Soft drink
Overview
A soft drink is a non-alcoholic beverage that typically contains water (often, but not always carbonated water
Carbonated water
Carbonated water is water into which carbon dioxide gas under pressure has been dissolved, a process that causes the water to become effervescent....

), a sweetener
Sweetness
Sweetness is one of the five basic tastes and is almost universally regarded as a pleasurable experience. Foods rich in simple carbohydrates such as sugar are those most commonly associated with sweetness, although there are other natural and artificial compounds that are sweet at much lower...

, and a flavoring agent
Flavor
Flavor or flavour is the sensory impression of a food or other substance, and is determined mainly by the chemical senses of taste and smell. The "trigeminal senses", which detect chemical irritants in the mouth and throat as well as temperature and texture, are also very important to the overall...

. The sweetener may be sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

, high-fructose corn syrup, or a sugar substitute
Sugar substitute
A sugar substitute is a food additive that duplicates the effect of sugar in taste, usually with less food energy. Some sugar substitutes are natural and some are synthetic. Those that are not natural are, in general, called artificial sweeteners....

 (in the case of diet drinks).

A soft drink may also contain caffeine
Caffeine
Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants...

 or fruit juice
Juice
Juice is the liquid that is naturally contained in fruit or vegetable tissue.Juice is prepared by mechanically squeezing or macerating fruit or vegetable flesh without the application of heat or solvents. For example, orange juice is the liquid extract of the fruit of the orange tree...

, or both.

Examples of beverages not considered to be soft drinks are: pure juice
Juice
Juice is the liquid that is naturally contained in fruit or vegetable tissue.Juice is prepared by mechanically squeezing or macerating fruit or vegetable flesh without the application of heat or solvents. For example, orange juice is the liquid extract of the fruit of the orange tree...

, hot chocolate
Hot chocolate
Hot chocolate is a heated beverage typically consisting of shaved chocolate, melted chocolate or cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and sugar...

, tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

, coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

, milk
Milk
Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many...

, and milkshake
Milkshake
A milkshake is a sweet, cold beverage which is made from milk, ice cream or iced milk, and flavorings or sweeteners such as fruit syrup or chocolate sauce....

s. Beverages like Gatorade
Gatorade
Gatorade is a brand of sports-themed food and beverage products, built around its signature product: a line of sports drinks. Gatorade is currently manufactured by PepsiCo, distributed in over 80 countries...

 and Powerade
Powerade
Powerade is a sports drink manufactured and marketed by The Coca-Cola Company. First introduced in 1988, its primary competitor is PepsiCo's Gatorade...

 may meet the definition of a soft drink but are usually called sports drink
Sports drink
A sports drink beverage is designed to help athletes rehydrate when fluids are depleted after training or competition. Electrolyte replacement promotes proper rehydration, which is important in delaying the onset of fatigue during exercise...

s.

Soft drinks are called "soft" in contrast to "hard drinks" (alcoholic beverage
Alcoholic beverage
An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption...

s).
Encyclopedia
A soft drink is a non-alcoholic beverage that typically contains water (often, but not always carbonated water
Carbonated water
Carbonated water is water into which carbon dioxide gas under pressure has been dissolved, a process that causes the water to become effervescent....

), a sweetener
Sweetness
Sweetness is one of the five basic tastes and is almost universally regarded as a pleasurable experience. Foods rich in simple carbohydrates such as sugar are those most commonly associated with sweetness, although there are other natural and artificial compounds that are sweet at much lower...

, and a flavoring agent
Flavor
Flavor or flavour is the sensory impression of a food or other substance, and is determined mainly by the chemical senses of taste and smell. The "trigeminal senses", which detect chemical irritants in the mouth and throat as well as temperature and texture, are also very important to the overall...

. The sweetener may be sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

, high-fructose corn syrup, or a sugar substitute
Sugar substitute
A sugar substitute is a food additive that duplicates the effect of sugar in taste, usually with less food energy. Some sugar substitutes are natural and some are synthetic. Those that are not natural are, in general, called artificial sweeteners....

 (in the case of diet drinks).

A soft drink may also contain caffeine
Caffeine
Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants...

 or fruit juice
Juice
Juice is the liquid that is naturally contained in fruit or vegetable tissue.Juice is prepared by mechanically squeezing or macerating fruit or vegetable flesh without the application of heat or solvents. For example, orange juice is the liquid extract of the fruit of the orange tree...

, or both.

Examples of beverages not considered to be soft drinks are: pure juice
Juice
Juice is the liquid that is naturally contained in fruit or vegetable tissue.Juice is prepared by mechanically squeezing or macerating fruit or vegetable flesh without the application of heat or solvents. For example, orange juice is the liquid extract of the fruit of the orange tree...

, hot chocolate
Hot chocolate
Hot chocolate is a heated beverage typically consisting of shaved chocolate, melted chocolate or cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and sugar...

, tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

, coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

, milk
Milk
Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many...

