2013-05-23

This Is Your Body On A Can Of Soda

It feels so good when it hits your lips, but the rest of your body isn’t so happy.

At this point, you’d have to be quite daft to drink soda on a regular basis. Because the evidence of its ill-effects is vast, and mounting. Just recently, research found that consuming a 12-ounce can daily increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by 22%. And, not long ago, we wrote up a study that linked soda, and other heavily sugared drinks, with 184,000 deaths annually (132,000 of those from diabetes). And so on.

This infographic, from Term Life Insurance, is a little trip around the body, from your lungs and heart, to your kidney and gut. For example, it points to research showing that phosphoric acid in cola leads to higher risk of osteoporosis, particularly in older women. And, that high fructose corn syrup is associated with heart disease, and may cause more weight gain than conventional sugar. And, that soda rots the enamel in your teeth.

Of course, if you’re looking for an alternative perspective, you could also go to the site kept by the Coca-Cola Company Beverage Institute For Health & Wellness (yes, there is such a thing), or Sweetsurprise.com (from the Corn Refiners Association). Both are full of contradictory "facts" and figures.

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17 Comments

  • Wow! Eye opener! I don't understand why we can't just embrace that organic foods and beverages are the way forward! There are so many alternatives out there and they taste amazing - my new obsession - Miracle Tree's moringa teas (www.miracletree.co)! If more people drank healthily, the world would be a better place! - My two cents, anyway! - Maya

  • Lindsey S. Nagy

    Incase you missed it...@Fast Company 's FB post caption:
    "This infographic, from Term Life Insurance, is a little trip around the body, from your lungs and heart, to your kidney and gut. For example, it points to research showing that phosphoric acid in cola leads to higher risk of osteoporosis, particularly in older women. And, that high fructose corn syrup is associated with heart disease, and may cause more weight gain than conventional sugar. And, that soda rots the enamel in your teeth."

  • ATX_brainiac

    If you want to drink soda that's your choice. You guys can debate the science of it all you want. Saying that chocolate, dairy, meat, blah blah blah is also bad for you doesn't take away from the effects of drinking sugar-based beverages. I stopped drinking soda many years ago. One day I decided to have a Dr. Pepper and what happened to my body within minutes of drinking less than a cup of it is enough science for me. Headache, stomach ache, shakey hands and the overall realization that there was something very wrong inside of my body. Your body does need water to function properly. So you should drink water. Glucose is present is so many things that you eat that it's likely that you don't need to drink it to stay alive. In the end it's your body. You have the right to decide how you kill it.

  • Sunho Lee

    hard to believe the BPA hasn't been outlawed yet.  this is another industry that the US Gov. considers "too big to fail" i think...  quite clearly, profits of big companies are almost always more important to the FDA, USDA, etc. than human health...and to think they are paid by tax dollars.....it's really time to start hanging some of the criminals behind these agency's policies.

  • Sunho Lee

    caffeine has health benefits..no question about that.  and some sodas still contain plant ingredients that can be medicinal..the coca plant, the kola nut, the root in (real) root beer, chocolate, fruit juice, etc...some of this stuff is still used in various sodas, and has some good...healthy sodas could be made if only these companies were not so goshdarned greedy...that's the real problem.

  • CaptainRorrick

    "Back in high school, I used to drink a hundred cans of cola a week. Right up until my third heart attack." - Fry, Futurama. 

  • JD

    Read "Sweet Deception" for more horrific information on what the food industry and the FDA has doen to the American diet.

  • Jon Price

    Would like to the same for diet soda. Most of these are all about regular coke, pepsi, etc. I'm sure there plenty of negatives for diet soda as well, but they are mostly lost in this kind of reporting.

  • JP

    "Soda is a liquid composed of water* and saccharides*.   You body needs water to function properly and avoid dehydration*.  Likewise your body needs glucose* to function properly and the saccharides provide an efficient source.  These things are basic necessities of life* and without them we would die*."

    You pee more water because you drink more soda. You lose more water than you get with soda.. that's a fact. Do you drink ocean water? It's got salt and water.. both things are necessary to life...

  • Kdantlin80

    Dear Ben,

    please do the same exercise (an article a week on each would be nice)  for chocolate, alcohol, potatoes/tortilla chips, cereal, meat, dairy products and bubble gum.

    sure soda is worse than water for your body (nobody doubts this fact)  but to publish a study that takes data from 12 different sources , combines and grabs their worst case scenarios, then builds a "fast-co" friendly info-graphic to drive "life insurance" rates up and gain awareness for their company is just wrong.

    fast co. is better than this. 

    even your attempt to provide an alternative perspective is down-graded by linking to coca-colas site then including a sarcastic comment in parenthesis of "(yes, there is such a thing)"

    poor use of your platform to deliver what obviously is a personal opinion. do better next time and in the meantime enjoy your new found fame via retweets and likes. i hope you understand the ultimate value of REAL reporting and posting for reaction

  • Jason Hossa

    "Show me one nutritional positive from a can of soda, and support it with science."

    Soda is a liquid composed of water* and saccharides*.   You body needs water to function properly and avoid dehydration*.  Likewise your body needs glucose* to function properly and the saccharides provide an efficient source.  These things are basic necessities of life* and without them we would die*.

    *web search any of the words with an asterisk for a thorough understanding

  • Jeremy

    I am sorry, I think that you have completely missed the point here.

    Take away all agenda, and you still have scientific facts that form basis for all of the points highlighted.

    Show me one nutritional positive from a can of soda, and support it with science.

  • Gazeintosun

     Good points. A little poison doesn't do any real harm, after all Victorian ladies took small doses of arsenic to keep their complexion to look like what is now called 'jail pale.'

    The info about fat people having far more, and more serious health issues is something that is under-reported.

  • MaureenABA

    The
    facts are that no single food, drink, or ingredient uniquely causes the
    conditions listed in this infographic. 
    Diabetes, obesity, and the others are all linked to proven lists of risk
    factors, including physical inactivity, genetics, and age.  In addition, the American Medical Association
    has studied high fructose corn syrup and found it is not a unique contributor
    to obesity, that it is nearly identical in structure to sucrose (table sugar),
    and that your body processes both in the same way (http://bit.ly/13xxMx7).