Carbonated (and some non-carbonated) soft drinks contain a multitude of harmful substances, any one of which should be enough to convince anyone to stop drinking them. Beyond the fact that they have no nutritional value whatsoever, these drinks can lead to long-term medical problems, increased health care costs for society, and a variety of social problems, not the least of which is the “pushing” of these harmful substances unto children in public schools, in exchange for making up for budget shortfalls.
What can be lower than peddling a harmful substance to children for the sake of profits or because communities have not allocated enough money for public education? If this irresponsible practice by the soft drink industry does not turn you off, how about the ten toxic things commonly found in or on soda cans?
1. Bisphenol A or BPA. A known hormone disruptor, bisphenol A, a chemical used to line soda cans for the sake of preservation, has been linked to a number of public health and medical problems, including a negative effect on fetuses and the proper development of children.
2. Phosphoric acid. Among other things, phosphoric acid interferes with the body’s ability to use calcium, possibly leading to osteoporosis (weakening of teeth and bones), and works to neutralize hydrochloric acid in the stomach, thus interfering with the proper digestion of nutrients in food.
3. Caffeine. Caffeine has been linked to birth defects, some forms of cancer, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, breast lumps, depletion of some nutrients, and cardiovascular disease (more specifically, heart attacks). More importantly, caffeine is an addictive drug with potential side-effects which have yet to be identified and dealt with appropriately.
4. Harmful sweeteners. Whether it is high fructose corn syrup or unnecessarily-high amounts of sucrose, carbonated sodas provide more calories than are generally needed by the average drinker. All this sugar can cause people to gain weight, to develop a high number of cavities, and, in the case of people with ADD or ADHD, to exhibit out-of-control behaviour.
As for diet sodas, they usually contain one of three popular, albeit dangerous, artificial sweeteners. Nutrasweet (aspartame), Splenda (sucralose), and Sweet ‘N Low (saccharin)'”all of these have harmful qualities. Aspartame, for example, transforms into formaldehyde and formic acid, known carcinogens, when it enters the body. Sucralose is suspected of being linked to a number of diseases; at the very least, more research should have been conducted before this lab-created chemical was unleashed upon an unsuspecting population. Saccharin has been confirmed to cause cancer in lab animals'”as well as people, although only mostly anecdotal evidence is presently available to prove it.
5. Rat pee. Although most people do not realize it, rat urine is often found on canned foods and drinks, including cans of carbonated soda. What people forget is that processed foods usually sit in warehouses or on store shelves for months (sometimes, years), before they end up in consumers’ hands. Rats are known to urinate often; their urine poses significant danger, especially if ingested by unsuspecting consumers.
6. Carbon dioxide. The gas used to make soda bubbly is the same poison we eject out of our bodies through our lungs. This gas is great for plants (which imbibe it and, in turn, put out oxygen) but it is bad news for human beings. Why would anyone drink something with a gas known to be toxic?
7. Citric acid. This component of some sodas may contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), a known neurotoxin.
8. Artificial flavours. These somewhat mysterious (since we are not told enough about them by the people who produce them, thanks to special arrangements they have with the US government) substances may also contain traces of MSG and other chemicals we have not thus far properly evaluated for their potential long-term toxicity.
9. Contaminated water. The carbonated-drink-producing industry uses huge amounts of water; like all other industries, they use product-ingredient sources that are least expensive (even if they are not necessarily the safest or most nutritious). As a general rule, the water they use often contains fluoride (which, while it may help reduce cavities, may pose as-yet-known, long-term toxicity) and other contaminants.
10. Dangerously-high acidity. In addition to phosphoric acid, sodas can contain acetic, fumaric, and gluconic acid. High acidity in processed foods and drinks erodes the enamel on teeth, worsens the effects of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), and leads to gastric lining erosion. Is it any wonder, then, that soda is often used as an industrial cleanser and has even been recommended as a great way to put out an auto engine fire?
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