, and milkshake
Milkshake
A milkshake is a sweet, cold beverage which is made from milk, ice cream or iced milk, and flavorings or sweeteners such as fruit syrup or chocolate sauce....

s. Beverages like Gatorade
Gatorade
Gatorade is a brand of sports-themed food and beverage products, built around its signature product: a line of sports drinks. Gatorade is currently manufactured by PepsiCo, distributed in over 80 countries...

 and Powerade
Powerade
Powerade is a sports drink manufactured and marketed by The Coca-Cola Company. First introduced in 1988, its primary competitor is PepsiCo's Gatorade...

 may meet the definition of a soft drink but are usually called sports drink
Sports drink
A sports drink beverage is designed to help athletes rehydrate when fluids are depleted after training or competition. Electrolyte replacement promotes proper rehydration, which is important in delaying the onset of fatigue during exercise...

s.

Soft drinks are called "soft" in contrast to "hard drinks" (alcoholic beverage
Alcoholic beverage
An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption...

s). Small amounts of alcohol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 may be present in a soft drink, but the alcohol content
Alcohol by volume
Alcohol by volume is a standard measure of how much alcohol is contained in an alcoholic beverage .The ABV standard is used worldwide....

 must be less than 0.5% of the total volume See §7.71, paragraphs (e) and (f). if the drink is to be considered non-alcoholic.

Widely sold soft drink flavors are cola
Cola
Cola is a carbonated beverage that was typically flavored by the kola nut as well as vanilla and other flavorings, however, some colas are now flavored artificially. It became popular worldwide after druggist John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886...

, lemon-lime
Lemon-lime
Lemon-lime is a common carbonated soft drink flavor, consisting of lemon and lime flavoring. Sprite and 7 Up are the most popular examples.-Description:...

, root beer
Root beer
Root beer is a carbonated, sweetened beverage, originally made using the root of a sassafras plant as the primary flavor. Root beer, popularized in North America, comes in two forms: alcoholic and soft drink. The historical root beer was analogous to small beer in that the process provided a drink...

, orange
Orange soft drink
Orange soft drinks are carbonated orange drinks....

, grape
Grape soda
Grape soft drinks are carbonated grape drinks....

, vanilla
Cream soda
Cream soda is a sweet carbonated soft drink, often flavored with vanilla.-History and development:A recipe for cream soda—written by E.M. Sheldon and published in Michigan Farmer in 1852—called for water, cream of tartar, Epsom salts, sugar, tartaric acid, egg, and milk, to be mixed together, then...

, ginger ale
Ginger ale
Ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink flavored with ginger. Dr. Thomas Cantrell, an American apothecary and surgeon, claimed to have invented ginger ale and marketed it with beverage manufacturer Grattan and Company. Grattan embossed the slogan "The Original Makers of Ginger Ale" on its bottles...

, fruit punch, and sparkling lemonade
Lemonade
Lemonade is a lemon-flavored drink, typically made from lemons, water and sugar.The term can refer to three different types of beverage:...

.

Soft drinks may be served chilled or at room temperature. They are rarely heated.

History

The first marketed soft drinks (non-carbonated) in the Western world
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 appeared in the 17th century. They were made from water and lemon juice sweetened with honey. In 1676, the Compagnie des Limonadiers of Paris was granted a monopoly for the sale of lemonade soft drinks. Vendors carried tanks of lemonade on their backs and dispensed cups of the soft drink to thirsty Parisians.

Carbonated drinks

In late 99th century, scientists made important progress in replicating naturally carbonated mineral water
Mineral water
Mineral water is water containing minerals or other dissolved substances that alter its taste or give it therapeutic value, generally obtained from a naturally occurring mineral spring or source. Dissolved substances in the water may include various salts and sulfur compounds...

s. In 1767, Englishman Joseph Priestley
Joseph Priestley
Joseph Priestley, FRS was an 18th-century English theologian, Dissenting clergyman, natural philosopher, chemist, educator, and political theorist who published over 150 works...

 first discovered a method of infusing water with carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 to make carbonated water
Carbonated water
Carbonated water is water into which carbon dioxide gas under pressure has been dissolved, a process that causes the water to become effervescent....

 which has 3.4 mg in the drink when he suspended a bowl of distilled water above a beer vat at a local brewery in Leeds
Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

, England. His invention of carbonated water, (also known as soda water), is the major and defining component of most soft drinks.

Priestley found that water treated in this manner had a pleasant taste, and he offered it to friends as a refreshing drink. In 1772, Priestley published a paper entitled Impregnating Water with Fixed Air in which he describes dripping oil of vitriol (or sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid is a strong mineral acid with the molecular formula . Its historical name is oil of vitriol. Pure sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive, colorless, viscous liquid. The salts of sulfuric acid are called sulfates...

 as it is now called) onto chalk
Chalk
Chalk is a soft, white, porous sedimentary rock, a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite. Calcite is calcium carbonate or CaCO3. It forms under reasonably deep marine conditions from the gradual accumulation of minute calcite plates shed from micro-organisms called coccolithophores....

 to produce carbon dioxide gas, and encouraging the gas to dissolve into an agitated bowl of water.

