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Drinking Cola is Bad for Your Bones

Drinking sodas, instead of water, with meals and in between meals, is one of the primary causes of obesity in the US. Since these sodas are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup made from corn, they may even lead to Alzheimer's disease. Now it's been discovered that cola contributes to osteoporosis, the disease that causes brittle bones, especially in elderly women.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, over half of Americans, mostly women, are at risk of developing osteoporosis, a disease that leads to bone fractures. Nutritionist Katherine Tucker has discovered that colas, such as Coke and Pepsi, may contribute to lower bone mineral density in older women.

Tucker analyzed dietary questionnaires and bone mineral density measurements at the spine and three different hip sites of more than 2,500 people in a study of people whose average age was just below 60. In women, cola consumption was associated with lower bone mineral density at all three hip sites, regardless of factors such as age, menopausal status, total calcium and vitamin D intake, or use of cigarettes or alcohol.

However, cola consumption was NOT associated with lower bone mineral density for men at the hip sites. The results were similar for diet cola and, although weaker, for decaffeinated cola as well.

Men reported drinking an average of six carbonated drinks a week, with five being cola, and women reported consuming an average of five carbonated drinks a week, four of which were cola. Serving size was defined as one bottle, can or glass of cola. Tucker says, "The more cola that women drank, the lower their bone mineral density was. However, we did not see an association with bone mineral density loss for women who drank carbonated beverages that were not cola."

Unlike other sodas, colas contain phosphoric acid, which may be the culprit. While previous studies have suggested that cola contributes to osteoporosis because it replaces milk in the diet, Tucker found that women in the study who drank higher amounts of cola did not have a lower intake of milk than women who drank fewer colas. Carbonated soft-drink consumption increased more than three-fold between 1960 and 1990, and more than 70% of the carbonated beverages consumed by people are colas.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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