Taking the Fizz out of your Diet

April 13th, 2014

Soda and other carbonated beverages can be refreshing on a warm day.  However, excess intake of these drinks can have a negative impact on your health.  The bubbles in these drinks is essentially carbonic acid.  For science geeks, this is carbon dioxide gas dissolved in liquid.  This acid is strong enough to strip away dental enamel.  If you place an eggshell in soda overnight it will lose its hardness and turn into a gelatinous mess.  In your body, bubbles can cause your blood to be slightly acidic.  Typically, the blood is a pH of 7, essentially neutral.  Whenever your blood becomes even slightly off this pH, your body tries to compensate.  One mechanism is to release calcium carbonate from the bones.  Obviously, this could lead to osteoporosis.  Another effect is that it can worsen conditions such as kidney disease and muscle breakdown, both of which are known to be related to acidification of blood.  Acid in bubbly beverages can also make digestive diseases such as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), gastritis, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) worse as well.

It is especially important to avoid sodas on days when you are exercising strenuously.  Ideally, we should avoid carbonated beverages altogether.  You can replace them with unsweetened iced tea, water, fruit-infused water, or iced coffee.  Remember, if it has bubbles, it’s acidic!