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Q. Can Drinking Seltzers, Sodas or Other Carbonated Drinks Harm Bones?

By Joyce Hendley, May/June 2008

Can Drinking Seltzers, Sodas or Other Carbonated Drinks Harm Bones?

A. Perhaps. There’s research that links drinking certain types of soda with weaker bones—but carbonation doesn’t seem to be the problem.

Nutrition experts once believed caffeine could be the culprit. In a 2001 study out of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, people lost measurable amounts of calcium after drinking caffeinated sodas. Drinking decaffeinated sodas didn’t appear to have the same effect. As it turned out, though, people tended to make up for the losses by excreting less calcium later in the day. The researchers concluded that if sodas harm bones it’s probably because people drink them in place of milk.

But another study, reported in 2006 by researchers at Tufts University in Boston, suggests that colas, specifically, might be problematic. Among the 1,413 women whose dietary records and bone-density scans they reviewed, those who drank a diet or regular cola at least three times a week over five years had significantly lower bone densities than those who sipped cola once a month or less. No such effect occurred with other carbonated drinks, even after researchers factored in intake of calcium from foods.

The likely cause? Phosphoric acid, which is unique to colas, says Katherine Tucker, Ph.D., lead author of the study. When the body breaks down this compound, the acidity (or concentration of free hydrogen ions) of the blood increases. To neutralize acidity, hydrogen ions bind with minerals, including calcium and magnesium. If they’re not available in the blood, says Tucker, “the body draws calcium from bones.” The occasional cola drinker probably needn’t worry. “The real risk is for those who drink cola every day,” says Tucker.

Bottom line: There are plenty of good reasons to quit a regular soda habit; carbonation isn’t one of them. In fact, sparkling mineral waters sometimes contain a little calcium and magnesium, says Tucker, “so they might even benefit bones.”

COMMENTS POSTEDsort icon

Did not help

Anonymous

03/19/2015 - 8:03pm

This didnt help me with my research at all!!!

Anonymous

01/18/2015 - 1:21pm

yep, i agree

Anonymous

12/21/2014 - 2:24pm

yall are nuts. Just drink it.

Anonymous

05/14/2014 - 2:37pm

If you care about your health, drink water. Milk is terrible for you, soda is insanely horrible for you, juice is full of acid, but water is essential to life. It's simple... Drink water you idiots!

Anonymous

05/04/2014 - 3:00am

All drinks n food have its effect. Too much of everything is not good, never take anything in excess. prevention is better than cure.

Anonymous

03/04/2014 - 3:38am

dumbest thing I've read

Anonymous

01/04/2014 - 7:40pm

I already found the cure to not lose calcium from coke, if u drink coke then it eats away your bone but it wont do much effect if you drink milk after you drink coke cause milk builds up calcium, milk has calcium in it so it is good to drink after you drink coke..... sooo there you have it, the cure the coke eating away ur bone loss

Anonymous

12/21/2013 - 5:22pm

it is true that people are addicted to carbonated drinks which contain acids like caffeine and phosphorus.
their effect can be reduced by adding ?????????????????????????????????????????

Anonymous

08/28/2013 - 9:12am

You would be far, far better off with the non-diet soda. By all means, do some research on the extreme harm of diet soda. It does NOTHING to lower weight or prevent weight gain; in fact, it aids in over-eating after the fact. And the sugar substitutes used are very damaging. Diet soda is a myth. Just have the regular Coke, please.

Anonymous

07/29/2013 - 3:10pm

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