Soft drinks are mainly soda. Laced with cocaine and caffeine, in the early days, today they contain lindane, DDT, malathion and chlorpyrifos, which cause cancer, reduce bone mineral density and give rise to 90-odd symptoms that include serious and fatal health conditions.
Soft drinks trace their history back to the mineral water found in natural springs. The first marketed non-carbonated soft drink appeared in the 17th century – water sweetened with honey and with a dash of lime. Carbonated water was invented in the early 18th century which, as natural or artificial mineral water, in medicinal and herb flavours, quickly became a popular health drink.
Carbonated water – soda – is a major component of modern, everyday soft drinks – ginger ale, ice cream soda, root beer, Dr Pepper, Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Early on, soda was laced with cocaine and caffeine, today classified as illegal. But now, the soft drink of yesteryear is an addictive beverage whose over-consumption is associated with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, caries, osteoporosis, kidney stones and malnutrition. Researchers in the US have alarming evidence linking teen violence to heavy soda consumption.
India has about 110 soft drink-producing units. Soft drink sales are expected to go up – from the current per capita consumption of five to six bottles – by 19 percent annually till 2018.
Health studies in India
In 2003, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a New Delhi-based NGO, reported that pesticide levels in Coke and Pepsi sold in India were 30 times what the European Economic Commission considered safe. Contaminants included lindane, DDT, malathion and chlorpyrifos, known to cause cancer and reduce bone mineral density. In 2006, another CSE report prompted many state governments to ban soft drink sale in schools. After 11 soft drink products showed high pesticide levels (up to 24 times the recommended limit), Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh banned soft drink sale in schools and government offices and Kerala banned soft drink sale and manufacture.
Studies around the world
A 2007 study, funded by the Bethesda, Maryland-based National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that consuming one soft drink (diet or regular) daily was associated with significantly higher risk of metabolic syndrome (which leads to heart disease and diabetes), high blood triglyceride levels, low good cholesterol levels and hypertension.
Soda. Research published in 2011 by the universities of Bristol and Bangor suggests that drinking soda can trigger sweet cravings by dulling your sensitivity to sweet tastes and start a vicious cycle of eating sweet foods and drinks! A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that diet soda intake is directly related to abdominal obesity in over-65-year-olds and that the waistline increase among diet soda-drinkers was three times that among non-drinkers.
Sweeteners.Soft drinks contain toxic levels of sugar and aspartame (an artificial sweetener), addictives like caffeine and carcinogenic chemicals such as benzene. Studies suggest aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives, many of which are very serious. The studies list 90-odd symptoms aspartame causes, including headaches, migraines, dizziness, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, anxiety attacks, slurred speech and memory loss. High sugar consumption is linked to anti-social behaviour and lack of social bonding. Since 1980, over 10,000 complaints regarding aspartame have been filed with the US FDA. What’s most shocking is that aspartame was never proven safe before its use in food was approved!
While it could be difficult to eliminate soft drinks from our diet, we can limit our consumption of it. Taking just one sugary drink a day out from your diet can cut your risk of Type 2 diabetes by as much as 25 percent! It’s all about deciding what it is about soda that you love and supplementing soda with a satisfying, healthier drink, e.g. lemonade, fruit and vegetable juices or even water.