The Real Effect of Soda: Fuss about the Fizz!

With the recent controversy over New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pushing to outlaw large sodas in the Big Apple, it might not be a bad time to learn what the nutrition facts on those bottles mean and what they leave out.

For instance, a super-size (42 oz.) soda from McDonald’s contains 113 grams of sugar and 410 calories; that’s the same number of calories as a quarter-pound cheeseburger. But at least there’s no fat, right? Well, not exactly. While soda doesn’t contain fat, the human body converts excess sugar to fat — and nearly all of those 113 grams of sugar are excess. Read on to learn more about how the sugar in soda affects your body and what other dangers hide in that innocent aluminum can.


Soda has extremely high sugar content, which can contribute to the development of obesity and diabetes. The body converts excess sugar to fat, a connection that many soda drinkers don’t understand or choose not to think about. Chronic over-consumption of sugar also increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which is increasingly common among older adults and also affects some young people.

Tooth Decay

The combination of extremely high sugar content and high acidity erodes the enamel on teeth causes decay.

Weak Bones

Studies have shown that the phosphorus in soda leaches calcium from bones, leading to a higher incidence of broken bones.

Kidney Disease

Drinking two or more colas a day has also been shown to double your risk of chronic kidney disease, probably due to the concentration of phosphoric acid in the drink. Drinking cola also increases your risk of kidney stones, renal failure and other ailments affecting the kidneys.

Diet Soda

Many people drink diet soda in order to minimize the health risks associated with soda, but this is an imperfect solution. While diet soda lacks some of the nutritional risks associated with high-sugar content, the impact of artificial sweeteners on the human body is still not well understood and may pose other health risks. Other health risks outlined in this article, such as weakened bones, damaged teeth and compromised kidneys, can also be caused by the phosphoric acid in diet soda.

And while diet soda is not as nutritionally harmful as regular soda, studies have shown that diet soda consumption also correlates with obesity, for reasons that are not entirely clear.

While soda isn’t healthy, there are plenty of widely available alternatives that you can learn to enjoy just as much. Fruit juices contain natural sugars that are better for your body than the refined sugar in soda, and they are also packed with vitamins and other nutrients. For a real treat, you can mix up some juices with berries, fruit and greens to make a delicious smoothie — add some peanut butter, yogurt or protein powder, and this healthy drink can become a whole meal!

Final Words on Soda

If you don’t want to cut soda out of your diet completely, moderate consumption of diet soda (one to two servings a day) should not greatly impact your health.

• Meet the Author • Erica Moss

This post is written by Erica Moss, who is the community manager for the online Masters degree in Nursing program at Georgetown University. Follow her on Twitter @ericajmoss.

3 comments… add one
  • Soda is one of the major causes of obesity. People drink without knowing that it contains lot of calories. Diet soda actually contributes to weight gain. People who drink diet soda have a 41 percent increased risk of being overweight or obese-for every can or bottle they drink per day.

  • Thank god! I left drinking soda … Previously, I was drinking 2-3 per days. 🙂


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