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Soft Drinks – Dangerous to Your Health – Kids Are the Target!
Warnings about the dangers of consuming soft drinks came to us in 1942 when the Council on Food and Nutrition of the American Medical Association (AMA) made the following noble statement:
“From a health point of view it is particularly desirable to have a restriction on the use of sugar, as represented by the consumption of sweetened carbonated drinks and forms of sweets that are of low nutritional value. The Council believes that it would be in the interest of public health for all practical means to limit the consumption of sugar in any form in which it is not combined with large proportions of other foods of high nutritional quality.”
Colossal increases in soft drink consumption did not happen by accident, they are due to intensive marketing efforts by soft drink corporations. For soft drink marketing the adult market is stagnant so children are the target. Soft drink companies spend billions on advertising. Much of this marketing effort targets children through playgrounds, toys, cartoons, movies, videos, charities and amusement parks; and through competitions, sweepstakes, games and clubs through television, radio, magazines and the internet. Their efforts paid off.
In 1998 the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) warned the public that soft drink companies were beginning to infiltrate our schools and children’s clubs. As our children are exposed to relentless advertising for soft drinks, evidence of their dangers is piling up. The consumption of soft drinks is full of dangers. We as practitioners and advocates of a healthy lifestyle recognize that consuming even just one or two sodas a day is undeniably linked to a myriad of pathologies.
The most commonly associated health risks are obesity, diabetes and other blood sugar disorders, tooth decay, osteoporosis and bone fractures, nutritional deficiencies, heart disease, food addictions and eating disorders, neurotransmitter dysfunction from chemical sweeteners, and neurological and adrenal disorders from excess caffeine. .
One common problem I’ve seen over the years, especially in teenagers, is general gastrointestinal (GI) distress. This includes increased stomach acid levels requiring acid inhibitors and moderate to severe stomach inflammation with possible stomach lining erosion. The common complaint I hear is chronic “stomach ache”. In almost every case, when the client successfully abstains from sodas and caffeine, the symptoms will disappear. Another problem with sodas is that they act as dehydrating diuretics, much like tea, coffee and alcohol. All of these drinks can interfere with proper digestive function. It is much healthier to consume herbal teas, nutritious soups and broths, natural beverages and water to supply our daily fluid needs. These fluids support, not prevent, digestion.
• Aspartame, used in diet sodas, is a powerful neurotoxin and endocrine disruptor.
• Caffeine stimulates the adrenal gland without providing nourishment. In large amounts, caffeine can lead to adrenal exhaustion, especially in children.
• Phosphoric acid, added to give soft drinks a “bite”, is associated with calcium loss.
• Citric acid often contains traces of MSG, a neurotoxin.
• Artificial Flavors may also contain traces of MSG.
• Water may contain high amounts of fluoride and other contaminants.
Soft Drinks and Violence
According to an article published in The Lancet, December 2000, the Irish government ordered “urgent research” into the effects of so-called “functional energy” or stimulant soft drinks after the death of an 18-year-old who died playing basketball. . He consumed three cans of “Red Bull”, a stimulant soft drink. The article noted that there have been reports of an increase in aggressive late-night violence occurring when people switch to these drinks while drowsy from too much alcohol. The resulting violence was so pervasive that some establishments in Ireland refused to sell stimulant drinks.
Students are now given “electrolyte” drinks called “ergogenic aids” to replace electrolytes that are supposedly depleted during workouts. There are three problems with using these drinks as a rehydration solution. First, most soft drinks are diuretics, which means they squeeze fluids out of the body, thus worsening dehydration instead of correcting it. Second, most people actually lose few electrolytes during exercise. After exercise the body is usually in an electrolyte overload having lost more fluids than electrolytes.
Consumers often drink commercial fruit juices in the belief that they are healthier than soft drinks. However, the manufacture of fruit juices is a highly industrialized process. Fruit juices are very high in sugar and were actually more harmful to the teeth of test animals than sodas!
If you want to drink fruit juice, buy a juicer and make your own with organic fruit. It is best to dilute a small amount of fruit juice with water. Makes a delicious and refreshing drink. In restaurants, order mineral water and a few slices of fresh lemon or lime.
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