Sodium Benzoate, found in soft drinks, is used as a preservative (microbial control) in foods. Sodium preservatives add sodium to the diet and reduce the availability of potassium. Some reported reactions to sodium benzoate include recurring rash, asthma and eczema.
- Kidney issues
Cola contains high levels of phosphoric acid linked to kidney stones and other renal problems. Excessive consumption of fructose-containing beverages is a risk factor for kidney disease, marked by high blood pressure, as well as inflammation and damage to the kidneys.
Although most of the fructose in soft drinks is taken up by the liver, up to 30 per cent of it goes through kidneys, which can cause an increase in levels of uric acid, a waste product created as the kidneys break down food.
- Sugar overload
Twenty minutes after drinking a bottle of soft drinks, your blood sugar spikes causing insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar into fat and 40 minutes later, caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, blood pressure rises and as a response, the liver dumps more sugar into the bloodstream.
The adenosine in the brain is now blocked, preventing drowsiness. Fourty five minutes later, the body ups dopamine production, stimulating the pleasure centres of the brain. This is also how marijuana and heroin works.
The relationship between soft drink consumption and body weight is so strong that researchers calculate that for each additional soda consumed, the risk of obesity increases 1.6 times. Seventy per cent of cardiovascular disease is related to obesity while 42 per cent of breast and colon cancer is diagnosed in obese individuals. Additionally, 30 per cent of gall bladder surgery is related to obesity.
- Dissolving of tooth enamel
Sugar and acid in soft drinks easily dissolve tooth enamel. When tooth decay reaches the nerve, the root and the area at the base of the tooth, the tooth may die and, if left untreated, an abscess can develop.
- Heart disease
Most soft drinks contain high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener that’s recently come under considerable scrutiny. High fructose corn syrup has been associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, a condition associated with an elevated risk of both diabetes and heart disease.
- Reproductive issues
Soft drink cans are coated with a resin that contains BPA (bisphenyl-A). This is the same cancer-causing chemical found in plastic baby bottles, water bottles and plastic containers that wreaks havoc on the endocrine system, potentially causing premature puberty and reproductive abnormalities. Ninety nine per cent of plastic bottles contain BPA.
Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses, such as bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. Soft drinks contain phosphoric acid and a high phosphate diet that has been associated with bone breakdown and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
When phosphorus is excreted in the urine, it takes calcium with it, depriving the bones and the rest of the body of this important mineral. Eighty per cent of those affected by osteoporosis are women while 20 per cent are men.
- Increased risk of diabetes
Those who drink more soft drinks have an 80 per cent risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to International Diabetes Federation Africa, there were 478, 000 cases of diabetes in Kenya in 2015 while 415 million people have diabetes in the world. And the figure is expected to more than double by 2040.
- Brain health
Several scientific studies suggest that a high sugar diet may increase risk of schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. Drinking or consuming high amounts of sugar in soft drinks each day could lead to less production of brain-derived nuerotrophic factor, the brain chemical that forms new memories.