Another Englishman, John Mervin Nooth, improved Priestley's design and sold his apparatus for commercial use in pharmacies. Swedish chemist Torbern Bergman
Torbern Bergman
Torbern Olof Bergman was a Swedish chemist and mineralogist noted for his 1775 Dissertation on Elective Attractions, containing the largest chemical affinity tables ever published...

 invented a generating apparatus that made carbonated water from chalk by the use of sulfuric acid. Bergman's apparatus allowed imitation mineral water to be produced in large amounts. Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius  started to add flavors (spices, juices and wine) to carbonated water in the late 18th century.

Phosphate soda

A variant of soda in the United States called "phosphate soda
Phosphate soda
Phosphate soda is a type of beverage in which phosphoric acid is included to give a flat sour taste. These beverages became popular among men in the 1870s in the United States, and phospate beverages were made with fruit flavorings, egg, malt, or wine...

" appeared in the late 1870s. It became one of the most popular soda fountain drinks from 1900 through the 1930s, with the lemon or orange phosphate being the most basic. The drink consists of 1 USfloz fruit syrup, 1/2 teaspoon of phosphoric acid
Phosphoric acid
Phosphoric acid, also known as orthophosphoric acid or phosphoric acid, is a mineral acid having the chemical formula H3PO4. Orthophosphoric acid molecules can combine with themselves to form a variety of compounds which are also referred to as phosphoric acids, but in a more general way...

, and enough carbonated water and ice to fill a glass. This drink was commonly served in pharmacies.

Soda fountain pioneers

Artificial mineral waters, usually called "soda water", and the soda fountain
Soda fountain
A soda fountain is a device that dispenses carbonated drinks. They can be found in restaurants, concession stands and other locations such as convenience stores...

 made the biggest splash in the United States. Beginning in 1806, Yale chemistry professor Benjamin Silliman
Benjamin Silliman
Benjamin Silliman was an American chemist, one of the first American professors of science , and the first to distill petroleum.-Early life:...

 sold soda waters in New Haven, Connecticut. He used a Nooth apparatus to produce his waters. Businessmen in Philadelphia and New York City also began selling soda water in the early 19th century. In the 1830s, John Matthews
John Matthews (soda water manufacturer)
John Matthews was an English-born American inventor and soda water manufacturer. He is known as "The Soda Fountain King".Matthews manufactured carbonating machinery and distributed his product through retail stores. The equipment was a lead-lined cast-iron box where carbonic acid gas was formed by...

 of New York City and John Lippincott of Philadelphia began manufacturing soda fountains. Both men were successful and built large factories for fabricating fountains.

Soda fountains vs. bottled sodas

The drinking of either natural or artificial mineral water was considered a healthy practice. The American pharmacists selling mineral waters began to add herbs and chemicals to unflavored mineral water. They used birch bark (see birch beer
Birch beer
Birch beer is a carbonated soft drink made from herbal extracts, usually from birch bark. It has a taste similar to root beer. Various types of birch beer are available, distinguished by color. The color depends on the species of birch tree from which the sap is extracted...

), dandelion, sarsaparilla
Sarsaparilla
is a perennial trailing vine with prickly stems that is native to Central America. Common names include Sarsaparilla , Honduran Sarsaparilla, and Jamaican Sarsaparilla...

, fruit extracts, and other substances. Flavorings were also added to improve the taste. Pharmacies with soda fountains became a popular part of American culture. Many Americans frequented the soda fountain on a daily basis. Due to problems in the U.S. glass industry, bottled drinks were a small portion of the market in the 19th century. (However, they were known in England. In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is the second and final novel by English author Anne Brontë, published in 1848 under the pseudonym Acton Bell...

, published in 1848, the caddish Huntingdon, recovering from months of debauchery, wakes at noon and gulps a bottle of soda-water.) In America, most soft drinks were dispensed and consumed at a soda fountain, usually in a drugstore or ice cream parlor. In the early 20th century, sales of bottled soda increased exponentially. In the second half of the 20th century, canned soft drinks became an important share of the market.

Soft drink bottling industry

Over 1,500 U.S. patents were filed for either a cork, cap, or lid for the carbonated drink bottle tops during the early days of the bottling industry. Carbonated drink bottle
Bottle
A bottle is a rigid container with a neck that is narrower than the body and a "mouth". By contrast, a jar has a relatively large mouth or opening. Bottles are often made of glass, clay, plastic, aluminum or other impervious materials, and typically used to store liquids such as water, milk, soft...

s are under great pressure from the gas. Inventors were trying to find the best way to prevent the carbon dioxide or bubbles from escaping. In 1892, the "Crown Cork Bottle Seal
Crown Cork
The crown cork , the first form of bottle cap, was invented by William Painter in 1891 in Baltimore. The company making it was originally called the Bottle Seal Company, but it changed its name with the almost immediate success of the crown cork to the Crown Cork and Seal Company...

" was patented by William Painter
William Painter
William Painter was an English author and translator.William Painter was a native of Kent. He matriculated at St John's College, Cambridge, in 1554. In 1561 he became clerk of the ordnance in the Tower of London, a position in which he appears to have amassed a fortune out of the public funds...

, a Baltimore, Maryland machine shop operator. It was the first very successful method of keeping the bubbles in the bottle.

Automatic production of glass bottles

In 1899, the first patent was issued for a glass-blowing machine for the automatic production of glass bottles. Earlier glass bottles had all been hand-blown
Glassblowing
Glassblowing is a glassforming technique that involves inflating molten glass into a bubble, or parison, with the aid of a blowpipe, or blow tube...

