Impacts of soft drink consumption on nutrition and health

Soft drink utilization has turned into a very unmistakable and dubious general wellbeing and open arrangement issue. Soda pops are seen by numerous as a noteworthy donor to stoutness and related medical issues and have thusly been focused as a way to shorten the rising commonness of heftiness, especially among kids. Soda pops have been restricted from schools in Britain and France, and in the United States, educational systems as vast as those in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Miami have prohibited or seriously constrained soda pop deals. Numerous US states have considered statewide bans or points of confinement on soda deals in schools, with California passing such enactment in 2005. A key question is whether moves made to diminish soda pop utilization are justified given the accessible science and whether diminishing populace utilization of sodas would profit general wellbeing.

The issue is not new. In 1942 the American Medical Association mentioned soft drinks specifically in a strong recommendation to limit intake of added sugar.1 At that time, annual US production of carbonated soft drinks was 90 8-oz (240-mL) servings per person; by 2000 this number had risen to more than 600 servings.2 In the intervening years, controversy arose over several fundamental concerns: whether these beverages lead to energy overconsumption; whether they displace other foods and beverages and, hence, nutrients; whether they contribute to diseases such as obesity and diabetes; and whether soft drink marketing practices represent commercial exploitation of children.3–5

The industry trade association in the United States (the American Beverage Association, formerly the National Soft Drink Association) counters nutrition concerns with several key points: (1) the science linking soft drink consumption to negative health outcomes is flawed or insufficient, (2) soft drinks are a good source of hydration, (3) soft drink sales in schools help education by providing needed funding, (4) physical activity is more important than food intake, and (5) it is unfair to “pick on” soft drinks because there are many causes of obesity and there are no “good” or “bad” foods. Similar positions have been taken by other trade associations such as the British Soft Drinks Association and the Australian Beverages Council.

Legislative and legal discussions focusing on soft drink sales often take place on political and philosophical grounds with scant attention to existing science. Our objectives were to review the available science, examine studies that involved the use of a variety of methods, and address whether soft drink consumption is associated with increased energy intake, increased body weight, displacement of nutrients, and increased risk of chronic diseases.
In addition to effects on energy intake and weight, it is important to know whether soft drinks displace essential nutrients and contribute to overall poorer diets. Our review showed that increased soft drink intake is related to lower consumption of milk and calcium, but average effect sizes were small. Soft drink consumption was also related to higher intake of carbohydrates, lower intakes of fruit and dietary fiber, and lower intakes of a variety of macronutrients in cross-sectional, longitudinal, and longer-term experimental studies.