Soda: Is The Fizz Killing Us? - Facts & Infographic
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"A soft drink (also called soda, pop, coke, soda pop, fizzy drink, tonic, seltzer, mineral, sparkling water, or carbonated beverage) is a beverage that typically contains water (often, but not always carbonated water), usually a sweetener, and usually a flavoring agent. The sweetener may be sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice, sugar substitutes (in the case of diet drinks) or some combination of these." - Wikipedia
It’s A Fizzy World
According to the Euromonitor International reports, the US has been the highest consumer of soda beverages in 2012, purchasing about 165 liters per capita. In 2011, the figure stood at 170 liters. Mexico came next with a consumption of 146 liters. Chile consumed 127 liters. Asian countries consumed far less soda pop than the Americas. India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Pakistan were among the lowest consumers of sugary soda beverages.
Over the years, Americans have begun to avoid soda in their diet. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, 63% Americans say that they avoid soda in their diet. In 2002 when Gallup started to ask Americans about their dietary habits, 41 percent said that they avoided soda.
A 2012 Gallup poll suggests that about 48% of Americans drink at least one glass of soda pop each day (28% drinking about a glass and 20% drinking two glasses or more). Among these daily consumers the average daily amount is estimated to be 2.6 glasses. Soda consumption rates are higher among blacks and Hispanics. Over 54% of young adults between the ages 18 and 34 are regular soda drinkers, says the survey. Among the daily soda drinkers about 40% were self-reportedly overweight. The US beverages industry has reported an increase in diet pop consumption over the past decade. About 20% Americans prefer diet soda to regular soda.
Health Hazards Of Soda
- Obesity - Studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine say that according to a decades-long study of 33,000 Americans is clear proof that the sugary soda beverages lead to obesity and weight gain.
- Diabetes - A study published in the Diabetes Care journal revealed that people who consumed one or two sugary beverages such as sodas daily were over 25% likely to develop type 2 Diabetes.
- Metabolic Syndrome - Those who consume a soda a day have a 20% higher rate of metabolic syndrome. The syndrome is a collection of indicators including high triglyceride levels, a high level of which indicates the onset of a number of ailments.
- Stroke - Harvard School of Public Health researchers discovered that drinking one sugar-sweetened beverage a day increased a man's risk of having a heart attack by about 20%. Risks further increased with additional sodas consumed.
- Tooth Enamel Erosion - A 2007 report published in the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) journal suggests that prolonged consumption of soft drinks can lead to significant enamel loss. Colas cause 10 times the enamel loss that of fruit juices cause.
- Erosion of Bones – Soda consumption has been linked to bone erosion. A study by Tufts University researchers revealed that women who drank three colas weekly reported over 4% bone loss from the hips. Cola drinks were marked out as causes for osteoporosis while other sodas are not as harmful.
- Hypokalemia – A study conducted in Greece connected excessive soda intake with hypokalemia, low potassium levels. Low potassium levels lead to failure in vital muscle functions and can result in severe paralysis.
- Cancer – According to recent studies Ammoniated "caramel coloring" in soda beverages are contaminated with 4-methylimidazole. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest ammonia and sulfites used to manufacture “caramel coloring” are known carcinogens.
- Liver Damage – According to a study conducted by the doctors at Ziv Medical Center in Haifa, Israel in 2009, over 80% of the people who drank sweetened soda regularly suffered long-term liver damage. Excessive fat buildup in the liver is an immediate result of soda consumption.
- Hypertension – According to a report published in the Circulation magazine in 2010, cutting down on soda consumption helps improve blood circulation and helps relieve hypertension.
According to a 2009 Nurses' Health Study of 3,265 participants who drank over one serving of diet soda every day for prolonged periods suffered from a 30% drop in levels of kidney function. Daily diet pop drinkers also suffer from a 48% increase in heart attack and stroke risk, according to a study. Contrary to popular belief, diet soda consumption is also linked to an increased risk of obesity. A University of Texas Health Science Center study conducted in 2005 established that those drinking more than two daily servings of diet soda faced a 57.1% higher risk of obesity. The bone and tooth enamel loss rates of those consuming diet pop are the same as those consuming regular soda. The FDA approval of aspartame, an artificial sweetener used in diet soda, is highly debated. Aspartame is believed to be the cause of a number of neurological disorders including anxiety, depression, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, migraines, mood swings, seizures, and slurred speech.
Meet The Titans
Most Popular Sodas of the World (Huffington Post - Feb 2012)
- Coke (Coca-Cola)
- Diet Coke
- Pepsi Cola
- Mountain Dew
- Dr Pepper (Dr Pepper – Snapple)
- Sprite (Coca-Cola)
- Diet Pepsi
- Diet Mountain Dew
- Diet Dr Pepper (Dr Pepper – Snapple)
- Fanta (Coca Cola)
Introduced initially as Brad’s Drink in 1893, Pepsi soon acquired its name in 1898. In 1965, with the merger of Frito-Lay the corporation became PepsiCo. With revenue of over $66.5 billion, PepsiCo operates in 200 countries of the world and has 297,000 employees. 23% of this revenue (2009) comes from the beverages division which includes a number of soda and non-soda brands. The famous soda brands of Pepsico include Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Miranda, Gatorade, and 7Up. Indra Nooyi is the Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. The corporation has its headquarters in Purchase, New York and is North America’s largest food and beverage business.
Coca-Cola was invented by John Stith Pemberton in Columbus, Georgia in 1886. Three years later, Asa Chandler bought the formula and incorporated the company which now has its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. The company caters to over 200 countries and offers over 500 beverage brands. The company has an annual revenue of about $48.01 billion and employs 13,000 people. Muhtar Kent is the current CEO and Chairman of the Coca-Cola Company.
