Step away from the soda and no one gets hurt

Pop. Ssssst. Glug. That sweet, carbonated drink may be refreshing, but too much of that sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) might be putting your health and the health of your family at risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, SSBs provide the largest source of added sugar in the diet of U.S. youths. An increase in caloric intake can contribute to obesity and consequential diseases like Type 2 diabetes.

Negative Effects of Drinking Soda

“These drinks provide no nutritional value,” said Scott & White clinical dietitian Gladys Skinner. “And [regular] sodas tend to replace nutritionally important beverages like milk.”

Drinking regular sodas on a daily basis can also lead to an increase in the intake of phosphoric acid, which is found in some sodas.

“This can eat away at tooth enamel, thus allowing bacteria to mix with sugar in the mouth and form cavities,” Ms. Skinner said.

Many sodas also contain caffeine, which could stimulate calcium loss and create withdrawal-like symptoms if consumption is stopped abruptly.


And exchanging a clear, colorless regular soda for a dark-colored soda isn’t going to reduce your risk.

“Some parents think that 7up or Sprite are not as bad,” said Scott & White pediatrician and internal medicine doctor Catherine J. McNeal, MD, PhD. “This simply isn’t true with respect to sugar.”

And even diet sodas have even been linked to pediatric obesity and adverse health effects in adults.

How to Reduce or Eliminate Soda Intake

The doctor said the best way to keep from drinking sodas is to not buy them or keep them in the house.

And if you want to keep your children from consuming SSBs, then start by modeling the behavior you want to see.

“If your child asked for a cigarette, you would think it was ludicrous,” Dr. McNeal said. “However, the impact of obesity and the subsequent risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and hypertension is equally if not more dangerous at this age. Thus, to approve the use of sodas can have equivalent detrimental consequences on long-term health as much as approving of tobacco use.”

Dr. McNeal suggests starting the process of eliminating sodas from your family’s diet by having the family agree to a plan to reduce and ultimately eliminate these beverages. That can include buying a less-desirable flavor, reducing the amount purchased or just going “cold-turkey”.

So, what should you and your family be drinking? Low fat milk and water are the best followed by zero calorie or very low calorie beverages such as flavored waters, Crystal Light, diet Kool-aid, or sports drinks. Dr. McNeal said.

Does your family have a soda drinking problem? Do you think you’ll consider weaning your family off the SSB?

About the author

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Jessa McClure holds a degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, TX, where she is currently an adviser for student publications. She has been a writer in the health care field since 2009.

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Step away from the soda and no one gets hurt