On average, Americans consume more than 50 gallons of carbonated soft drinks each year, according to the 2005 USDA report, “Contributions of Nonalcoholic Beverages to the U.S. Diet.” Although the ingredients in carbonated drinks are deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration, these beverages may cause side effects, especially if you consume them on a regular basis. Familiarizing yourself with the possible side effects of carbonated drinks can help you make informed nutrition choices.
Your mouth contains bacteria that feed on sugar, producing chemicals that can break down the hard enamel of your teeth. A cavity forms when erosion of the enamel exposes the soft, inner core of your tooth. When you drink sweetened, carbonated soda, the sugar remains in your mouth, promoting the processes that lead to tooth decay. The acid in these carbonated drinks further increase the likelihood of developing cavities, because these chemicals also slowly erode the enamel of your teeth.
Carbonated beverages contain dissolved carbon dioxide, which becomes a gas when it warms to body temperature in your stomach. Consuming carbonated soft drinks may cause repeated belching as your stomach stretches from the accumulation of carbon dioxide gas. Food and stomach acid may come up your food pipe as you belch, causing heartburn and a sour taste in your mouth. Consuming sugar-sweetened, carbonated drinks adds calories to your diet, which may increase your risk of being overweight and obese.
Consumption of carbonated soft drinks can adversely affect your overall nutrient intake. Drinking these beverages may reduce your consumption of proteins, starch, dietary fiber and vitamin B-2, also known as riboflavin. People who drink carbonated beverages also tend to eat less fruit and drink less fruit juice compared to those who do not drink sodas.