Physical FitnessJust how bad is soda for you?
[+9] [6] community_owned
[2011-03-01 20:03:11]
[ nutrition soda weight-loss ]

Are soft drinks/soda really that bad for you?

I currently weight 85kg. at 175cm. so I'm a bit overweight. Would cutting soda out really let me shed the extra weight?

all soda is bad and will lead to nothing positive. the healthiest thing sweetened beverage manufacturers could do for us is go out of business. - Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller, your comment could be expanded just a little more into an answer. @Matt Chan, I voted to merge this question with the one you linked to. - Dave Liepmann
[+13] [2011-03-01 20:13:50] MYou

It's Pretty Bad [1].

Think of it this way. There's 3500 cals in a pound of fat [2]. Which means, to burn that, in a basic sense, you should have your calories out be that many more than your calories in.

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If you cut one can per day, that's 1120 cals per week. A significant amount of the cals you want to burn per week, to lose a pound.


(2) Basically in about 3.5 weeks you'll lose a pound of fat. In a year's time you'll have lost 16.6 lbs just from cutting one can of soda per day (assuming you didn't replace it with something else that has just as many calories) - Berin Loritsch
[+6] [2011-03-01 20:12:01] AmaDaden

It depends on how much you have in a day. I've heard arguments that fructose is particularly bad for you since it makes you less full. Sugar: The bitter truth [1] I'm not sure how accurate that talk is but it seems to make sense to me. People seem to drink soda all day and still have more even though they have effectively had more then a full days worth of calories

I've switched to iced green tea since it's still sugary, it does not have HFCS, they say grean tea is good for you, and I can make it at work. I've ended up having far less sugar since I make the iced tea a little light and I've saved a good deal of money since I just buy a big container of ice tea mix and stick it in my desk. As to how much good it did my health I have no idea.


(1) +1 for switching to green tea and another +1 if I could for fructose = evil. However, I believe that the real problem with fructose is the way it's metabolized in the liver and how that interferes with and worsens the effects of the glucose/insulin rush that you're getting at the same time. - Greg
The link I included goes over that. It's really long (80 min) but goes over the whole break down of fructose, glucose, and alcohol to show just how awful fructose is. - AmaDaden
(1) I live in Bolivia, coca cola here has no fructose. It's pure 100% sugar. - community_owned
(2) That's a common misconception. Sugar is typically sucrose and sucrose is a disaccharide (this roughly this means 'two carbohydrates') that is half glucose(good) and half fructose(bad). Fructose, sadly, is everywhere. This is why they claim HFCS is all natural, because fructose is found all over nature. In the video I posted the speaker claims (but does not detail why) that fiber counters many of the bad side effects of fructose and is almost always found with fructose in nature. This is why natural food with fructose like fruit (it's name sake) is ok but processed food with it is bad - AmaDaden
[+5] [2011-05-11 22:42:20] Tony R

Let me count that ways!

Regular Soda

Cavities - The soda has a low PH and makes the mouth acidic, and the sugar content promotes tooth decay when it comes into contact with bacteria in the mouth [1].

Diabetes - Over 130,000 cases of diabetes now linked to soda consumption, HFCS [2] (High Fructose Corn Syrup)

Obesity - Not only does soda contain a high concentration of sugar, and thus calories, but it doesn't satiate you (aka, you're stay hungry) and one study found that it actually INCREASES your appetite [3].

The sugar in soda pop not only provides a massive dose of calories, but triggers a vicious appetite cycle, said Ludwig, who wrote "Ending the Food Fight," about healthy eating for children.

"It's rapidly absorbed, which raises blood sugar and in effect causes the body to panic." The body releases insulin to break down the sugar, "but the body overcompensates, and blood sugar drops below the fasting level," lower than it was in the first place.

Diet Soda

Artificial Sweeteners - Aspartame, Splenda, and Saccharin. These dangers of using artificial sweeteners could be handled its own question! Until we've created that question here, I'll link to The Hidden Dangers of Aspartame [4].

