In brief: Are carbonated beverages bad for you?

In brief

Are carbonated beverages bad for you?

In the early 1990s, Harvard researchers reported study results showing that teenage girls who consumed a lot of cola tended to have more broken bones. In 2003, a study of soft drink (not just cola) consumption among teenagers in Northern Ireland linked high intake to lower bone mineral density among the girls, but not the boys.

One explanation: Girls who drink lots of soft drinks end up with weaker bones because they aren't drinking milk, a rich source of calcium.

It's also possible that the problem is cola drinks. Most brands contain caffeine, which increases the excretion of calcium by the kidneys, leaving less to be incorporated into bones. Colas also contain phosphoric acid, which may lower blood levels of calcium by interfering with normal metabolism of the mineral.

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