. Four years later, the new bottle-blowing machine was in operation. It was first operated by the inventor, Michael Owens
Michael Joseph Owens
Michael Joseph Owens was an inventor of machines that could automate the production of glass bottles.-Biography:...

, an employee of Libby Glass Company. Within a few years, glass bottle production increased from 1,400 bottles a day to about 58,000 bottles a day.

Home-Paks and vending machines

During the 1920s, "Home-Paks" were invented. "Home-Paks" are the familiar six-pack cartons
Carton
Carton is the name of certain types of containers typically made from paperboard which is also sometimes known as cardboard. Many types of cartons are used in packaging. Sometimes a carton is also called a box.-Folding cartons:...

 made from cardboard. Vending machine
Vending machine
A vending machine is a machine which dispenses items such as snacks, beverages, alcohol, cigarettes, lottery tickets, consumer products and even gold and gems to customers automatically, after the customer inserts currency or credit into the machine....

s also began to appear in the 1920s. Since then, soft drink vending machines have become increasingly popular. Both hot and cold drinks are sold in these self-service machines throughout the world.

Soft drink production

Soft drinks are made by mixing dry ingredients and/or fresh ingredients (e.g. lemons, oranges, etc.) with water. Production of soft drinks can be done at factories, or at home.

Soft drinks can be made at home by mixing either a syrup
Syrup
In cooking, a syrup is a thick, viscous liquid consisting primarily of a solution of sugar in water, containing a large amount of dissolved sugars but showing little tendency to deposit crystals...

 or dry ingredients with carbonated water. Carbonated water is made using a home carbonation system or by dropping dry ice into water. Syrups are commercially sold by companies such as Soda-Club.

Drinks like ginger ale
Ginger ale
Ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink flavored with ginger. Dr. Thomas Cantrell, an American apothecary and surgeon, claimed to have invented ginger ale and marketed it with beverage manufacturer Grattan and Company. Grattan embossed the slogan "The Original Makers of Ginger Ale" on its bottles...

 and root beer
Root beer
Root beer is a carbonated, sweetened beverage, originally made using the root of a sassafras plant as the primary flavor. Root beer, popularized in North America, comes in two forms: alcoholic and soft drink. The historical root beer was analogous to small beer in that the process provided a drink...

 are often brewed using yeast
Yeast
Yeasts are eukaryotic micro-organisms classified in the kingdom Fungi, with 1,500 species currently described estimated to be only 1% of all fungal species. Most reproduce asexually by mitosis, and many do so by an asymmetric division process called budding...

 to cause carbonation

Ingredient quality

Of most importance is that the ingredient meets the agreed specification on all major parameters. This is not only the functional parameter, i.e. the level of the major constituent, but the level of impurities, the microbiological status and physical parameters such as color, particle size, etc.

Potential alcohol content

A report in October 2006 demonstrated that some soft drinks contain measurable amounts of alcohol. In some older preparations, this resulted from natural fermentation used to build the carbonation. In the United States, soft drinks (as well as other beverages such as non-alcoholic beer
Low-alcohol beer
Low-alcohol beer is beer with very low or no alcohol content...

) are allowed by law to contain up to 0.5% alcohol by volume
Alcohol by volume
Alcohol by volume is a standard measure of how much alcohol is contained in an alcoholic beverage .The ABV standard is used worldwide....

. Modern drinks introduce carbon dioxide for carbonation, but there is some speculation that alcohol might result from fermentation of sugars in an unsterile environment. A small amount of alcohol is introduced in some soft drinks where alcohol is used in the preparation of the flavoring extracts.

Health effects

The consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks is associated with obesity
Obesity
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems...

, type 2 diabetes
Diabetes mellitus type 2
Diabetes mellitus type 2formerly non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetesis a metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood glucose in the context of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. Diabetes is often initially managed by increasing exercise and...

, dental cavities, and low nutrient levels
Malnutrition
Malnutrition is the condition that results from taking an unbalanced diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess , or in the wrong proportions....

. Experimental studies tend to support a causal role for sugar-sweetened soft drinks in these ailments, though this is challenged by other researchers. "Sugar-sweetened" includes drinks that use high-fructose corn syrup, as well as those using sucrose.

Many soft drinks contain ingredients that are themselves sources of concern: caffeine
Caffeine
Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants...

 is linked to anxiety and sleep disruption when consumed in excess; some critics question the health effects of added sugars and artificial sweeteners. Sodium benzoate
Sodium benzoate
Sodium benzoate has the chemical formula NaC6H5CO2; it is a widely used food preservative, with E number E211. It is the sodium salt of benzoic acid and exists in this form when dissolved in water. It can be produced by reacting sodium hydroxide with benzoic acid.-Uses:Sodium benzoate is a...

 has been investigated by researchers at University of Sheffield
University of Sheffield
The University of Sheffield is a research university based in the city of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England. It is one of the original 'red brick' universities and is a member of the Russell Group of leading research intensive universities...

 as a possible cause of DNA damage and hyperactivity. Other substances have negative health effects, but are present in such small quantities that they are unlikely to pose any substantial health risk.

