Can Soda Make Osteoporosis Worse?

Osteoporosis is a disease, which has been catching the attention of a wide population base all over the world. This is mainly because the modern lifestyle causes it to grip a lot of people and seriously affect them. This disease is characterized by excessively brittle bones which tend to break easily, owing to very low bone mineral density. It has been proved in several studies that it is a lifestyle related disorder, which is caused and aggravated by the diet, and especially the junk food that we eat.

Many studies and researches done in this respect have highlighted sodas or aerated drinks and their effect on osteoporosis. Still, the relationship of sodas and osteoporosis, as being that of a cause and effect, is highly debatable and many health experts have conflicting views on the issue.Yet it is quite true that, soda and osteoporosis have been thought to be linked by a very strong bond, and there are certain clues brought to our attention by medical research in this area. Calcium plays a key role in osteoporosis and is also the primary reason for effects of soda on bones. Hence, calcium has been discussed in detail.

Bone Changes in Osteoporosis
Bone Changes in Osteoporosis

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Effect of Individual Contents of Soda

So after all this one may seem to wonder, as to what constituents in soda and other carbonated drinks can initiate or even worsen the condition of osteoporosis? The following few ingredients of carbonated drinks, are the ones which have made the soda osteoporosis relation a very strong one.

1. Phosphoric Acid

Phosphoric acid is a very important ingredient of various sodas or aerated drinks that we consume. There have been many studies, which have proved an innate connection of phosphoric acid with a reduced bone density, which is a hallmark of osteoporosis. Phosphoric acid has been known to be a very effective pock marking agent on bones, and may aggravate the condition of osteoporosis. Moreover, the phosphorus content in these sodas can in turn disrupt calcium balance in the body, making us much more susceptible to osteoporosis.

2. Carbonated Water

Carbonated water is the main ingredient of these sodas. Carbonation is a basic metabolic process, which leads to the calcium utilization and consumption in the body. This also the reason why sodas and osteoporosis are linked together, with the thought that both have a common central process, which accelerates calcium consumption in the body. Thus, excessive consumption of sodas can cause calcium deficiency much earlier.

3. Artificial Flavoring And Sugar

The artificial flavors added to these sodas and colas are basically based upon various formulations of formaldehydes. This is a substance which forms the core of the preserving solutions used to preserve bones. These can thus disrupt he natural growth and functioning of bones. Apart from this, sodas are also high on sugar content, which can lead to fat accumulation around bones and hence disrupting their normal activity.

Mechanism of Osteoporosis after Soda Intake

No wonder many health freaks and experts refer sodas as “canned osteoporosis”. Thus, various ingredients in soda are linked to osteoporosis in some way or the other. This central process goes through three different steps and is highlighted below:

1. The carbonated water which forms an innate part and base of the soda you take in kicks off a high level of irritation in the stomach. This irritation is caused due to the high pH levels in the carbonated water in sodas.

2. In response to this, the stomach has no choice, but to utilize the natural mechanism of defending against acids by secretion of calcium ions, which works like an antacid. This calcium is made available to the stomach directly through the blood stream.

3. This additional supply of calcium to the stomach decreases blood calcium levels. Thus, the only way left to restore the decreased blood calcium is by disrupting the muscular and the brain activity. However, though this does occur in some cases, the easy way out is to absorb calcium present in bone tissue. This is done with the help of parathyroid hormone, which causes bones to release calcium and makes them weak or brittle causing osteoporosis.

The Dark Side of Sodas

Out of the various different types of sodas available in the market and consumed by people, dark soda is presumed to be the worst when it comes to causing osteoporosis. Many scientific researches and case studies done in this regard have demonstrated, a greater chance of osteoporosis in children and ladies consuming dark colas and sodas, than the other aerated drinks. This can probably be accounted to the high concentration of carbonated water and phosphoric acid in the darker and stronger soda brands, leading to an increased chance of osteoporosis in the consumers.

The effect on soda on osteoporosis can also be illustrated by a very good and apt observation. A few years back, at an archeological excavation site, the bones of a middle aged woman were excavated. Upon detailed clinical testing of the same, it was found that the bones had a considerably higher bone density as compared with the bones of the women today. Since colas and soda were nonexistent at that time around, osteoporosis was also highly unlikely. This truly shows how soda can worsen the problem of osteoporosis.

Drinking more of sodas fills your stomach and leaves no appetite or space to accommodate any calcium rich foods or drinks. As a result, the amount of calcium fortification inputs, which you give to your body are greatly reduced, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.

Studies Linking Sodas and Osteoporosis

There have been a variety of studies and researches in the very recent past, aimed at finding out if there is any connection between carbonated and aerated drinks and osteoporosis. Amongst all these researches and studies, the most important and notable one is the Framingham Osteoporosis Study. This research study was featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006.

This study looked at more than 1400 women and more than 1100 men who were kept on a diet containing high amount of soda intake. The result of this study was that the women who took the greatest amount of sodas and carbonated drinks showed the lowest bone density amongst others. The lowest bone density was observed among those who included more than three caffeinated soda based rinks per day in their diet. The number of osteoporotic bone fractures were also greater in these people as compared to others.

In conclusion, one can say that, drinking a soda or aerated drink once in a while, may not cause a person osteoporosis. But regular intake of sodas for even a few years can definitely affect calcium balance of the body to the extent of causing osteoporosis.

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Written by

Orthopedic Surgeon and Health Writer

Discussion 5 Comments

  1. cappy says:

    high pH needs more Ca? uhhhh… References? I would contend that carbonated water alone does little to affect the bone density of a person with a mineral balanced diet.

  2. flutedocDeb says:

    Industrial food & drink: again and again, enemy to health, soda machines in hospitals and schools, free choice to ruin our health and send the hospital bill to the insurance company, which is financed by the gigantic food industry – when will we learn to eat FOOD not JUNK

  3. Kristina says:

    And what of the effect of a 3 carbonated drink a day diet that also contains at least 2 servings of dairy products? Moreover, if said dairy is consumed during the intake of the carbonated beverage? I was never a big fan of soda in general, much less cola, but I have low bone density. “highly debatable and many health experts have conflicting views ” indeed.

  4. Taco4quick says:

    Gauresh Indulkar, contact me regarding editing of your writing for USA audiences. I'm a writer / RN. Post your e-mail or office telephone number in a comment below.

  5. Nosnibor425 says:

    To jump to sodas as the cause of osteoporosis because an excavated skeleton did not show evidence of a problem is ludicrous. You could also say that TV, cell phones, men walking on the moon, and/or women voting is the cause…

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