Certain Coca-Cola bottles claim that the drink contains no artificial flavors and chemical preservatives. This seems to be the company’s newest strategy to get the more health-conscious costumers back on board.
The only problem is that the labeling is somewhat misleading. Coke contains the notorious phosphoric acid, which is essentially both an artificial flavor and a preservative, and has been linked to many health problems.
Read on to find out what happens to your body when you consume Coca-Cola and how it can destroy your bones.
What Happens when you Drink a Can of Soda
I mentioned in a previous article what happens within an hour of drinking a can of soda:
Within 20 minutes, you get a sugar high. Your blood sugar spikes, resulting in a quick release of the hormone insulin. The liver tries to compensate by turning excessive sugar into fat and storing it around the body.
Within 40 minutes, all the caffeine is absorbed and your body responds to this substance: the pupils dilate, blood pressure rises, and the liver dumps even more sugar into the bloodstream.
Around 45 minutes after you have had your drink, the body increases dopamine production, which gives the person an imminent sensation of pleasure – this is similar to the way the body responds to heroin.
After 60 minutes, you develop a sugar crash. You can experience fatigue, change in mood, lethargy, mental fogginess.
A can of coke contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar, which amounts to 100% of your recommended daily intake.
The extreme sweetness is masked by phosphoric acid, which prevents the body from developing an immediate reaction to the glucose overload. Here is how phosphoric acid can destroy your bones.
How a Can of Coke Destroys your Bones
Coke contains phosphoric acid
Coca-Cola contains Phosphoric which is also known as E338, orthophosphoric acid, and phosphoric(V) acid.
It is a mass-produced chemical, available cheaply and in large quantities. It can be used to remove rust, while the food-grade phosphoric acid is a very acidifying agent. It makes the drink more acid than vinegar or lemon juice.
Some studies have linked phosphoric acid to osteoporosis, chronic kidney disease and kidney stones.
One such study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2006. The main conclusion of the study was that drinking cola is associated with low bone mineral density (BMD) in women. Women who were drinking Coke daily, had 3.7% lower BMD at the femoral neck compared to those who didn’t consume the drink. The link was not found with other carbonated soft drinks.
There was however a study that claimed just the opposite, and linked low phosphor intake to lower bone density. This study was funded by Coca-Cola, so the findings are not unbiased, and the validity of the study has been questioned.
Coca-Cola is Under Fire for its Deceptive Labeling
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, certain Coca-Cola bottles claim that the drink contains no artificial flavors and chemical preservatives. Coca-Cola is under fire for its deceptive labeling, and several class action lawsuits have been filed across the US.
The company officials say that phosphoric acid is not on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) list of artificial flavors, so they are not obliged to name it as one. But this claim was quickly discredited, as the FDA’s list is not meant to be exhaustive.
The FDA defines artificial flavors as ingredients included specifically to add flavor and which are not derived from natural sources like fruit and vegetable juice, plant materials, or dairy products, among other things.
Coke doesn’t hide the fact that phosphoric acid is used in its signature drink, and includes it in the list of ingredients. It adds tartness to Coke (that’s why the abundance of sugar has to be used to mask and balance the acidity), and prevents spoilage, so it’s clearly a flavouring and a chemical preservative.Where else you can Find Phosphate Compounds
Meat and dairy products also contain phosphate compounds, which is probably why they can cause inflammation in the body.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), most phosphates in the American diet don’t come from soft drinks, but from animal products. Taking that into consideration, Coke might be more harmful due to its high sugar content, and less for the phosphoric acid it contains.
Food and beverage labeling is becoming a big battlefield, and there is a lot of scope for fraud and product misrepresentation. Common ingredients found in processed foods can be harmful for our health (and you can read about them in my article about the top 10 worst ingredients in food).
It is clear that Coke is not a natural drink. People buy it for other reasons, and being healthy is not one of them.
1. Here is another popular beverage that can increase your risk of having a stroke and heart attack.
2. Make sure to consume this ingredient to strengthen your bones.
3 Responses to How a Can of Coke can Destroy Your Bones1. Phil says:
Phosphoric acid is produced and used within your body during metabolic processes around ADP/ATP energy metabolism. Phosphorus and phosphates are a essential component to life.
Phosphoric acid is an acid correct but, it is more acidic than vinegar and other acids. However, you have forgotten about the stomach whose acid content is far stronger than phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid is used in soda to keep carbon dioxide in solution ie a preservative of “fizziness”. Not all preservatives are “bad”. Phosphoric acid exists naturally in nature as part of the life cycle of phosphorus again an essential component of life like water, carbon, nitrogen, etc..
From an acid perspective, drinking soda would supplement the age related decline of stomach acid. However, to much would affect pH in the GI tract and affect nutrient absorption and digestion processes. Carbon dioxide expands the stomach providing more room for food and may result in over consumption of food. Carbon dioxide can be absorbed in the stomach lining directly into the blood and form carbonic acid. This will have little effect on the blood pH and chemistry due to the buffering capacity of your blood. Again, over consumption may lead to affecting the pH of blood. Once this capacity has been stretched then problems can arise from the change of blood chemistry due to the lowering of pH.
Sugar has its own problems. Too much can cause a hole list of problems. Blood levels affect the insulin response which leads to irregular blood levels which affects many things due to improper energy levels. Diabetes is one of the most common and also brain function.
So what else in soda is causing the problem? Good question – maybe the caramel additives, other natural and artifical flavourings? Regardless, correct information should be given so that the public is not misinformed about the risks of drinking soda. Should we stop drinking soda? Maybe but, perhaps a reduction would be appropriate nonetheless but that depends on your current health status. If you carbohydrate daily intake is reduced then is drinking soda moderately a problem? I do not know just wanted to clarify some finer points that are often overlooked, mistated and quite frankly wrong.
2. Ken Easterling says:
If you put 20 penny nails in a container with coca cola in it, the nails will disintegrate very rapidly. Do you think we need that in our bodies?
A 10 ounce coca cola has 10 teaspoons of sugar in it. Do you think it is good to drink something that has that much sugar in it?
Personally, I have never drank carbonated drinks and I hope I never get the urge to do that. I don’t need the sugar and I certainly don’t want to drink something that can dissolve 20 penny nails.
3. Joseph says:
Pepsi & Coke are known killers ! I carried the chemicals from Ireland to other EU countries in the backs of trailers.
Often a container would be leaking the chemical would eat through a 1/4 plate steel chassis of the trailer.
These chemicals did cause health problems just to breath in the vapours on a hot day caused problems.
They should be banned, they are killing children / people.
James Achanyi-Fontem, is a Senior Health Journalist and Communication Consultant. He worked as a health journalist and broadcaster for 30 years with Radio Cameroon and later Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV before retiring in 2005 to engage fully with Cameroon Link (Human Assistance Programme). Cameroon Link is a registered charity, not-for-profit organisation involved in the promotion of community health, humanitarian assistance, promotion of women and child rights through involvement of communities in Cameroon for mother and child health care. Cameroon Link is a partner to Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Farm Radio International (FRI), International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN Africa), World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). As the intermediary of Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Cameroon Link is engaged to implement a Cameroon Rural Radio story design Programming through an investigative research, which aims to discover through interviewing beneficiaries of health programmes on their interests, documenting and disseminating new ideas about how radio stations produce and air Healthy Communities Radio Programs in Cameroon.