Obesity - Diet sodas have been shown to increase obesity as well. From WebMd [5]

For regular soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

26% for up to 1/2 can each day
30.4% for 1/2 to one can each day
32.8% for 1 to 2 cans each day
47.2% for more than 2 cans each day.

For diet soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

36.5% for up to 1/2 can each day
37.5% for 1/2 to one can each day
54.5% for 1 to 2 cans each day
57.1% for more than 2 cans each day.

For each can of diet soft drink consumed each day, a person's risk of obesity went up 41%.

Metabolic syndrome - Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. [6]

This most likely coincides with a study which found there is a link between diet soda and the risks of a stroke or heart attack [7].


Causes Bone Loss - This was theorized out of the idea that too much phosphorous could deplete calcium and since many sodas use phosphoric acid, this could lead to bone loss. However this may not be the case anymore, see Soda may not hurt bones [8].

Indeed one could make the case that if you are drinking more soda, you are most likely drinking less of other things, like milk!


[+2] [2011-09-27 07:22:42] JohnGB

It may not have calories in it, but it has many chemicals that are toxic to your system. The secondary effects of those chemicals can in fact encourage weight gaining.

As an example, your body has certain reactions to something sweet. It is expecting something with sugar and responds in preparation for this. When you then don't give it that sugar you will start craving something sweet which will usually result in you eating more junk than you would have without the diet soda.

As a side note, many of the ingredients in diet sodas in the USA are banned from food in Europe due to evidence that they are toxic. Keep to water if you can, and once you get used to it you will wonder why you ever put those chemicals in your body.

(1) To avoid many of the toxic chemicals, you might look into Zevia, which uses Stevia extract as a sweetener instead of the usual suspects. It's not perfect, of course, but it's a step in the right direction. - Greg
[+1] [2011-03-01 20:09:16] anothem

How much soda do you drink is a big question here.

A 14fl oz bottle of coke has about 46g of sugar. A teaspoon is about 4grams. Do the math :)

I drink a 500ml bottle every two days more or less. - community_owned
[+1] [2011-05-11 18:41:44] j.rightly

Soda has no nutritional value, so regardless of your weight, yes you should cut it out of your diet completely. It's really no different than drinking liquid candy. The huge amount of sugar also taxes your pancreas because it has to pump out more insulin just to handle the blood sugar spike. Soda is unhealthy regardless of your weight.

(1) Can you cite any sources for this? You've made some pretty general statements without providing any evidence. - Nathan Wheeler
@j.rightly - You should also put some more thought into your repsonses. What you're saying isn't helpful; We all "know" soda is bad, but you should explain why that is if you want a high quality (and consequently upvoted) answer. - Matt Chan
I did explain why: The huge amount of sugar also taxes your pancreas because it has to pump out more insulin just to handle the blood sugar spike. - j.rightly
(2) @j.rightly - The point is adding sources so that we know that you know what you're talking about and not just making stuff up. Citing good sources for information you use in your answers improves the quality score of your answer, and gains you the respect of the community as someone who not only knows what they're talking about, but can back up what they say with scientific proof. Without scientific backing, your answer is little more than a commonly shared opinion, and won't be highly regarded by the community as a whole. - Nathan Wheeler
(…) I just thought that it would be pretty common knowledge that excess sugar consumption leads to high blood sugar which triggers the pancreas to release insulin (I've seen this stated in other answers with no sources cited). - j.rightly
Additionally, not all "soda" can be lumped into the same category. Dr. Pepper has a run of "original recipe" soda that uses all natural sweeteners as opposed to the HFCS that they currently use, and it's significantly more healthy for (read less harmful to) you. Also, there are companies like Jones that only produce sodas from pure cane sugar as well. - Nathan Wheeler
While HFCS is especially bad, all simple sugars (including sucrose in its natural form) can cause a blood sugar spike, triggering the same insulin response. Even sugar-free sodas can trigger an insulin response in some people. - j.rightly