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“Soft drink” is a generic term applied to beverages that don’t contain alcohol (“hard” liquor). Soft drinks usually contain carbonated water, high-fructose corn syrup or sucrose, caramel color, phosphoric acid, and flavors. Diet soft drinks contain aspartame or other artificial sweeteners in place of corn syrup.
There is a wide variety of soft drinks, including “clear,” cola, fruit flavors, and other flavors such as root beer and cream sodas. Clear soft drinks contain water, carbon dioxide, sweetener, flavors such as ginger, lemon, or lime, and other additives and preservatives. Colas contain the ingredients of clear soft drinks, with the addition of caffeine and coloring. Fruit soft drinks contain the ingredients of clear soft drinks, with the addition of fruit oils or flavorings and coloring. Diet soft drinks substitute a non-calorie sweetener, such as aspartame, in place of sugar or corn sweetener. Natural varieties, which use natural sweeteners and are free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, are also available.
Use soft drinks in moderation. You can make your own by combining sparkling water with grape, apple, orange, lemon, or lime juice.
Soft Drinks, 1 can (12 fl. oz.) (355mL)
Total Fat: 0.0g
A person with Crohn’s disease might consume more sugar than the average healthy person. While details of how sugar injures the intestine are still being uncovered, doctors often suggest eliminating all sugar (including soft drinks with added sugar) from the diets of those with Crohn’s disease.
Soft drinks are a source of caffeine, and while not every study finds that caffeine reduces female fertility, many doctors recommend that women trying to get pregnant avoid caffeine.
Caffeine, found in some soft drinks, increases stomach acid. Avoiding caffeine-containing soft drinks should therefore aid in the healing of gastritis.
Even modest amounts of caffeine may increase symptoms of hypoglycemia. For this reason, caffeinated beverages (such as some soda pop) should be avoided.
The effects of caffeine—a stimulant—can last up to 20 hours, so some people will have disturbed sleep patterns even when their last cup of coffee was in the morning. Besides regular coffee, there are many other sources of caffeine, including many soft drinks.
In one study, men who refrained from drinking soft drinks (especially drinks containing phosphoric acid) reduced their risk of stone recurrences compared with men permitted to consume soft drinks. Phosphoric acid is thought to affect calcium metabolism in ways that might increase kidney stone recurrence risk. Research in this area remains somewhat inconsistent, however. In one large trial, people who consumed more soft drinks were not at increased risk.
Like salt, caffeine increases urinary loss of calcium. Caffeine intake has been linked to increased risk of hip fractures, and to a lower bone mass in women who consumed inadequate calcium. Many doctors recommend decreasing caffeinated beverages, including soft drinks, as a way to improve bone mass.
Cola drinkers have been reported to have an increased incidence of bone fractures, although short-term consumption of carbonated beverages has not affected markers of bone health. The problem, if one exists, may be linked to phosphoric acid, a substance found in many soft drinks. Although a few studies have not linked soft drinks to bone loss, the preponderance of evidence now suggests that a problem may exist.
Women who consume more sugary foods and caffeine-containing beverages appear to have an increased risk of PMS. Among a group of college students in the United States, consumption of caffeine-containing beverages was associated with increases in both the prevalence and severity of PMS. Moreover, the more caffeine women consumed, the more likely they were to suffer from PMS. A preliminary study showed that women with heavy caffeine consumption were more likely to have shorter menstrual periods and shorter cycle length compared with women who did not consume caffeine. Therefore, many doctors recommend that women with PMS avoid sugar and caffeine-containing beverages.
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The information presented in VitaminLore is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of U.S. registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications.