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Unless you plan on brushing each time you finish your drink, soda will wreck havoc on your pearly whites. The sugar content rots your teeth while the acidity strips your enamel. The mouths of those who regularly drink soda have even been compared to the mouths of people who use methamphetamines.
"Caffeinated soda causes heart rate to increase and blood pressure to rise,” says Dr. Verma. Additionally, caffeine intake can cause insomnia, nervousness, breast tenderness, migraines, and even urinary problems. Caffeine may also interact with certain medications, causing nausea, vomiting, and increased heart palpitations.
The caramel coloring used in many sodas may contain a potentially carcinogenic chemical called 4-methylimidazole. Consumer Reports recently looked at 4-Mel levels in different sodas. Check out their graph to see how your drink of choice stacks up.
Think you’re safe because you’re avoiding the caramel-colored drinks? Think again. Brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, found in Mountain Dew, Fanta, and Gatorade can cause memory loss and damage to skin and nerves.
Just because it’s diet, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. According to Dr. Verma, “Diet soda may not have real sugar, but the sugar substitutes are much more damaging. Aspartame, for example, has been associated with everything from birth defects to breast lumps to malnutrition to brain tumors to diabetes to obesity.”
Bisphenol A, or BPA, has been used to make plastic since the 1960s, and is likely coating that can or bottle you’re sipping. The Mayo Clinic advises reducing your exposure to this chemical, especially when it has been exposed to heat for long periods of time as it can cause reproductive issues and other hormonal problems.
The addition of phosphoric acid, which is used to increase shelf life and cut sweetness levels, is associated with problematic kidney function, bone loss, tooth decay, and even accelerated aging.
And, of course, there’s weight gain. According to Dr. Verma, “If you consume even one can of soda daily, a person can add an extra 15 pounds per year just from the calories.”
Not worried about your weight? “Just one can often has over 100 percent of your daily intake of sugar,” says Dr. Verma, and ingesting this much sugar can cause your body to crash. (Tempted to try life without sugar? Take the sugar challenge at the Mayo Clinic, and cut sugar out of your diet for two weeks.)
Okay, so you don’t care what soda does to your body, but what about the rest of the planet? In addition to the waste caused by cans and bottles, a study in Switzerland recently found that diet soda sweeteners are entering the water supply and likely negatively affecting animal behavior.