Soft Drink Consumption: The Frightening Statistics and Associated Health Risks!

Surprising and Alarming Facts About Our Nation's Soft Drink Consumption!

It's a warm day at the ballgame with the children and there is nothing better than a tall soft drink to quench your thirst, right? On the contrary! The sweet taste is the only good thing about drinking a soft drink. Let`s consider what doctors and health clinics have to say about the dangers of drinking soft drinks.

According to the National Soft Drink Association (NSDA), consumption of soft drinks is now over 600 12-ounce servings (12 oz.) per person per year. Since the late 1970`s the soft drink consumption in the United States has doubled for females and tripled for males. The highest consumption is in the males between the ages of 12 - 29; they average 1/2 gallon a day or 160 gallons a year.

How did this huge growth in soft drink consumption happen?

The huge increase in soft drink consumption is a direct link to the bottom line profit that is generated for the soft drink corporations. Coca Cola, for example, has set the goal of raising consumption of its products in the U.S. by at least 25 percent per year to do that. To meet that goal they have increased the size of the drinks from 61/2 ounces in the 1960`s to the 20-ounce bottle of today. Restaurants such as McDonalds and Burger King offer 20-ounce drinks with free refills. At the movie theaters as well as convenience stores, the most popular size is now the 64-ounce "Double Gulp." All of these things are due to promotions from the soft drink corporations to increase sales. The United States ranks first among countries in soft drink consumption. The per-capita consumption of soft drinks is in excess of 150 quarts per year, or about three quarts per week."

Soft drink companies spend billions on advertising. Much of these marketing efforts are aimed at children through playgrounds, toys, cartoons, movies, videos, charities and amusement parks; and through contests, sweepstakes, games and clubs via television, radio, magazines and the internet. Their efforts have paid off. Last year soft drink companies grossed over $57 billion in sales in the U.S. alone, a colossal amount.

In 1993, District 11 in Colorado Springs became the first public school district in the U.S. to place ads for Burger King in its hallways and on the sides of its school buses. Later, the school district signed a 10-year deal with Coca-Cola, bringing in $11 million during the life of the contract. Coca-Cola paid the Boys & Girls Clubs of America $60 million to market its brand exclusively in over 2000 facilities.

While children are exposed to numerous ads for soft drinks each year, we never hear the dangers that the children are exposed to by the increase in consumption of soft drinks.

Let`s take a look at what some doctors, well known publications, and health clinics are saying. The most commonly associated health risks are obesity, nutritional deficiencies, tooth decay, diabetes, osteoporosis and bone fractures, heart disease, food addictions, blood sugar disorders and other eating disorders, neurotransmitter dysfunction from chemical sweeteners, and neurological and adrenal disorders from excessive caffeine.

Here are some facts about soft drinks to consider before you enjoy the next soft drink.

Soft drinks have replaced milk in the diets of many American children as well as adults. School purchases reflect such trends. From 1985 to 1997, school districts decreased the amounts of milk they bought by nearly 30% and increased their purchases of carbonated soft drinks.

The relationship between soft drink consumption and body weight is so strong that researchers calculate that for each additional soft drink consumed, the risk of obesity increases 1.6 times.

Soft drink consumption may be a major factor for osteoporosis, as they are high in phosphates and contain virtually no calcium. This leads to lower calcium levels and higher phosphate levels in the blood.

The United States ranks first among countries for soft drink consumption with a per capita consumption of approximately 15 ounces a day.

Americans drink 13.15 billion gallons of carbonated drinks every year.

Twenty-one percent of the sugar in the average American's diet comes from soft drinks! That's more than just an unhealthy consumption of empty calories. It is a dangerous overload of caffeine and potentially hazardous, nutrient-depleting additives.

One extra soft drink a day gave a child a 60 percent greater chance of becoming obese. One could even link specific amounts of soda to specific amounts of weight gain. Each daily drink added.18 points to a child's body mass index (BMI). This, the researchers noted, was regardless of what else they ate or how much they exercised. "Consumption of sugar [high fructose corn syrup]-sweetened drinks," they concluded, "is associated with obesity in children".

Diet sodas that are low in calories are high in sodium. Too much salt in the diet may cause more calcium to be excreted in the urine and increase the risk of osteoporosis.

Soft drinks can decrease the antibacterial action of penicillin and ampricillin.

Most children diagnosed with ADHD are actually suffering from severe nutritional imbalances that can be easily corrected through changes in diet. Soft drinks are the single greatest source of caffeine in childrens diets; a 12-ounce can of cola contains about 45 mg but the amounts in more potent soft drinks can exceed 100 mg - a level approaching that found in coffee.

Adolescents who consume soft drinks display a risk of bone fractures three to four-fold higher than those who do not.

Sugar and acid in soft drinks so easily dissolve tooth enamel.

For anyone over age 40, soft drinks can be especially hazardous because the kidneys are less able to excrete excess phosphorus, causing depletion of vital calcium. Excessive consumption of soft drinks, which are high in phosphorus, can also deplete you of calcium and increase your chances of osteoporosis.

Heavy soft drink consumption can interfere with your body's metabolization of iron and diminish nerve impulse transmission.

Cola drinks can interact adversely with antacids, possibly causing constipation, calcium loss, hypertension, nausea, headaches, and kidney damage.

"Drinking one or more carbonated beverages per day may increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease", according to a new study published in circulation, the Journal of the American Heart Association.

People who consumed one or more sodas daily were 48% more likely to have metabolic syndrome than those who consumed less. Metabolic syndrome is the name given to a series of linked symptoms that are correlated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Drinking one or more soft drinks per day was also correlated with an increase in these symptoms: A 32% higher chance of having low HDL levels; a 31% higher risk of becoming obese; a 30% higher chance of increased waist circumference; and a 25% greater chance of having increased blood triglycerides or fasting hyperglycemia.

Doctors, nutritionists and health clinics recommend that we take control of our soft drink consumption to better our health. As you've probably heard before, it is highly recommended that each of us drink 6-8 glasses of water each day; this will hydrate your body. Hydration of internal organs enables them to function properly, removing waste and toxins from the body. Hydration of the skin keeps it with good elasticity and will help keep you looking younger longer. Water is nature's best means of quenching your thirst and keeping you healthy.


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