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Cola May Be Bad to the Bones
Date:4/26/2008

Research suggests the beverage contributes to osteoporosis,,,,

SATURDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- While enjoying a cola or two every day might seem harmless enough, recent research suggests that those tasty drinks could be compromising your bone health.

"There is enough evidence that high consumption of soda and carbonated beverages is associated with somewhat lower bone mass in children, and that's a real concern and people should be aware of it," said Dr. Lawrence Raisz, director of the University of Connecticut Center for Osteoporosis.

The exact mechanism behind the problem isn't clear, but experts believe that drinking soda -- particularly colas -- affects bone density in several ways. One reason may be that people who drink colas are simply less likely to get enough calcium and vitamin D in their diets, because the soda is replacing more nutritious beverages, such as milk or calcium-fortified juice.

Or, it could be related to the caffeine in colas, because caffeine has been linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis.

The third possible explanation focuses on one of the ingredients found in colas: phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid can cause an imbalance in the body as the body seeks to neutralize the acid with calcium. If there isn't enough calcium in the diet, the body will take calcium from the bones.

"Phosphate is in milk, but milk also contains calcium and vitamin D. In soft drinks, there is just phosphoric acid and no calcium. Extra overzealous drinking may lead to a phosphoric acid imbalance, and if there's not enough calcium, the body goes to the bones to restore the balance," explained Dr. Primal Kaur, director of the Osteoporosis Center at Temple University Health Sciences Center in Philadelphia.

Low levels of calcium are associated with the development of osteoporosis, a disease that thins the bones so much that they're at risk of fracture. More than half of Americans,
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