Soft drinks are hard to digest. No matter everyone agrees with this statement, but its true. Soft drinks are non-alcoholic water-based flavored drinks that are optionally sweetened, acidulated, carbonated and which may contain fruit, fruit juice and/or salts; their flavor may derive from vegetable extracts or other aromatic substances. Globally, carbonated soft drinks are third most consumed beverages. Per capita annual consumption of carbonated soft drinks is nearly four times the per capita consumption of fruit beverages. (Source: Data from the Beverage marketing Corporation, as reported by the Canadian Soft drink Association). Soft drink consumption is growing by around 5% a year, according to Global Soft drinks 2002. (Zenith International,2002). Total volume reached 412,000 million litres in 2001, giving a global per capita consumption of around 67.5 litres per year.The major ingredients found in soft drinks like water, aromatic substances, sweeteners carbon dioxide, coloring matter, acids, preservatives, antioxidants and other additives are present in different composition in different soft drinks. There is a growing concern in the medical and scientific communities about the harmful effects associated with the consumption of carbonated soft drinks.Kids are heavy consumers of soft drinks and they are guzzling soda pop at unprecedented rates. Carbonated soda pop provides more added sugar in a typical 2-year-old toddler's diet than cookies, candies and ice cream combined. Fifty-six percent of 8-year-olds down soft drinks daily, and a third of teenage boys drink at least three cans of soda pop per day.
Studies have shown that soft drinks can lead to numerous health problems. Some of these health problems are obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, osteoporosis, nutritional deficiencies, heart disease, and many neurological disorders. Various ingredients used in soft drinks can have adverse effects. A common problem that is associated with consumption of a large number of soft drinks is the increased acid levels (citric, malic and phosphoric acid) throughout the body causing gastronomic distress due to the inflammation of the stomach and erosion of the stomach lining leading to painful stomachache as the stomach which maintains a very delicate acid-alkaline balance can be set out of balance by the consumption to a large number of soft drinks, which can create a constant acid state leading to indigestion and gassiness.
Caffeine content causes insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, irritability, and deviations from the normal heart rate. A major concern about caffeine is that it increases the excretion of calcium in urine, which increases the risk for osteoporosis in heavy caffeine consumers. Some epidemiological studies describe exposure to caffeine during pregnancy as well as the occurrence of congenital malformations, fetal growth retardation, miscarriages (spontaneous abortions), behavioural effects and maternal fertility problems. According to the study conducted by Center for Science & Environment, New Delhi, India, the total pesticide residues in the 36 soft drink samples manufactured in India was 0.0168 mg/l
which is 34 times the
EEC limit for total pesticides. Total pesticide residues in all brands of PepsiCo products (India) were0.0180 mg/L, which is 36 times the total pesticide limit and in all brands of Coca - Cola Co (India) were 0.0150mg/L which is 30 times the total EEC limit for pesticides.The four commonly found pesticides detected in the soft drink samples were – Lindane, DDT and its metabolites, Malathion and chlorpyrifos. The health impacts of these pesticides aredamage to human liver, kidney neural and immune systems and induces birth defects, cancer and death. It adversely affect reproductive performance in males and in femalesdisrupts the estrous cycle, reduces serum estrogen and progesterone levels decreases sexual receptivity.