5 Deadly Effects of Drinking Soda
There are many potentially deadly effects of your daily soda habit. You might not think it’s too serious, but recently researchers released a report linking consumption of sugary beverages, including soda, to nearly 200,000 deaths a year. That’s a worldwide total, with the number in the US estimated at 25,000 people a year. For comparison, about 33,000 Americans died in car accidents in 2013, a number that has been steadily declining.
And before you think you’re safe because you drink diet soda, it’s important to note that diet soda is also linked to obesity, which contributes to the risk of death by several of the causes listed below, as well as having their own risk.
So why is it that sodas are killing nearly 70 Americans a day? There are three main causes and a few additional risks.
Diabetes is the primary cause of death related to soda consumption. Worldwide, diabetes related to soda and other sugary drinks accounts for about 133,000 deaths a year, and perhaps 18,000 in the US. Drinking sugary diet sodas leads to type 2 diabetes, characterized by insulin resistance, where your body can produce insulin, but insulin can’t regulate blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes contributes to a number of serious health risks, such as cardiovascular diseases, gum disease, and liver and kidney problems. Even diet soda raises your risk of diabetes.
The second biggest killer related to soda consumption is cardiovascular disease, which is related to both obesity and diabetes. Deadly cardiovascular problems linked to soda consumption include heart attack and stroke. The number of worldwide cardiovascular deaths related to soda consumption is estimated at 45,000, or about 6000 in the US.
The cancer risk that is most closely linked to soda consumption is pancreatic cancer, but soda consumption is also linked to an overall rise in cancer risk. It’s estimated that, worldwide, soda consumption is linked to about 6500 cancer deaths a year, or about 800 deaths in the US each year, more than two a day.
And diet soda is likely at least as bad and possibly worse. Cancer risk is linked to the artificial sweetener aspartame and the artificial dyes used in colas.
Fatty Liver Disease
Fructose, the primary source of sugar in sodas, can’t be broken down anywhere in your body but your liver. As a result, soda consumption increases your risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. We don’t know how many people die because of soda-related fatty liver disease, but each year, about 36,500 Americans die due to chronic liver disease.
The two may seem unconnected, but if you drink a lot of soda, you’re twice as likely to develop lung conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. About 11 American die every day due to asthma, though it’s not known how many of these deaths are directly soda-related.
And It Destroys Your Teeth to Boot
On top of all the ways that soda is killing your body, it’s also killing your teeth. The acid from soda significantly erodes your dental enamel, and the sugars feed oral bacteria, resulting in significant increases in tooth decay and gum disease risk. While straws may protect your teeth, they won’t prevent these other health effects from soda consumption. If you aren’t already cutting back on your soda consumption, now is the time to start.
And if the damage from soda is already evident on your teeth, reconstructive and cosmetic dentistry can help restore your smile to its former brilliance.