3 ways cola may weaken your bones

October 5, 2015

Soft drinks are associated with increased risks of developing type 2 diabetes and obesity, yet emerging evidence suggests drinking cola may also weaken bones. Read on to learn how cola may be affecting your bone health.

3 ways cola may weaken your bones

1. Increases risk of fractures

  • Scientists who study bone health say that carbonated drinks may increase the risk of crippling fractures
  • While not all types of soft drinks are guilty, studies suggest that the most popular variety of all — cola — is the culprit
  • At first, experts thought soft drinks were bad for bones because people who drink them often do so at the expense of drinking calcium-rich milk. Recent studies suggest, however, that low-calcium diets don't necessarily increase the risk for weak bones
  • Scientists also posited that the caffeine in colas might diminish bone strength. But other beverages, namely coffee, contain far more caffeine than the typical carbonated drink, and coffee drinking is no longer thought to be associated with osteoporosis

2. Blocks calcium-absorption in bones

  • Phosphoric acid, which gives colas a sharper flavour, blocks calcium from being absorbed by bone. Studies suggest that it may increase the risk for weak bones
  • Scientists asked more than 2,500 men and women about their daily diets, then checked their bone density with X-rays. They discovered that women (but not men) who drank cola beverages every day had weaker bones than those who rarely drank cola
  • Diet cola appeared to have a similar effect, while non-cola carbonated drinks (which don't contain phosphoric acid) had none at all
  • In another study of 460 teenage girls, those who were physically active and drank cola regularly were five times more likely than other girls to have had bone fractures

3. Puts phosphorus and calcium out of balance

Skeptics point out that phosphorus is present in many other foods, such as meat, dairy foods and eggs, so why blame soft drinks?

But scientists who study bone health argue that consuming too many cola drinks throws off the balance between phosphorus and calcium in the body, which could make bones fragile.

Consuming cola in moderation may be enjoyable, but understanding how it might be affecting your body is important. If you're a cola lover, consider switching up your beverage of choice for the benefit of your bones.

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