1. Phosphoric acid is a clear, colorless, odorless liquid with a syrupy consistency.
2. Phosphoric acid is used as an acidifying agent to give colas their tangy flavor.
3. Due to the use of phosphoric acid, cola is a actually more acid than lemon juice or vinegar. The vast amount of sugar acts to mask and balance the acidity.
4. Phosphoric acid also goes by E338, orthophosphoric acid, and phosphoric(V) acid.
5. Food-grade phosphoric acid is a mass-produced chemical, available cheaply and in large quantities.
6. Phosphoric acid is commonly used for rust removal.
7. Phosphorus-containing substances occur naturally (0.1%-0.5%) in foods such as milk, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, and egg yolks.
8. Phosphoric acid has been linked to lower bone density in some epidemiological studies, including a discussion in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
9. Opposing studies showed the opposite – that *low* intake of phosphorus leads to lower bone density. Guess who funded the studies? PepsiCo.
10. Aside from the risk of osteoporosis, Cola consumption has also been linked to chronic kidney disease and kidney stones.
11. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer watchdog group not affiliated with the food industry, only a small fraction of the phosphate in the American diet comes from additives in soft drinks. Most comes from meat and dairy products.
Soda consumption has increased dramatically over the past 40 years, much to the pleasure of the soda manufacturers, and so have the ill effects of it's over consumption.
In fact, kids today consume way too much sugar (29 to 40tsp/day) as compared to 40 years ago. Teenagers are getting approximately 40% of their sugar/energy calories from soft drinks; they are drinking less milk and getting less calcium.
Teens currently drink twice as much soda as milk when compared to twenty years ago. Studies have shown that teenage girls require 1300mg of calcium/day and may be only getting 800mg. Calcium is important for bone development up to the age of 18; lack of calcium can predispose one to osteoporosis and broken bones.
At Risk Populations
As a matter of fact, teenage girls who drink too much soda have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis and broken bones. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has stated that three cans of soda/day poses a serious risk for teenage boys. Males in the 12-29 age range are the largest group of soda drinkers. Health risks from over consumption include diabetes, kidney stones, obesity, osteoporosis, and tooth destruction.
What about the contents of soda or should we say Liquid Candy? Soda contents include a high fructose corn syrup, additive dye, acid, and caffeine. An average can of soda has approximately 10-12tsp of sugar or 40-48 grams, carbonic or phosphoric acid, and some like Mountain Dew have 55mg of caffeine.
Incidentally, an adult No Doze contains 95mg of caffeine. The fructose syrup has zero nutritional value. Caffeine, a mildly addictive stimulant, causes calcium excretion which can lead to increased risk of osteoporosis and kidney stones.
The addictive nature of caffeine has led to habitual consumption of some of these beverages. Some individuals are actually allergic to the food dyes that are added for coloring.
Health Consequences of Soda Consumption
Let's discuss the oral health consequences. Most people will say the sugar in the soda is bad and will cause tooth decay and obesity. The real danger here is the acid!
Sugar vs. Acid
The carbonic or phosphoric acid dissolves the calcium out of the enamel leaving a softened matrix for bacteria to enter the teeth and cause wholesale carious destruction. So drinking sugar free sodas is not the answer.
The individuals we see range from a mild decalcification of teeth where there are white bands of softened enamel circling the teeth at the gum line to cases where numerous teeth are totally destroyed from decay.
Many of these individuals are students who would study and continuously sip soda creating an acid bath for their teeth. Now let's not forget the fact that sugar itself is converted to acid by the bacteria on the teeth for an additional insult. If you couple all this with poor oral hygiene, you have an oral disaster in the making.
The public needs to be educated regarding these ill affects and the soda companies need to take some responsibility, for they glorify drinking their brands as being cool sort of like Joe Camel and cigarettes. So the next time you or your kids drink soda... be aware. Use moderation. Don't bathe your teeth in acid, rinse with water and practice good oral hygiene.