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Nowadays soft drinks are very popular not only in the United States, but in many countries in the world. Current researches announce that today Americans consume soft beverages more than ever before and this facts troubles medical field. Soft drinks amounts for more than 25% of all drinks consumed in the country. For example, in 2000 more than billion of soda was sold in the United States. In other words, over one 12-ounce bottle per day is drunk by average man, women or child. The US Department of Agriculture says that children are the heaviest consumers of soft drink – they consume drinks at unprecedented rates.

Soda is the beverage of choice among younger population of the country and, therefore, soda marketers are focusing mainly on brand-building among children and teenagers. Nevertheless, many researchers nowadays are concerned with health affects of drinking soda and diet soda. It is known that soft drink contain a lot of sugar, caffeine and calories. Researchers claim that nutritional value of such drinks equals zero. Moreover, drinking soda from young age will negatively affect health in future. According current researches negative health affects of drinking soda is obesity, tooth decay, caffeine addiction, and bone weakening.

(Squires 2002) Childhood Obesity Recent and independent studies show that there is strong link between childhood obesity and soda consumption. Nevertheless, the mechanism how soda leads to obesity remains unproved, but there is strong evidence that soda and obesity are interrelated. It is argued that soda is high in calories and sugar, and low in nutrients does make children fat. For example a team of Harvard researchers in a British medical journal provided the first evidence that soda consumption leads to obesity.

Research team revealed that a twelve-year-old boy has been drinking soft beverages for several years and his is likely to be overweight than boys who haven’t. They concluded that with soda consumption the risk of obesity increased up to 1. 5 times. (Roshidi 2004) The Harvard team provided also meta-analysis to explore interrelations between soda and childhood obesity. They examined similar researched over the last 25 years and concluded that brain fails to respond to drinking calories as it is used to register only eating calories.

Simply saying, human brain isn’t adapted to sugary liquid calories which are passing quickly to human stomach. Soda’s calories don’t lead to feeling in the satiety in contrast to food calories. (Roshidi 2004) For example, in the article “Soft Drink, Hard Facts” Sally Squires argues that “absent a signal that calories have been consumed via soft drinks or sweetened fruit juices, the stomach does not tell the brain to quit eating at the current meal or to eat less at the next meal”. (Squires 2002) As a result, excess pound are added to our bodies.

Nevertheless, soft drink industry contradicts these claims claiming that childhood obesity is cause by a series of factors, not simply consuming soda drinks. The Vice President of NSDA Richard Adamson mentions that “blaming Blaming it on a single factor, including soft drinks, is nutritional nonsense”. (Squires 2002) Tooth Decay Soft drink industry agrees with current researches that soda contributes tooth decay because of high sugar content. According official statistics, in the United States the incidence of tooth problems (caries and cavities) has increase with soda consumption.

Nevertheless, direct evidence of relations between dental caries and soda consumption isn’t provided. Therefore, Richard Adamson concludes that “there’s no scientific evidence that consumption of sugars per se has any negative effect other than dental caries”. (Squires 2002) It means that soda consumption contributes to tooth decay, though it isn’t the sole cause of tooth problems. Other contributors are sugary foods, fruit juices and candies. However, dentists say that soft drinks possess cariogenic properties causing tooth decay. (Peterson 2001)

One of the current studies conducted by Federal Fund provided that soft drinks and tooth decay are interrelated. Research team studied about 3,000 Americans from 9 to 29 years of age during 1971-1974. British study of took problems among teenagers in more than 80 countries is also illustrative. These studies revealed that dental problems increase proportionally with sugar consumption. However, sugar is only one of the soda’s ingredients leading to tooth caries. The acids also have negative affect on tooth as they etch tooth enamel leading to cavities.

Ohio Dental Association claims that for acid twenty minutes are enough to dissolve tooth enamel. (Peterson 2001) Bone Weakening Bone weakening is claimed to be one more side health affects of soda consumption. Soda contains phosphorus which is known to deplete bones of calcium and to lead to bone fractures. Current studies show, for example, that girls who drink soft beverages are more subjected to broken bones. Nevertheless, soft drink industry denies this fact stressing that soda has nothing to do with bone weakening.