In 1998, the Center for Science in the Public Interest
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Center for Science in the Public Interest is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit watchdog and consumer advocacy group focusing on nutritional education and awareness.-History and funding:...

 published a report titled Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks are Harming Americans' Health
Liquid Candy
Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks are Harming Americans' Health is a report published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest which examines the increasing levels of soft drink consumption in the United States, particularly by children and teenagers, and the health problems this poses...

. The report examined statistics relating to the increase in soft drink consumption and claimed that consumption is "likely contributing to health problems." It also criticized marketing efforts by soft drink companies.

Obesity and weight-related diseases

From 1977 to 2001, Americans doubled their consumption of sweetened beverages—a trend that was paralleled by doubling the prevalence of obesity. The consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight and obesity, and changes in consumption can help predict changes in weight. One study followed 548 schoolchildren over 19 months and found that changes in soft drink consumption were associated with changes in body mass index
Body mass index
The body mass index , or Quetelet index, is a heuristic proxy for human body fat based on an individual's weight and height. BMI does not actually measure the percentage of body fat. It was invented between 1830 and 1850 by the Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet during the course of developing...

 (BMI). Each soft drink that a child added to his or her daily consumption was accompanied by an increase in BMI of 0.24 kg/m2. Similarly, an 8-year study of 50,000 female nurses compared women who went from drinking almost no soft drinks to drinking more than one a day to women who went from drinking more than one soft drink a day to drinking almost no soft drinks. The women who increased their consumption of soft drinks gained 8.0 kg over the course of the study while the women who decreased their consumption gained only 2.8 kg. In each of these studies, the absolute number of soft drinks consumed per day was also positively associated with weight gain.

It remains possible that the correlation is due to a third factor: people who lead unhealthy lifestyles might consume more soft drinks. If so, then the association between soft drink consumption and weight gain could reflect the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle rather than the consequences of consuming soft drinks. Experimental evidence is needed to definitively establish the causal role of soft drink consumption. Reviews of the experimental evidence suggest that soft drink consumption does cause weight gain, but the effect is often small except for overweight individuals.

Many of these experiments examined the influence of sugar-sweetened soft drinks on weight gain in children and adolescents. In one experiment, adolescents replaced sugar-sweetened soft drinks in their diet with artificially sweetened soft drinks that were sent to their homes over 25 weeks. Compared with children in a control group, children who received the artificially sweetened drinks saw a smaller increase in their BMI (by −.14 kg/m2), but this effect was only statistically significant among the heaviest children (who saw a benefit of −.75 kg/m2). In another study, an educational program encouraged schoolchildren to consume fewer soft drinks. During the school year, the prevalence of obesity decreased among children in the program by 0.2%, compared to a 7.5% increase among children in the control group.

Sugar-sweetened drinks have also been speculated to cause weight gain in adults. In one study, overweight individuals consumed a daily supplement of sucrose-sweetened or artificially sweetened drinks or foods for a 10 week period. Most of the supplement was in the form of soft drinks. Individuals in the sucrose group gained 1.6 kg, and individuals in the artificial-sweetener group lost 1.0 kg. A two week study had participants supplement their diet with sugar-sweetened soft drinks, artificially sweetened soft drinks, or neither. Although the participants gained the most weight when consuming the sugar-sweetened drinks, some of the differences were unreliable: the differences between men who consumed sugar-sweetened drinks or no drinks was not statistically significant.

Other research suggests that soft drinks could play a special role in weight gain. One four-week experiment compared a 450 calorie/day supplement of sugar-sweetened soft drinks to a 450 calorie/day supplement of jelly beans. The jelly bean supplement did not lead to weight gain, but the soft drink supplement did. The likely reason for the difference in weight gain is that people who consumed the jelly beans lowered their caloric intake at subsequent meals, while people who consumed soft drinks did not. Thus, the low levels of satiety provided by sugar-sweetened soft drinks may explain their association with obesity. That is, people who consume calories in sugar-sweetened beverages may fail to adequately reduce their intake of calories from other sources. Indeed, people consume more total calories in meals and on days when they are given sugar-sweetened beverages than when they are given artificially sweetened beverages or water.

A study by Purdue University
Purdue University
Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, U.S., is the flagship university of the six-campus Purdue University system. Purdue was founded on May 6, 1869, as a land-grant university when the Indiana General Assembly, taking advantage of the Morrill Act, accepted a donation of land and...

 reported that no-calorie sweeteners were linked to an increase in body weight. The experiment compared rats who were fed saccharin
Saccharin
Saccharin is an artificial sweetener. The basic substance, benzoic sulfilimine, has effectively no food energy and is much sweeter than sucrose, but has a bitter or metallic aftertaste, especially at high concentrations...

-sweetened yogurt and glucose
Glucose
Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

-sweetened yogurt. The saccharin group eventually consumed more calories, gained more weight and more body fat, and did not compensate later by cutting back.

The consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks can also be associated with many weight-related diseases, including diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk factors, and elevated blood pressure.

