carbonated beverages include ginger ale, fruit-flavored soda and low calorie soda.
Soft Drinks and Your Health
There are tons of studies on the health risks associated with soft drinks. It can be difficult to separate biased information from facts, since a lot of these studies are conducted by people in the beverage industry. Also, most of the studies on humans as opposed to animals rely on a person’s memory to recall how many soft drinks they consume. Which ones should you take into account and which ones should you ignore?
Here are some of the most important medical findings on soft drinks:
- Diet soda may increase your risk for stroke.
- Both diet and regular soda may lead to kidney damage, obesity and even cancer.
- Regular soda can elevate your blood pressure.
Weight gain is a large problem associated with soft drinks. Even diet soda, which alone won’t make you gain weight, may increase appetite. Overall, soft drinks make up a huge portion of empty calories in the typical American diet. Cutting out soft drinks is often the first suggestion for people who want to lose weight.