It is almost summer and to endure heat we increasingly reach for a glass of soft drink – the easiest, most affordable, and fastest way to quench your thirst. Quenching thirst at home, in the office, or outside with friends is no longer difficult … modern industry offers a wide variety of carbonated drinks, fruit juices, iced teas, dairy drinks, mineral water, and the choice is really not an easy one.
Consumption of soft drinks nowadays is not only an act of quenching thirst but also an act of social significance and impact on the human body. The most diverse, as well as the most criticized soft drinks are the so-called carbonated soft drinks, which we will take a look at in this article.
A few facts and history
In the most general sense, non-alcoholic beverages include all beverages that do not contain alcohol or contain only alcohol in minimal quantities of up to 0.5%. These are drinks artificially enriched with carbon dioxide, which is released at normal atmospheric pressure.
Saturation with sparkling gas can be natural – in spring water, where dioxide is acquired under conditions of underground high pressure, as well as artificial – as a by-product of fermentation (as in beer and some wines). Artificial carbonation (enrichment with carbon dioxide) was discovered in 1767 by Joseph Priestley but was introduced into industrial practice only in 1807.
Carbonated drinks are divided into the following several types:
- carbonated flavored (non-fruity type)
- carbonated fruity
- carbonated herbal
The content of sugar and dry matter in the different types of carbonated beverages ranges between 6.3 and 12.8%. The carbon dioxide content is over 0.35% and the shelf life is from 6 days to one year.
Undoubtedly, carbonated drinks are one of the most preferred ways to quench thirst. The variety of flavors and packaging make them preferred not only during the summer season, making it a constant companion and part of everyday life for each of us.
Carbonated drinks have a social significance – they gather friends and are the basis of pleasant emotions and experiences. Some even attribute digestive properties to them – we can often see people drinking a glass of Coca-Cola, soda, or Fanta after a meal.
The bitter facts about the “sweetness” of carbonated drinks
The main sweetener included in most carbonated beverages is corn syrup, which contains too much fructose. Unlike glucose, this monosaccharide is unable to stimulate the body to produce insulin, which is involved in carbohydrate metabolism. It also suppresses the production of leptin, which is responsible for the feeling of satiety.
According to a study, people who drink carbonated beverages are much more prone to the development of metabolic syndrome. It includes several symptoms – gaining weight in the abdomen, very low levels of “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc.
Unlike other “sweet” things, carbonated drinks do not quench thirst. This means that we take very large quantities of things that we do not really benefit from.
Relationship between the use of carbonated beverages and diabetes
The use of sweet carbonated drinks and a low-micronutrient diet is directly related to the onset and development of diabetes. People who consume one or more carbonated beverages a day are twice as likely to develop diabetes as those who consume less or do not drink at all.
The main reason is the use of sugar contained in beverages. At the same time, the results show that the use of carbonated beverages is accompanied by a lower than necessary intake of dietary fiber, fruits, and essential nutrients.
Some experts have already the opinion that the sale of carbonated beverages in schools and other educational institutions should be banned.
Calcium and carbonated beverages
Frequent consumption of carbonated beverages can increase the risk of osteoporosis. In addition, dentists continue to encourage people to consume less carbonated beverages, especially between meals, to prevent tooth decay.
The sugar content is quickly transferred to the blood, where its presence signals the pancreas to begin secreting insulin. This causes the release of testosterone in the blood.
In both men and women, testosterone is the hormone that controls the accumulation of calcium in the bones. Testosterone levels can also be increased through strength training, but if you suppress it chemically through a massive intake of refined sugar, your body will stop the accumulation of calcium in your bones.
Carbon dioxide in all carbonated beverages causes loss of calcium in the bones in 3 phases:
- “Carbonated” irritates the stomach.
- The stomach counteracts irritation in the only way it knows – through the only “anti-acid” available – calcium, which it gets from the blood.
- The blood, already low in calcium, “gets” it from the bones in order to maintain good brain and muscle activity in the body.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end here.
The other major problem is that most carbonated beverages contain phosphoric acid, which also causes calcium depletion in the body. In other words, carbonated beverages soften your bones, making them weak and brittle in 3 ways:
- “Carbonated” reduces the calcium in the bones.
- Phosphoric acid also reduces the calcium in the bones.
- The drink is a “substitute” for other liquids containing calcium, such as milk and water. Although they are not the perfect sources of calcium, they still supply a certain amount of the essential substance in the body.
Excessive consumption of sparkling fluid may increase the risk of kidney stones and heart disease.
In addition to sugars and acids, other ingredients in carbonated beverages, such as caffeine, are a cause for concern. It is a mild stimulant, which is contained in many of the most famous drinks and leads to easy and “innocent” addiction.
Artificial dyes cause hyperactivity in children, characterized by difficulty concentrating, and sometimes asthma and other allergic reactions.
The situation with the harmful effects of carbonated beverages on human health would not be so alarming if they were not consumed on a large scale due to the powerful and aggressive advertising campaigns of manufacturers in all places around the world.
Companies spend billions of dollars a year on advertising and millions on other promotions.
Finally, this article is not intended to stop you from drinking carbonated beverages, but to explain what happens in your body when you reach for another glass of carbonated liquid, and what the consequences may be.
Stopping them would hardly be a solution to the problem, at least because of the wisdom that the forbidden fruit is the sweetest. A sensible solution would be to reduce the consumption of carbonated beverages to reasonable limits, especially among adolescents, in order to prevent the diseases of the above.
Appropriate action by manufacturers would also be to reduce the shelf life, which is a result of the reduced content of preservatives and other additives. This would eventually bring their price closer to that of “healthy” alternatives, as carbonated drinks are often the more affordable choice.
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