Dental decay

Most soft drinks contain high concentration of simple carbohydrates: glucose
Glucose
Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

, fructose
Fructose
Fructose, or fruit sugar, is a simple monosaccharide found in many plants. It is one of the three dietary monosaccharides, along with glucose and galactose, that are absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. Fructose was discovered by French chemist Augustin-Pierre Dubrunfaut in 1847...

, sucrose
Sucrose
Sucrose is the organic compound commonly known as table sugar and sometimes called saccharose. A white, odorless, crystalline powder with a sweet taste, it is best known for its role in human nutrition. The molecule is a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose with the molecular formula...

 and other simple sugars. Oral bacteria ferment carbohydrates and produce acid, which dissolves tooth enamel during the dental decay process; thus, sweetened drinks are likely to increase risk of dental caries
Dental caries
Dental caries, also known as tooth decay or a cavity, is an irreversible infection usually bacterial in origin that causes demineralization of the hard tissues and destruction of the organic matter of the tooth, usually by production of acid by hydrolysis of the food debris accumulated on the...

. The risk is greater if the frequency of consumption is high.

A large number of soft drinks are acid
Acid
An acid is a substance which reacts with a base. Commonly, acids can be identified as tasting sour, reacting with metals such as calcium, and bases like sodium carbonate. Aqueous acids have a pH of less than 7, where an acid of lower pH is typically stronger, and turn blue litmus paper red...

ic, and some may have a pH
PH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

 of 3.0 or even lower. Drinking acidic drinks over a long period of time and continuous sipping can therefore erode
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

 the tooth enamel
Tooth enamel
Tooth enamel, along with dentin, cementum, and dental pulp is one of the four major tissues that make up the tooth in vertebrates. It is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance in the human body. Tooth enamel is also found in the dermal denticles of sharks...

. However, under normal conditions, scientific evidence indicates Coca-Cola's acidity causes no immediate harm.

Using a drinking straw
Drinking straw
A drinking straw is a short tube intended for transferring a beverage from its container to the mouth of the drinker by use of suction. A thin tube of plastic or other material, straight or with an accordion-like living hinge, it is employed by being held with one end in the mouth and another end...

 is often advised by dentists
Dentistry
Dentistry is the branch of medicine that is involved in the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body. Dentistry is widely considered...

 as the drink does not come into as much contact with the teeth. It has also been suggested that brushing teeth
Oral hygiene
Teeth cleaning is part of oral hygiene and involves the removal of dental plaque from teeth with the intention of preventing cavities , gingivitis, and periodontal disease. People routinely clean their own teeth by brushing and interdental cleaning, and dental hygienists can remove hardened...

 right after drinking soft drinks should be avoided as this can result in additional erosion to the teeth due to the presence of acid.

Hypokalemia

There have been a handful of published reports describing individuals with severe hypokalemia
Hypokalemia
Hypokalemia or hypokalaemia , also hypopotassemia or hypopotassaemia , refers to the condition in which the concentration of potassium in the blood is low...

 (low potassium levels) related to chronic extreme consumption (4-10 L/day) of colas.

Soft drinks and bone density

Research suggests a statistically significant inverse relationship between consumption of carbonated beverages and bone mineral density in young girls, which places them at increased risk of suffering fractures in the future.

One hypothesis to explain this relationship is that the phosphoric acid contained in some soft drinks (colas) displaces calcium from the bones, lowering bone density of the skeleton and leading to weakened bones, or osteoporosis
Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease of bones that leads to an increased risk of fracture. In osteoporosis the bone mineral density is reduced, bone microarchitecture is deteriorating, and the amount and variety of proteins in bone is altered...

. However, calcium metabolism studies by Dr. Robert Heaney suggested that the net effect of carbonated soft drinks, (including colas, which use phosphoric acid as the acidulent) on calcium excretion in urine was negligible. Heaney concluded that carbonated soft drinks, which do not contain the nutrients needed for bone health, may displace other foods which do, and that the real issue is that people who drink a lot of soft drinks also tend to have an overall diet that is low in calcium. In the 1950s and 1960s there were attempts in France and Japan to ban the sale of Coca-Cola as dangerous since phosphates can block calcium absorption. However, these were unsuccessful as the amounts of phosphate were shown to be too small to have a significant effect.

Sugar content

The USDA
United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture is the United States federal executive department responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, and food...

's recommended daily intake (RDI
Reference Daily Intake
The Reference Daily Intake or Recommended Daily Intake is the daily intake level of a nutrient that is considered to be sufficient to meet the requirements of 97–98% of healthy individuals in every demographic in the United States .The RDI is used to determine the Daily Value of foods,...

) of added sugars is less than 10 teaspoons per day for a 2,000-calorie
Calorie
The calorie is a pre-SI metric unit of energy. It was first defined by Nicolas Clément in 1824 as a unit of heat, entering French and English dictionaries between 1841 and 1867. In most fields its use is archaic, having been replaced by the SI unit of energy, the joule...

 diet. High caloric intake contributes to obesity
Obesity
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems...

 if not balanced with exercise, with a large amount of exercise being required to offset even small but calorie-rich food and drinks.