A series of animal studies (rats mainly) were conducted and they found that bones were likely to loose their structure with soda consumption. However, situations with humans and animals are rather different, but there is a concern among research community and governmental agencies about the impact of soda on bones. High phosphorus content leads to calcium deficit. (Squires 2002) Phosphorus naturally occurs in certain foods and is added to other, but it is proved that it weakens bones and leads to fractures.

Researchers say that even few cans of soda per day may be damaging, especially if they are consumed during the peak of bone building – childhood and adolescence. Grace Wyshak conducted a study of bone fractures in teenagers and found strong relations between soft drink consumptions and bone weakening in 14-year-olds. Wyshak also conducted follow-up study of girl from 9th and 10th grade and revealed that girls who drank soda were subjected to bone fractures more than girls who didn’t drink. Leeann Birch from the Pennsylvania State University found that soda replaces necessary nutrients and milk.

(Squires 2002) Caffeine Addiction Soda is known for its stimulant properties and addiction potential because of caffeine content. The effect of caffeine on children health is, surely, negative. Health advocates argues if children consume caffeine they will likely to become caffeine addicted later in life. Regular doses of caffeine are proved to affect negatively brain development. People may experience acute head aches, rises of blood pressures and increased irritability. Often stomach problems are result of caffeine consumption.

Despite the fact that research on caffeine’s affect is rather limited, it is suggested that children also become caffeine addicted and experience withdrawal. For example, Gail Bernstein, child psychiatrist at the University of Minnesota, examined children behavior after they had been drinking tree cans of Diet Coke for two weeks. Then soft drinks were replaced by caffeine-free, but children remained unaware of that fact. Bernstein measure withdrawal effect stating that within the next 24 hours children showed decreased attention – classic symptom of withdrawal. (Roshidi 2004)

The positive moment is that soft drink industry agrees with independent studies that caffeine causes addicted both in children and adults, but they mention also that there is wide variation in how people are responding to caffeine affects. They recommend choosing caffeine-free soda. Actually, caffeine naturally occurs and kola nuts and it is added to cola’s soft drinks. The question is: why caffeine added if it is known that it leads to physical addiction? The answer is that small amounts of caffeine are added for taste, not for desire to sustain demand for the product.

But it is difficult to trust industrial giants who claim that bitter taste of caffeine enhances other flavors. Ronald Griffiths, professor at John Hopkins Medical Institution, revealed that only about 8% of regular soda drinkers are able to identify whether the drink is caffeine-free. Therefore, Griffiths argues that “great popularity of caffeinated soft drinks is driven not so much by subtle taste effects as by the mood-altering and physical dependence of caffeine that drives the daily self-administration”.

(Squires 2002) Drinking soda, especially diet soda, affects development of brain in children and adolescents. Goldstein, Stanford’s researchers, mentions that “when you are dependent on a drug, you are really upsetting the normal balances of neurochemistry in the brain – the fact that kids have withdrawal signs and symptoms when the caffeine is stopped is a good indication that something has been profoundly disturbed in the brain”. Diet soda is more harmful as the amount of caffeine is higher.

Moreover, Diet soda contains aspartame which is known for its critical devastating affects on our bodies. Aspartame or Nutrasweet is present in all diet soda. Actually, this ingredient may cause shooting pains, spasms, vertigo, numbness of the legs, acute headaches, joint paints, and seizures. Psychological affects are depressions, anxiety attacks and irritability. (Squires 2002) Conclusion Summing up, drinking soda and diet soda negatively affects our physical and mental health making our bodies subjected to irritants, addictions and disturbances.

Increased consumption of soda and decreased consumption of milk lead to health problems. There is enough evidence for national concern about the health effect of soft drinks on children and adolescents. Rising obesity and bone weakening are also serious health affects. Children and adolescents are not aware of serious consequences; moreover, they don’t want to realize that drinking soda is harmful for their bodies. When they are young they are very thoughtfulness and don’t mine future health, but when they become middle-aged it will be difficult to improve health.

The risk to become fat, caffeine-addicted, weak-boned and cavity-prone is very high. (Squires 2002) Works Cited Peterson, Dan. (2001). Does Soda Pop Cause Cavities? Available at http://www. dentalgentlecare. com/diet_soda. htm Roshidi, R. (2004). Soft Drinks – Hard Facts. Available at http://www. ameinfo. com/26590. html Squires, Sally. (2002). Soft Drinks, Hard Facts. Available at http://chetday. com/softdrinkdangers. htm

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