Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Soft drinks - hard facts

Soft drinks are a noxious cocktail of substances that play havoc with your body. They‘re highly acidic, contain artificial colours and flavourings and high levels of sugar or artificial sweeteners. Over the next 10 years you are going to read a lot more literature on the toxic effects these drinks have on our kids.

Most (if not all) soft drinks have huge amounts of sugar (such as 10 or more teaspoons per can) that creates a sugar rush into the blood, in the same way as other high GI foods. The sugar is quickly converted to body fat. If it stays in the blood, it causes some free radical damage. The general guidelines for sugar consumption for a 70-kilogram teenager are no more than 10 – 12 teaspoons of sugar a day. One average can of soft drink will exceed that amount. For younger and smaller children the amount of sugar should be substantially less.

Recent research has shown that the high acidity of soft drinks – which generally have a pH (acidity scale) of around 2.8 – is a major factor in tooth decay, literally dissolving the enamel from the teeth. Moderate drinkers had a 200 per cent increase in dental problems while heavy soft drinkers were had a 500 per cent increase in dental caries. This was solely the effect of the acid on the teeth, without even considering the impact of the sugar content.
The high phosphate content of soft drinks increases their acidity and also binds with important macro and micro minerals such as iron and zinc; so, even if you eat any nutritious food with a soft drink, you’ll lose these important minerals. This mineral leaching process is further compounded by the high acidity, which causes minerals to be drawn from the bones, as the body to works to stabilise the acidity and keep the blood acid level constant. This can lead to serious depletion of bone calcium.

The table below shows the results from one of my student’s analysis of the pH and ingredients of many common soft drinks.

Now the medical solution to this problem is to come up with a drug (which has adverse side effects) to reduce the calcium loss from the bone. My solution is to eat more vegetables and to reduce the intake of soft drinks. (For more information on soft drinks, keep an eye out for my next book, “Soft Drinks - Hard Facts”).

• Drink less soft drinks;
* Drink more water;
* A little tea is okay, but remember a strong cup of tea can contain as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. Tea is full of antioxidants, even tea with milk, but don’t make it too strong.
• Coffee is full of stimulants that trigger of the production of dopamine then adrenaline and noradrenaline. That is, it triggers a mini stress response. A little coffee is fine, but remember, it’s a stimulant and takes about six hours for half of it to be excreted from your body, so don’t have it late in the day.


A study published in February, 2004 showed that when heavy smokers drank four cups of green tea per day for four months there was a significant decrease in a urinary marker of DNA damage (Hakim 2004). Green tea might also be beneficial for those undergoing conventional treatment for cancer, although that is far from proven.

Hakim IA, Harris RB, Chow HH, Dean M, Brown S, Ali IU. Effect of a 4-month tea intervention on oxidative DNA damage among heavy smokers: role of glutathione S-transferase genotypes. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2004;13:242-9.


  1. Peter you are a lone voice of sense! Most doctors advise people that their children can drink as much soft drink as they like without harm. Thank you for telling us the hard facts.

  2. Whats wrong with artificial sweeteners?

  3. Great article. I have been wondering if sparkling mineral water also has negative health effects? And how it is different to soda water. If anyone knows can they please share? Ta

  4. Anonymous - are you for real??
    "Most doctors advise people that their children can drink as much soft drink as they like without harm"
    I think you might be having a lend, and if you're not you may be visiting some dodgy doctors....

    Meanwhile here is some evidence from a mainstream site (information provided by doctors and dietitians) that the sound medical advice is basically the same thing as above. They're also not trying to sell you a book on the topic.

    This is not exactly startlingly original stuff from Dr Dingle, it's plain common sense and I wonder why anyone would buy a book to find out what doctors, dentists and governments will tell you for free, i.e. that soft drinks are harmful substances full of empty calories that children don't need.

  5. There is a lot wrong with artificial sweeteners but just hold off till i finish the article i am writing on them so I can give you the full bottle so to speak. But let me tell you now nutrasweet
    (aspartame) is the worst you can get and in the US gets more complaints than all the other food additives combined.

    On the topic of mineral water, it is a great option. Just make sure it is "natural". Mineral water will provide low levels of minerals that we need, albeit in a very absorbable form, for the body. Soda water does not have the same mineral content. Although I don’t see any problem with soda water.

    As stated above, all of my information is about common sense. It seems we forget some of the simplest things when it comes to our health and lifestyle. I am all for the support expansion of common sense in our worlds. Much of the information that I provide is easily accessible on many other reputable web sites. It is all about spreading the word and expanding people’s knowledge.

  6. Peter: Aspartame is fine, check your facts next time.

  7. It seems "anonymous" trusts the government on aspartame. i am sorry but I don't and my research which I have done a lot on the matter
    does not support it. The government also says cholesterol drugs are essential, sugar is fine, no problems with meat or dairy and all
    their are no problems with all the other food additives. The list goes on.

  8. Great blog post Dr Dingle!

    I cut back my soft drink consumption significantly about a year ago after learning about the amount of sugar in each can. Now I am happy to drink just tap water. I haven't missed the soft drinks at all, keeps the weight off and I get to save some money!

  9. Peter, Thankyou for sharing such fabulous and common sense information on soft drinks! I love the way you take all of that technical, scientifiac information and make it seem so simple for all of us parents who are trying so hard in this modern, toxic world to just do the best and healthies thing for our children.

  10. Great work Dr Dingle keep pushing the ever important topic of what is in our food. As a mum of 3 and 1 with autism and ADHD I would love to see more changes taking place.

  11. Like Teagan I too love the scientifiac information provided.
    I used to feed my kids 3 cans of fanta for breakfast and 2 cans of coke for lunch, I didn't know any better, it wasn't until I read Peter's blog that I realised that soft drinks arnet good for them!! Thank you Dr Dingle!!! I will definitely buy your book to find out moar about why I shouldn't give them soft drinks! as so-called normal doctors are hiding the truth.

    I will also from now on adhear to your advice in you're book and feed them the same diet that you give your dog, that would obviously be best for children in this modern toxic world.

  12. Good stuff Dr Dingle, yes it is just common sense as mentioned above but also mentioned above was someones absolute faith in a government article on 'aspartame'. Thank goodness for independent researchers, keep up the good work.

  13. Oh my - You think aspartame is ok???? Seriously you need to do more research.....just like BPA and baby bottles. Our government is still yet to BAN them - that's how proficient the Australian government is!

  14. Australia has a government?????
    Any way enough of that - even my 3 yr old knows that soft drinks are bad because they give you a big tummy and rotten teeth!
    I also know adults who wished that their own parents never allowed them to have soft drink beacuse of all of the problems they have had with their teeth ):

  15. Although all of this I know, it is great to have the reminders to remember why I'm not drinking soft drink anymore.

    Thank you so much for your books Dr Dingle. My kids were stunned when I told them I would no longer be buying them Vita-Brits and that they could eat Minnie's (the dog) food instead if they didn't like it, as it was more nutritious.

    Keep up the good work. It's much appreciated. :-)


  16. On the topic of Aspartame. Anonymous, how can you possibly think that it is ok? It was never supposed to be approved by the FDA. It has a side effects list that has about 90 points (Including death) and in the USA there are Aspartame victim support groups. SUPPORT GROUPS! Don't tell somebody to "do their research" when obviously you haven't done yours.