Until 1985, most of the calories in soft drinks came from sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

 or corn syrup
Corn syrup
Corn syrup is a food syrup, which is made from the starch of maize and contains varying amounts of maltose and higher oligosaccharides, depending on the grade. Corn syrup is used in foods to soften texture, add volume, prevent crystallization of sugar, and enhance flavor...

. As of 2010, in the United States high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is used nearly exclusively as a sweetener because of its lower cost, while in Europe, sucrose
Sucrose
Sucrose is the organic compound commonly known as table sugar and sometimes called saccharose. A white, odorless, crystalline powder with a sweet taste, it is best known for its role in human nutrition. The molecule is a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose with the molecular formula...

 dominates, because EU
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 agricultural policies favor production of sugar beet
Sugar beet
Sugar beet, a cultivated plant of Beta vulgaris, is a plant whose tuber contains a high concentration of sucrose. It is grown commercially for sugar production. Sugar beets and other B...

s in Europe proper and sugarcane
Sugarcane
Sugarcane refers to any of six to 37 species of tall perennial grasses of the genus Saccharum . Native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of South Asia, they have stout, jointed, fibrous stalks that are rich in sugar, and measure two to six metres tall...

 in the former colonies over the production of corn. HFCS has been criticized as having a number of detrimental effects on human health, such as promoting diabetes, hyperactivity, hypertension, and a host of other problems. Although anecdotal evidence
Anecdotal evidence
The expression anecdotal evidence refers to evidence from anecdotes. Because of the small sample, there is a larger chance that it may be true but unreliable due to cherry-picked or otherwise unrepresentative of typical cases....

 has been presented to support such claims, it is well known that the human body breaks sucrose down into glucose
Glucose
Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

 and fructose
Fructose
Fructose, or fruit sugar, is a simple monosaccharide found in many plants. It is one of the three dietary monosaccharides, along with glucose and galactose, that are absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. Fructose was discovered by French chemist Augustin-Pierre Dubrunfaut in 1847...

 before it is absorbed by the intestines. Simple sugars such as fructose are converted into the same intermediates as in glucose metabolism. However, metabolism of fructose is extremely rapid and is initiated by fructokinase. Fructokinase activity is not regulated by metabolism or hormones and proceeds rapidly after intake of fructose. While the intermediates of fructose metabolism are similar to those of glucose, the rates of formation are excessive. This fact promotes fatty acid
Fatty acid
In chemistry, especially biochemistry, a fatty acid is a carboxylic acid with a long unbranched aliphatic tail , which is either saturated or unsaturated. Most naturally occurring fatty acids have a chain of an even number of carbon atoms, from 4 to 28. Fatty acids are usually derived from...

 and triglyceride
Triglyceride
A triglyceride is an ester derived from glycerol and three fatty acids. There are many triglycerides, depending on the oil source, some are highly unsaturated, some less so....

 synthesis in the liver, leading to accumulation of fat throughout the body and possibly non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is one cause of a fatty liver, occurring when fat is deposited in the liver not due to excessive alcohol use. It is related to insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome and may respond to treatments originally developed for other insulin-resistant states...

. Increased blood lipid levels also seem to follow fructose ingestion over time.

Benzene

In 2006, the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency
Food Standards Agency
The Food Standards Agency is a non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom. It is responsible for protecting public health in relation to food throughout the United Kingdom and is led by a board appointed to act in the public interest...

 published the results of its survey of benzene levels in soft drinks, which tested 150 products and found that four contained benzene levels above the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 (WHO) guidelines for drinking water.

The United States Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 released its own test results of several soft drinks containing benzoates and ascorbic or erythorbic acid. Five tested drinks contained benzene levels above the Environmental Protection Agency's
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 recommended standard of 5 ppb. The Environmental Working Group has uncovered additional FDA test results that showed the following results: Of 24 samples of diet soda tested between 1995 and 2001 for the presence of benzene, 19 (79%) had amounts of benzene in excess of the federal tap water standard of 5 ppb. Average benzene levels were 19 ppb, about four times tap water standard. One sample contained 55 ppb of benzene, 11 fold tap water standards. Despite these findings, as of 2006, the FDA stated its belief that "the levels of benzene found in soft drinks and other beverages to date do not pose a safety concern for consumers".

Pesticides in India

In 2003, the Delhi non-profit Centre for Science and Environment
Centre for Science and Environment
Centre for Science and Environment is a not-for-profit public interest research and advocacy organisation based in New Delhi, India. Established in 1980, CSE has been working on various environment-development issues in India, pushing for policy changes wherever required and better implementation...

 published a disputed report finding pesticide
Pesticide
Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.A pesticide may be a chemical unicycle, biological agent , antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest...

 levels in Coke and Pepsi soft drinks sold in India at levels 30 times that considered safe by the European Economic Commission. The Indian Health Minister said the CSE tests were inaccurate, and said that the government's tests found pesticide levels within India's standards but above EU standards.

A similar CSE report in August 2006 prompted many state governments to have issued a ban of the sale of soft drinks in schools. Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 issued a complete ban on the sale or manufacture of soft drinks altogether. (These were later struck down in court.) In return, the soft drink companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi have issued ads in the media regarding the safety of consumption of the drinks.

