The bitter effects of sweet cold drinks

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Do you love to gulp down those sweet carbonated soft drinks? And do you think that they are the best way to quench your thirst especially on a hot summer day?

But guys have you ever wondered what happens when a glass of soda water, say any cold drink, passes down your throat? Yes I agree that they provide instant cooling. But they have much more effects apart from this. Do you have any clue about with how difficulty your body deals with this complex liquid?

Let me tell you some horrifying yet true facts about these not-so-soft ‘soft drinks’. Often people think that they are the best source to keep oneself hydrated especially during summers. But, actually the reverse is true. All the bubbles formed in this carbonated drinks tends to make you feel fuller than you actually are. As a result, you end up drinking quite less than your body’s requirements. The Chemistry involved behind the formation of bubbles is that CO2 at a very high pressureis forcefully dissolved in water, although the concentration of CO2 in water is kept very less (0.2- 1.0%). The H2O and CO2 thus react together to form carbonic acid (H2CO3). As soon as the cap is opened, the excess pressure is released. The Carbonic acid then gets converted back into H2O and CO2. Since CO2 was dissolved forcefully it gets released in the form of bubbles a bit vigorously. This process of formation of bubbles is credited for providing such drinks a ‘fizzy’ taste. And that is why all this is carried out. This fizzy taste of bubbles might be appreciated by our taste buds but does not go quite well with our stomachs. They cause upset stomach and pose other problems in digestion as well. But, all these effects are negligible and we don’t need to worry about it too much. No, don’t take a deep sigh yet! Because it is those added sweeteners which brings with them dozens of serious health issues.

The amount of sugar contained in a single serving of cold drink is quite shocking, more than 10 tablespoons! Even more than your daily sugar intake limit as claimed by many health experts. This excess sugar then starts its work. It disturbs our metabolism, causes obesity, leaches calcium from our bones, and can even cause kidney stones. Now the question which seldom arises in our minds is that how can we intake such a large quantity of sugar in one go? Practically, this does not seem possible. If you will mix this much amount of sugar in water and then will try to gulp it down then you will vomit all that out at once!  (It will be better if you won’t try to attempt it because this disturbs metabolic processes). To make this possible, manufacturers add Phosphoric acid in your drink. This acid cuts down the flavour so that you can intake it easily. Mind you, it is done just to make you drink it easily; it has got nothing to do with the digestion of sugar afterwards.

sugar rich drinks

First Carbonic acid and then Phosphoric acid! Both these makes the pH of carbonated drinks as strong as pH 3. And do you know that even the corrosion can start taking place around this pH. This strong acid is responsible for the degradation of tooth enamel.

Ok, till now I have said enough to make you believe that these drinks rich in sugar are an enemy to your health. Are you making up your mind to get that ‘diet’ cold drink the next time? Then, stop! Because it is a lot more dangerous! A lot of research conducted on sodas and diet sodas conducted in various leading institutions across the globe proves that the diet soda also comes with their own set of serious issues. They are rich in artificial sweeteners, i.e., they taste sweet but actually do not contain any sugar. When you enjoy a diet soda then you put your body in a big state of confusion. Your body’s natural tendency to regulate calories is largely disturbed. It is fooled that sugars are added into the system. And many dieticians claim that you think you are having sugar and often you tend to crave more.

harmful drinks

Also, these sugar free mixers can enter into your blood vessels much faster. When served with cocktails, they can make you lose your senses a bit more easily. But, above all, you should worry about ‘mild inhibitors’ like sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate. These are dangerous chemicals whose side-effects go deep down to the level of DNA.

Both sodas and diet sodas works on parallel lines with many drugs. They stimulate the ‘pleasure centres’ of our brains. But the effects are negligible if compared to drugs although the mechanism involved is quite same.

The list of side effects is endless but you are now fully aware about the major ones. I know those chilled cold drinks are completely irresistible but already we are in contact with many harmful chemicals in today’s life, we ought to keep away as many as we can. And now if you are thinking about the alternatives to this, then you should not worry much, because there are plenty of healthy yet tasty drinks around us. Try coconut water, fresh fruit juices, milkshakes etc. You will not only quench your thirst but will also give your body a tasty treat of plenty of nutrients!

About Author

Sagarika Taneja is a Chemistry honours student at University of Delhi. She is passionate about science and writing. A true nature lover by heart, she loves to write on environmental topics and health related stuff the most.

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