Cadbury Schweppes acquired Beverage America and Select Beverages bottlers in February 1998. Snapple, Mistic, and Stewart's were acquired in 2000. In October 2000, Royal Crown was acquired. Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. spun off from Cadbury Schweppes in May 2008. The company is headquartered in Plano, Texas. Larry Young is the President and CEO and the company marks a revenue of about $5.63 billion. The Dr Pepper Snapple Group owns popular brands including Dr Pepper, Snapple, A & W, 7 Up, Schweppes, and Canada Dry.
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What’s In Your Soda?
Most soda drinks consist of carbonated water, sugar, artificial sweetener or high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, Acidity regulators such as Phosphoric acid, caffeine, citric acid, natural and/or artificial coloring agents, natural and/or artificial flavors. The popular flavors of sodas include cola, lime/lemon, orange, fruit punch, root beer, cherry, grape, and vanilla.
According to a 2004 BBC report, farmers in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh have been using cola drinks such as Pepsi and Coca-Cola as agricultural pesticides. Agricultural scientists believe this could be a result of the plants’ increased immunity from the high sugar content in the cola drinks. These cola drinks were cheaper than fertilizers, the farmers claimed.
In 2012, Pepsi Co faced a lawsuit from an Illinois resident who claimed that he had found the carcass of a mouse in his can of Mountain Dew. Pepsi lawyers defended the soda giant with an argument that the pop would have dissolved a mouse carcass before it could be found.
In November 2011 Pepsi Co faced much opposition when it was discovered that the company had contracted Senomyx, a biotech company which tested food flavors and additives with fetal cells from abortions. After much protest from pro-life groups, Pepsi dissociated from Senomyx in 2012.
The Coca Cola Co’s alleged violation of many environmental and legal statutes exposed it to lawsuits and criticism in many parts of the world. The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke gathered thousands of activists across the world.
In 2000, Coca-Cola Co. agreed to pay $192.5 million towards settling allegations of routine discrimination against black employees in what was one of the largest racial discrimination settlements in US history.
The legendary cola wars started in the late 19th century. John Pemberton's creation Coke was bought by Asa Chandler in 1892 and Pepsi was invented in 1898 by Caleb Bradham. What had been a simmering feud took on giant proportions following the 1975 Pepsi Challenge. The brands have been locked in a close marketing war for over a century now. In response to Pepsi's claim that consumers preferred its taste, Coca-Cola changed its formula in 1985 with much hype. This backfired with the company reverting to its classic formula.
In 2008, the reported market share of Coca-Cola in the US was 42.7% while Pepsi stood at 30.8 %, while in 2014, the reported market share of Coca-Cola in the US was 42.3% while Pepsi stood at 27.3%. In most parts of the world as well, Coca-Cola outsells Pepsi. Pepsi however, leads in countries such as Guatemala, India, Oman, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
Both brands have since tried to rope in the most popular brand ambassadors in each country to promote them. The competition found mention in Billy Joel’s celebrated song “We Didn’t Start The Fire”.
Coca-Cola’s advertising spends have steadily crossed the $1 billion mark since 1993. In 1995 the beverage giant spent $1.3 billion, $1.7 billion in 2000, $2.5 billion in 2005, and $2.9 billion in 2010. For many years, Pepsi’s marketing spend on the beverages department trailed Coca- Cola by about $1 billion. In 2012, Pepsi announced over 7,800 job cuts to add $500-600 million to its marketing budget in close competition with Coca-Cola. In 2013, Coca-Cola’s advertising budget was $3.3 billion. The company has planned an additional media spending of $400 million in 2014, as a part of an incremental $1 billion investment by 2016. PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP), Coca-Cola’s closest rival, spent $3.9 billion in advertising expenses and marketing activities. This represents 5.9% of its 2013 revenues.
Addiction to soda has been a growing concern over the past years. Exposure and accessibility have made soda the preferred drink with most of the younger generation. Researchers believe that the caffeine component of most sodas causes the addiction.
According to a February 2013 report New Zealander Natasha Harris’ soda addiction was the cause of her death. The 30-year-old mother of eight drank about 10 liters of soda each day.
According to another February 2013 report 25 year old William Kennewell from Australia lost all his teeth and had to get dentures as a result of his soda pop addiction.
In her article about Diet Soda addiction, Huffington Post Healthy Living editor Laura Schocker published an evocative first-person account in February 2012. The side effects of the addiction according to Laura ranged from headaches to mood dependencies and obesity.
- The Coca-Cola Co's product portfolio includes over 500 brands of 3,500 beverages including sodas, energy drinks, and soy-based drinks.
- If a person were to try one new drink make by the Coca Cola-Co each day he’d take 9 years to taste them all
- Two thirds of all high fructose corn syrup goes into soft drinks and much of it is sourced from GM foods.
- If every drop of Coke produced for the standard 8 ounce bottles were to be laid end-to-end the stream would measure 4000 times the distance between the Earth and the moon
- Soda is the biggest source of added sugar in the American Diet. Americans consume 22 spoons of added sugar on an average.
- Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 by pharmacist John Pemerton as a nerve tonic to help with headaches. Till 1903, the main additive in the beverage was Cocaine.
- According to Consumer Reports 12 brands of soda have varying levels of 4-methylimidazole — an impurity found in some caramel coloring. The drinks that were tested included Sprite, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola, Coke Zero, Dr Pepper, Dr. Snap, Brisk Iced Tea, A&W Root Beer, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi One and Goya Malta. Consumer Reports said there was no significant level found in Sprite, and consistently low levels were found in Coke products.
- Beverage Digest says per capita consumption of carbonated soft drinks in the US is 1.3 cans of soda a day.