Monday, February 18, 2013

Sodas: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

I'm in DC visiting my brother right now. I've observed the dietary habits of my eleven year old nephew these past few days. I'm concerned with what I'm seeing. I mentioned some things about the sodas he's been drinking. He asked "what's wrong with drinking sodas?"

In the last 100 years, sodas have become one of the most commonly consumed beverages. They are readily available and can be found anywhere. They are available in every store, restaurant school and public venue.

The reason why they have become so ubiquitous is because they taste very good. I enjoy an occasional soft drink. There's nothing wrong with drinking them on occasion and infrequently.

Some cities have enacted laws to curb their consumption. New York City for example has banned the sale of sodas in containers larger than 16 ounces. Opponents have argued that individual rights and choices are being violated. I will not get into the legal aspects of this. I don't believe that this is something the government should be involved with anyway. I will simply state the facts.

So what are the issues with sodas? They taste so good. Well, here are some health concerns:
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Tooth decay
  • Strokes
  • High Cholesterol
  • Gastro-esophageal reflux disease
The reason why they are so bad for you is primarily because of the high concentration of refined sugars and because of the the acidity of these products. There are different biochemical mechanisms why the issues mentioned above are more likely. The mechanisms are beyond the scope of this blog. I may discuss them in more detail in future writings.

A poster I found online. I'm not sure about the asthma link.

These are some of the issues with regular sodas. I'm not even talking about the popular energy drinks. These are certainly much worse for you and account for a dramatic increase in emergency room visits in recent years. Perhaps I'll write about these in another blog.

I hope this provides enough rudimentary information that may help you decide to reduce or eliminate your soda intake. Speak to your health care professional for advice.

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit

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