Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Dangers of Soda, Part Two

You may have heard how soda is a source of “empty” calories, or in other words, it’s a bunch of sugar water with no nutritional value. But what’s important to understand is that soda is far more than empty calories. Many of the substances present in your favorite soft drink, even in small amounts, are downright harmful.

Take phosphorus, for example, which is found in many sodas. It weakens bones by depleting them of calcium. Phosphorus and calcium do not mix! The more soda you drink, the higher your risk for osteoporosis. The problem is even worse for the younger crowd, children and teens who are in the prime years for calcium deposition in their growing bones. For this same reason, there’s also a correlation between soda consumption and bone fractures in kids and young adults. Who would have thought a can of Pepsi could lower your bone density?

Better yet, I’ll bet you’d think I’m kidding if I told you that one of the most toxic and carcinogenic substances on the planet is present in soda. Think again – this is no joke. Soft drinks use benzoate salt as a preservative, and this combines with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in the drinks to form benzene. Years ago, when this problem became apparent, many manufacturers reformulated their products to avoid this chemical reaction. However, the FDA decided to let the industry regulate itself and correct the problem, so guess what happened next? No regulations whatsoever exist to prevent the combination of these two substances in soft drinks.

Nowadays, folks here and there have caught on that soda is awfully bad for you, and to combat this negativity, some manufacturers are trying to make the stuff appear healthy by adding vitamins. The issue of benzene was in the news a few years ago but the fuss has largely died down. With no regulation on the matter, manufacturers are free to tout their “healthy” soft drinks, loaded with stuff that can kill you, but fortified with vitamins and minerals. The reaction of benzoic acid and vitamin C is once again a problem, as benzene is back in a friendly soft drink near you.

Read this excerpt and pay attention to the word “only” in the first sentence.

ScienceDaily (Jan. 9, 2008)Only nine percent of 199 beverage samples had benzene levels above the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limit of 5 parts per billion (ppb) for benzene in drinking water, according to a study by EPA and U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scientists.

(Read the entire article here.)

This is a prime example of a factual statement carefully crafted to try and overcome it’s own inherent negativity. In other words, USE YOUR BRAIN and read this study for what it is, not what the writer wants you to hear. If they omitted the word “only”, this statement would sound too alarmist, so “only” is used to tone it down a bit. Bottom line is that benzene was found in 9 percent of the samples tested, and an astute reader will see that’s 9 percent too much!

So to sum up, when you enjoy a frosty cold soft drink, you're consuming much more than empty calories. This toxic brew is loaded with High Fructose Corn Syrup, mercury, Genetically-Modified organisms (GMO), phosphorus, and quite possibly benzene. Bottoms up!


  1. WOW. I had no idea about benzene in soda. I thought that by sticking with diet coke, except for caffeine, it was pretty benign. woops.

  2. Ouch! I try to avoid soda but give in once in a while. I never heard about benzene. Your posts are informative and on topic. As a new blogger myself, I am wondering if you can get rid of the "code" words or whatever they are called. It was a little distracting. Other than that, good job.