Pop, soda, or Coke, (depending on where you’re from), seems to be a part of an average American’s daily life. Startling studies have shown the negative effects that soda pop can have on a person, and their athletic performances.
Soda and other carbonated drinks are not good fluids to hydrate oneself for athletic practice or competition. Sodas that contain caffeine, which is a diuretic, cause your body to lose water, increasing the chances of becoming dehydrated.
Studies have shown that caffeine can improve endurance, but mostly among the elite athletes that do not consume caffeine on a regular basis. Even if caffeine enhances performance, a person cannot meet their potential if they are becoming dehydrated from it.
Studies that have been recognized by The Journal of The American College of Nutrition have shown that dehydration causes weakness, muscle cramps, breakdown of tissue, and poor performance. Your body cannot carry the nutrients to your muscles and remove waste produced during physical activities when your body loses too much water. A person also cannot sustain their cognitive and physical performance when they are not hydrated. Your cardiovascular endurance increases when you stay hydrated, and in hot and humid conditions, staying hydrated is necessary to prevent heat-related illnesses.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the sugar in soda gives your body a short-term energy source, which spikes your blood sugar and will stop your body from using fats and proteins for energy. Once the sugar is depleted, your body can’t switch back to using the fats and proteins (commonly known as a sugar crash). In distance or long-duration athletic events, this can have extremely negative results.
The amount of sugar is usually about 150 calories per can, or 10 teaspoons, and drinking soda daily could add up to 15 pounds to your weight in one year, according to Brown University.
Carbonation also causes many people to feel bloated. The excess air builds up in your stomach and makes exercise more difficult and less efficient. Drinking carbonated beverages can also cause stomach discomfort or nausea, and can contribute to cramping.
Soda can make a person more susceptible to heart attacks, strokes, type-two diabetes (in serious cases), heart disease, kidney issues, and other chronic conditions such as metabolic syndrome.
Soda also contains high levels of phosphoric acid. High intake can decrease bone mineral density because phosphorus decreases levels of calcium and vitamin D in the blood.
Two studies also suggested that women who drink more soda are more prone to breaking bones. A study was done with rats that showed clear and consistent bone loss with the use of cola beverages.
A Harvard study that took place in 1994 showed that there was a strong association between cola beverage consumption and bone fractures in 14-year-old-girls. Girls who drank cola were about five times more likely to suffer bone fractures than the girls that did not. The Harvard School of Public Health reports that the high levels of phosphate in sodas can cause bone issues, especially when your diet does not include enough calcium.