Soft drinks, or soda pop beverages as they may be called, have long been criticized for providing no nutritional value and contributing to the global epidemics of diabetes and obesity. However, the popularity of these drinks have continued to rise in the face of health concerns.
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Mountain Dew and Mellow Yellow contain the highest levels of caffeine amongst popular soft drinks, at 54 and 53 milligrams, respectively. Dr. Pepper, Pepsi and Coca Cola aren't far behind, while Sprite, 7-Up and Fanta have zero milligrams of caffeine. As a comparison, regular brewed coffee has between 95 and 200 milligrams.
The sugar content of most soft drinks is between 30 and 60 grams. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends adults eating 2,000 calories per day consume no more than 40 grams of sugar per day. In North America, soft drinks are often sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, which many health experts believe does even more damage than sugar, especially when consumed in high quantities.
Artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors and preservatives are present in most soft drinks. Citric or phosphoric acids are generally used to give a tart flavor and prevent the drinks from spoiling. These acids can cause your body to leech calcium from your bones in order to stabilize the pH of your blood, so chronic soda drinkers are vulnerable to developing osteoporosis.
Sweeteners like aspartame and Sucralose are frequently used in diet soft drinks, and experts are divided on whether or not people should make a habit of consuming them. Studies have shown that consuming either regular or diet drinks can increase your risk of metabolic syndrome by 44 percent. Additionally, lab tests have demonstrated an increased risk of cancer in lab rats consuming aspartame, although this risk has not been proven in humans.