The Soda Epidemic

Soda toxic chemicals


Consumption of Regular and Diet Sodas are Linked to Early Death

While it’s common knowledge that soda has been linked to obesity, recent research found that individuals who consume both sugary and artificially sweetened sodas regularly have a higher risk of early death. 

The study coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, published by Jama Internal Medicine, reported the analysis for more than 450,0000 people, spread across 10 European countries. The individuals who participated averaged just over the age of 50 and nearly 70% of whom were women. The study took place between 1992-2000 and was then followed up in 2018 - during which time more than 41,600 deaths were recorded. The research shows that frequent consumption of artificially sweetened sodas was associated with a higher risk of death from circulatory disease, while sugar-sweetened sodas were associated with a higher risk of death from digestive diseases. 

The people who participated were asked a series of initial questions about aspects of their diet and lifestyle, including their average consumption of all soft drinks. Of course, there are many factors that contribute to the death tolls, including body mass index, diet, physical activity, and smoking. However, the study's chief researcher Neil Murphy of the International Agency for Research on Cancer claimed: “We made statistical adjustments in our analyses for BMI, smoking habits and other mortality risk factors which may have biased our results, and the positive associated remained.” These significant results of the study reinforce the fact that processed and artificial ingredients are detrimental to human health. 

So what ingredients in soda are the main contributors to an early death? 

Unsurprisingly, the most abundant ingredient in soda is sugar. Processed sugars including artificial sweeteners like aspartame have been linked to 92 different health issues, such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, and leukemia. Phosphoric acid is another ingredient in soda, that actually affects the body's ability to absorb calcium and leads to lower bone density. Carcinogenic additives and coloring agents used in sodas are arguably among the most dangerous ingredients. Additionally, a combination of chemicals and additives cause chemical reactions that generate toxic byproducts that wind up in soda beverages. For example, 4-Methylimidazole (4-Mel) is formed as a byproduct of caramel coloring due to the reaction between the sugar, ammonia and ammonia sulfite. According to the National Toxicity Program, 4-Mel found in soda can lead to infertility, thyroid dysfunction and multiple forms of cancer. 

“Our results for sugar-sweetened soft drinks provide further support to limit consumption and to replace them with other healthier beverages,” said Dr. Neil Murphy who led the study. It can be difficult to kick the habit of drinking soda, but it can be easier knowing there are beneficial alternatives that can do not harm your health. Iced tea, sparkling water, coffee, fresh juice, kombucha, and coconut water are all tasty substitutes that can fulfill your craving and give you the boost of energy that you’re looking for. 

Sources: 1, 2, 3