As mentioned earlier, soft drinks are one of the leading causes of early childhood obesity. Children are also ranked as the number one demographic in the United States for soft drink consumption. Pop or soda has no nutritional value, yet the average American consumes 57 gallons of soft drinks each year. As a matter of fact, a can of Coke has ten teaspoons of sugar in an 8 oz. can, which is the daily recommended amount of sugar. Soft drinks are very addicting because they contain huge amounts of sugar and caffeine.
One soda per day can increase your risk of diabetes by 85% (http://www.medicaldaily.com/pulse/soft-drink-dangers-8-ways-soda-negatively-affects-your-health-319054). Diet pops can be worse because they contain aspartame, which is a sugar substitute. Aspartame has over 90 side effects, such as diabetes, emotional disorders, and epilepsy seizures (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/06/aspartame-most-dangerous-substance-added-to-food.aspx).
The sugar and caffeine in soft drinks can cause children to become hyperactive and may lead to behavioral issues. New York University professor of nutrition and food studies Marion Nestle, Ph.D., says that there is plenty of evidence revealing that sodas have contributed to America's growing girth, especially among children. Nestle says pediatricians who treat overweight children tell her that many of their patients take in 1,000 to 2,000 calories a day from soft drinks alone. “Some children drink sodas all day long,” she says. “They are getting all of the calories they need in a day from soft drinks” (http://www.webmd.com/diet/sodas-and-your-health-risks-debated?page=2).
Remember that this healthy life change should be taken in small steps and in regards to the children.
Pop is also bad on a child’s heart because it increases their heart rate and spikes their blood sugar. Too much soft drink consumption can lead to dehydration, and can even cause delayed learning and disabilities in children. The acid in pop can clean a car battery. Is that really something you want to give to your children or yourself?
I have a friend who had kidney problems from drinking so much pop. It can also lead to kidney stones because of the acid. In the past cirrhosis of the liver was mainly caused by alcohol consumption. Now people who drink high consumption of soft drinks can receive this disease. Fruit juice and punch also have a lot of sugar. For example, Hawaiian punch has red dye in it, which can lead to hypertension. Therefore, water is the best substitute for soft drinks and it quenches your thirst. Pops also pertain phosphoric acid, which is a sulfuric acid used also in fertilizers, livestock, and soap. It is added to pop to help slow down the growth of molds and bacteria (Why is Phosphoric Acid Bad for You? www.livestrong.com). A high consumption of pop in teenagers can lead to a loss of calcium from bones, which causes osteoporosis (Is Phosphorus in Soda Bad for You? www.woman.thenest.com).
Some other substitutes for soft drinks are low-fat milk and decaffeinated teas. I also recommend soft drinks that contain stevia as opposed to sugar. Stevia is a herb that is naturally sweet. A few of my health food places have a variety of healthy pops such as Zevia. This drink contains 0 calories, 0 sugars, stevia, and erythritol. Erythritol is sugar alcohol, which is an antibacterial substance that does not add sugar to the system. Also, Zevia does not contain phosphoric acid.