Is your regular fix of carbonated drinks really worth risking your bones? If you’ve experienced a broken bone you know you won’t want another one, and are unlikely to want to increase your chances of having another.
There are 2 things in fizzy drinks that are bad for bones – phosphoric acid and caffeine. So carbonated drinks and osteoporosis are linked.
Problem no. 1
Phosphoric acid is added to fizzy drinks, in particular cola, to give them a sharper flavour. In the sugary versions it also slows the growth of bacteria, which would multiply really quickly without anything to stop them.
Phosphoric acid is something that is found in natural food. When it is eaten in whole foods it is balanced with other nutrients. It does your bones no harm, in fact it adds to their health. Phosphorus is an important building block for strong bones. So, in its right place and in its correct proportions, it is good for you.
It’s a very different story with the phosphoric acid in fizzy drinks.
Colas are very acidic and most of this comes from the phosphoric acid.
Going back to last week’s blog about diet making your bones soft you will know that this acid needs neutralising. Calcium in drawn from your bones, weakening them in the process.
The excessive acid is not the only problem. Drinking a load of phosphoric acid knocks the balance of calcium and phosphorus out within our body. This also leads to calcium loss from the bones – there is too much phosphorus around compared to calcium and this is unnatural. When you put unnatural things into your body it can’t function in a way to best serve your health.
Problem no. 2
Caffeine interferes with calcium absorption. In younger people this is compensated for by increasing absorption. This works providing their diet is healthy and has plenty of calcium. However, this works less well the older you get so you get a double (bad) whammy for your bones when you drink cola.
In summary, soft drinks add no health benefits at all.
The one health problem I’ve concentrated on here is soft bones and an ingredient in cola directly adding to that is phosphoric acid. This is found in both normal cola and diet cola. In addition to this the caffeine in these drinks also affects your body’s ability to absorb calcium, which is the main building block for strong bones.
If you love fizzy drinks perhaps at least switch from cola, and avoid the caffeinated ones.
Also – consider giving your body what it is really craving – water. Find out more about that here.