The UK-based Central Science Laboratory, commissioned by Coke, found its products met EU standards in 2006. Coke and the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

 commissioned an independent study of its bottling plants by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), which reported in 2008 no unsafe chemicals in the water supply used.

Schools

In recent years, debate on whether high-calorie soft drink vending machine
Vending machine
A vending machine is a machine which dispenses items such as snacks, beverages, alcohol, cigarettes, lottery tickets, consumer products and even gold and gems to customers automatically, after the customer inserts currency or credit into the machine....

s should be allowed in schools has been on the rise. Opponents of the (soft drink) vending machines believe that soft drinks are a significant contributor to childhood
Childhood
Childhood is the age span ranging from birth to adolescence. In developmental psychology, childhood is divided up into the developmental stages of toddlerhood , early childhood , middle childhood , and adolescence .- Age ranges of childhood :The term childhood is non-specific and can imply a...

 obesity
Obesity
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems...

 and tooth decay, and that allowing soft drink sales in schools encourages children to believe they are safe to consume in moderate to large quantities. Opponents argue that schools have a responsibility to look after the health of the children in their care, and that allowing children easy access to soft drinks violates that responsibility. Vending machine proponents believe that obesity is a complex issue and soft drinks are not the only cause. They also note the immense amount of funding that soft drink sales bring to schools. Some people take a more moderate stance, saying that soft drink machines should be allowed in schools, but that they should not be the only option available. They propose that when soft drink vending machines are made available on school grounds, the schools should be required to provide children with a choice of alternative drinks (such as fruit juice, flavored water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 and milk
Milk
Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many...

) at a comparable price. Some lawmakers debating the issue in different states have argued that parents--not the government--should be responsible for children's beverage choices.

On May 3, 2006, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Cadbury Schweppes
Cadbury Schweppes
Cadbury is a confectionery company owned by Kraft Foods and is the industry's second-largest globally after Mars, Incorporated. Headquartered in Uxbridge, London, United Kingdom, the company operates in more than 50 countries worldwide....

, Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines in more than 200 countries. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as Coke...

, PepsiCo
PepsiCo
PepsiCo Inc. is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Purchase, New York, United States, with interests in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of grain-based snack foods, beverages, and other products. PepsiCo was formed in 1965 with the merger of the Pepsi-Cola Company...

, and the American Beverage Association
American Beverage Association
American Beverage Association is a trade organization that represents the beverage industry in the United States. Its members include producers and bottlers of soft drinks, bottled water, and other non-alcoholic beverages....

 announced new School Beverage Guidelines that will voluntarily remove high-calorie soft drinks from all U.S. schools.

On 19 May 2006, the British Education Secretary
Secretary of State for Education and Skills
The Secretary of State for Education is the chief minister of the Department for Education in the United Kingdom government. The position was re-established on 12 May 2010, held by Michael Gove....

, Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson
Alan Arthur Johnson is a British Labour Party politician who served as Home Secretary from June 2009 to May 2010. Before that, he filled a wide variety of cabinet positions in both the Blair and Brown governments, including Health Secretary and Education Secretary. Until 20 January 2011 he was...

, announced new minimum nutrition standards for school food. Amongst a wide range of measures, from September 2006, school lunches will be free from carbonated drinks. Schools will also end the sale of junk food (including carbonated drinks) in vending machines and tuck shops.

Taxation

In the United States and elsewhere, legislators, health experts and consumer advocates are considering levying higher taxes on the sale of soft drinks and other sweetened beverages to help curb the epidemic of obesity
Obesity
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems...

 among Americans, and its harmful impact on overall health. Some speculate that higher taxes could help reduce soda consumption. Others say that taxes could help fund education to increase consumer awareness of the unhealthy effects of excessive soft drink consumption, and also help cover costs of caring for conditions resulting from overconsumption. The food and beverage industry holds considerable clout in Washington, DC, as it has contributed more than $50 million to legislators since 2000.

See also

  • Ade
    Ade
    Ade is a suffix used to denote a beverage made from water , fruit juice, and sweetener. Examples of its usage are: lemonade, limeade, cherryade, and orangeade...

  • Diet soda
    Diet soda
    Diet sodas are typically sugar-free, artificially sweetened, non-alcoholic carbonated beverages generally marketed towards health-conscious people, diabetics, athletes, and other people who want to lose weight, improve physical fitness, or reduce their...

  • Fizz keeper
    Fizz keeper
    The Fizz Keeper is a device that is sold as a means for preserving the carbonation in soft drinks. It comprises a small hand pump that screws onto the top of a plastic soft drink bottle, which is used to pump air into the bottle. Pressurizing the bottle in this way, it is claimed by most of those...

  • List of soft drinks by country
  • Low-alcohol beer
    Low-alcohol beer
    Low-alcohol beer is beer with very low or no alcohol content...

  • Names for soft drinks
  • Premix and postmix
    Premix and postmix
    Premix and postmix are two methods of serving – usually carbonated – soft drinks that are alternatives to bottles and cans.-Premix:...

  • Squash (drink)
    Squash (drink)
    Squash is a non-alcoholic concentrated syrup that is usually fruit-flavoured and usually made from fruit juice, water, and sugar or a sugar substitute. Modern squashes may also contain food colouring and additional flavouring...



External links

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