It’s probably not surprising to realize that soda pop is the most popular beverage consumed in the U.S. American consumption of soft drinks, including carbonated beverages, fruit juice, and sports drinks increased by 500 percent in the past 50 years.
What’s the soft drink attraction? Studies have shown, for both regular and diet soft drinks, the sugar and artificial sweeteners both create a yearning for that sweet taste of sugar. What the advertising doesn’t tell you is that sugar can become an addiction that our bodies crave on a daily basis.
Is it possible that this “addiction” to sodas may be creating more problems to our overall health and wellness than we ever bargained for? These beverages provide lots of calories, sugars, and caffeine but no significant nutritional value. How much negative impact do they have?
As a dentist, I’m certainly aware that the constant, topical exposure of sugar, whether from regular soda or other sugar laced products, creates serious detrimental effects to the teeth and the periodontium (the specialized tissues that surround and support the teeth). Tooth decay, recurrent decay, gingival inflammation, and periodontal infections are all common side effects of the sugar loading.
As a biological dentist, I consider the effects that soda has, not only in the mouth, but also towards the rest of the body. Unfortunately, the soft drink love affair leaves much to be desired.
Some alarming statistics indicate that soda may create ill effects ranging from obesity, osteoporosis, heart disease, tooth decay, and even caffeine addictions. Although the scientific community and special interest groups continue to debate these issues, I’ll focus on one particular area of this controversy.
Your body’s acid/alkaline balance is indicated by pH levels of body fluids. (See the Articles page on my web site for an article on this topic.) The pH scale ranges from 0 – 14, with 7 being neutral. Our blood, which makes up about 14% of our total body fluids, has a very narrow pH range and is typically 7.35 indicating a slightly alkaline condition. Our extracellular fluids, approximately 86% of total body fluids, should range between 7.0 to 7.5 in healthy conditions.
The average pH level of soda is approximately 3.00! (University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, 2000). If normal body fluids range from 7.0 – 7.5, then drinking a can of soda is approximately 10,000 times more acid. OUCH! Phosphoric acid is usually the culprit found in sodas. However, there are no labeling requirements at this time to indicate the amount used in these beverages.
I discovered it takes approximately 32-8oz. cans of water to neutralize one 8oz. can of soda. Common sense tells us you’re creating a huge imbalance in your body when you consume these soft drinks.
How much acid can your body handle? I don’t have a specific answer however I would prefer you stay on the safe side. Thus, removing your body’s exposure to soda could certainly help eliminate a potentially dangerous situation, known as Metabolic Acidosis, from getting out of control.
Metabolic Acidosis or acidemia creates all sorts of problems with your health. It creates anaerobic metabolism. This in turn produces a reduction of energy levels and chronic fatigue, with chronic inflammation, connective tissue breakdown, and oxidative stress (free radical exposure). The immune system continues to break down and deteriorate.
To help yourself kick the habit, begin reducing your soda intake by one-half each day or every week for the first month. Continue this process for as long as it takes to wean yourself off soda for good. If you need something to drink that has flavor in it, try natural fruit juices, like apple, orange, or grapefruit. For basic hydration of your body, there’s no better substitute than water. For the record, pure water, a natural and basic staple for life, has a pH of approximately 7.0. Just what the doctor ordered.