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The Chemistry of Diet Sodas


Today, soft drinks are the new trend globally. Because of this, it has managed to displace both nutrient-dense beverages including milk and water. In America, statistics show that diet soda accounts for approximately 25% of consumed drinks. For an American, one tends to drink approximately 45 gallons of diet soda apart from other sugary drinks annually. A majority of the population gains unwanted weight or develop obesity due to diets that contain high consumption of soft drinks. In the end, many people become addicted to the soft drink of all kinds, thus create the difficulty in eliminating them from consumers’ diets. Few people realize that the addiction is not only a desire, but also a multi-sensory and biochemical habit that becomes difficult to escape. Most people with this addiction hardly drink water as their reliance is on soft drinks. Those with the knowledge of diet soda effects, try to eliminate it from their diets. Diet sodas tend to harm the human body in many ways. The contents these drinks have significant effects on the body systems such as brain and nervous system. Research studies show that soft drinks and their over-consumption is the leading cause of epidemic worldwide. Because of this, there has been rising concerns in the medical field due to the excessive intake of soft drinks such as diet coke.

Components of Diet soda

Normal soda contains approximately eleven spoons of sugar for each bottle or can. Other dangerous components are calories (150), caffeine (30-55 mg) as well as artificial sulphites and colors. Diet soda contains phosphoric acid, which always interferes with the calcium in the body resulting in knowing effects on bones and teeth. The acid also has a neutralizing effect on the hydrochloric acid in the stomach, hence the interference in digestion and utilization of nutrient. With high sugar contents, there are high chances for a person to suffer from high blood pressure, heart diseases, premature aging and unwanted weight gain. The other content is Aspartame, which turns out to be a substitute of sugar in soda. Some of the conditions associated with this are birth defects, brain tumors and seizures. The caffeine in drinks results to insomnia, irregular heartbeats, depletion of minerals and vitamins and other forms of cancer. Tap water seems to be a less harmful component, but few people know of the harmful components it contains. Such include chlorine, organic pollutants and lead. It is the major component in bottled drinks.

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Effect on Bone Structure

The phosphoric acids in diet soda affect both bones and teeth in the body. This condition, which results in the development of soft bones, is known as Osteoporosis (general weakening of the human skeletal structure). The condition results from mineral imbalance. In the human body, minerals have a specific ratio to support its balanced and healthy functioning. Alterations of the specific ratios result in mineral imbalances of the body. In this context, the most important ratio is that of phosphorous-to-calcium (Pilny, 2013). On a normal occurrence, the ratio of these two minerals must be of 1:1. With the acids, the calcium levels reduce in the body system while increasing the phosphate levels. The ratio whereby calcium levels are low and phosphate levels are high results to constant pull out of calcium from one’s bones. This lack of balance between the calcium and phosphate minerals results to losses in bone densities. The acid interferes with the absorption of calcium and its significant loss from the bones.

In the American diet, the phosphorous levels turn out to be high because of the reliance in soft drinks and other unhealthy foods. The constant consumption of acidic beverages requires neutralization through calcium, which is an alkaline mineral. For this reason, there will be need to tap into the bones for calcium to balance the two minerals. The stripped calcium is eliminated through urine. The process of finding a balance initiates biochemical cause-and-effect events that result in the loss of calcium in bones. This situation affects teens and women more than men. While comparing the two, teens tend to be at higher risks, thus resulting to injuries like fractures, breaks and the osteoporosis in later stages of life (Adams, 2011).

The other risk factor for Osteoporosis is caffeine. All drinks with caffeine have been linked to loss of bone density due to the blocking of calcium absorption by the caffeine. Caffeine is acidic and it helps in accelerating the mineral imbalances in calcium and phosphorous. Apart from this, caffeine is dangerous for people with heart disease as it increases blood pressure and stress levels on the circulatory system (Styles, 2014). Identically to bones, teeth contain similar minerals. As much as they appear to be strong, they lack properties for restoration. This means there will be no healing of teeth unlike it happens in bones.  Soft drinks also cause the dissolution of tooth enamels as well as tooth erosion. They are known to triple double tooth decay incidences and the acidity turns out to be more dangerous than any other form of sugar. The tooth damage originates from citric acids in diet soda and not sugar as assumed by all. With the damage in enamels, the teeth become vulnerable to rotting and other forms of tooth decay. Acidity in sodas is measured in the range of 2-3 (Walsh, 2009).

To rebalance the mineral levels in the body, one has to control the sugar and acidity levels in their drinks. One may need to supplement loss of calcium to assist in the ratio and other health benefits. Additionally, it is essential for one to engage in physical exercises as well as regular body activities that strengthen the cardiovascular functioning. With exercises, one is able to increase mass densities of the bone and the mass (de Koning et al, 2011).

Diseases and Conditions linked to diet soda

Soda turns out to be a great contributor to obesity and other weight related conditions. The connection between this two revolves around artificial sugars contained in sodas. These sugars induce hormonal and psychological responses that result to weight loss or gain. With increase in weight the risk of diabetes increases. With high sugar intake, there is low sugar processing. Additionally, individuals with high soda intake have a high chance of developing heart diseases. With every intake of a can of soda, there are increased chances of developing metabolic syndromes, such as blood pressure and central obesity, thus increasing the risk for developing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes (Walsh, 2009).

The other condition experienced is gastrointestinal distress of impaired digestions, which include high acid levels in the stomach. This happens in the case of empty stomach, thus upsetting the acid-alkaline balance of the stomach and the gastric linings. There is also the threat of chronic disease and kidney stones. Most diet sodas such as cokes are known for the high phosphoric acid levels that tend to change urine formations in ways that promote the formation of kidney stones. Most importantly, individuals have the chance of facing dehydration, a danger that is posed by sodas. This condition causes other situations such as poor transportation of nutrients, poor functioning of body organs and dizziness (Pilny, 2013).

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In conclusion, the western worlds have continued to increase the consumption of soft drinks especially diet coke while decreasing consumption of nutritious drinks such as milk. These habits tend to increase the risk of osteoporosis. Because of this, many medical practitioners recommend to limit the consumption of soft drinks among all individuals. The only solution to this is choosing healthier drinks that supply calcium to the body. Such include water and milk as long as one drinks with moderation. Those who are addicted to soda have an excuse that it helps to lose weight. Sodas have become a companion of most dieters worldwide since it is calories free, yet soft drinks result to side effects discussed above (Jone, 2009).

A future recommendation would be introduction of drinks that are friendly to the teeth and the mineral balance. It would be good for manufacturers to remove caffeine from drinks and replace the high sugar drinks with the low glycemic drinks. Additionally, the new modifications should include reduction in the acid drinks. It would be also good for them to include important minerals in ingredients such as calcium to provide the required balance in ratio. The most significant step would be avoiding caffeine and its consequent addiction. For most addicts, withdrawal results to other minor issues such as irritation and headaches. For those who love sodas, it would be good to drink reasonable amounts of soft drinks since some of the artificial sweeteners are safe for people. Other forms of soda contain minerals and vitamins that are good for the human body. It is therefore important for everyone to watch his or her intake levels when it comes to diet soda. For young children and adults, the parents who are the greatest contributors to diet soda intake must develop this culture in their children.