[ELI5] Why is soda (pop) considered “bad” for you?


I get this all the time at the doctor’s office, but they never say what the particular mechanism is that *makes* it bad for you. So, what is it? Is it just “empty calories”? How can that have a negative impact on your kidneys (I hear a lot that drinking soda will give me kidney stones)?

I’m in ELI5, but ELI15 or even ELI25 would be preferred (non medical student level, though)

In: 3

Consuming excessive amounts of fructose, especially from the corn syrup used in the production of soft drinks can reduce the amount of potassium in the human body resulting in hypokalemia, which can result in a heart attack. https://youtu.be/wCKggwYEp9Y

Cuz it’s a lot of sodium and sugar. Anything with alot of minerals will negatively affect your kidneys if you’re not also well hydrated.

Not just the extra calories and how easy it is to load up on soda throughout the day, but what’s in the soda. Namely the extremely high amounts of added sugar / the high fructose corn syrup.

Added sugars are associated with weight gain, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Drinking all of that will make you crave more of it when you don’t need it. It provides no nutrients, just empty calories. It causes insulin spikes, and it’s also associated with insulin resistance (leading to diabetes).

They say you shouldn’t be consuming more than about 30ish grams of added sugar a day. But 12floz of Coke has 39g, Pepsi 41g, and Mountain Dew 46g, for example.

Also, cola sodas can have phosphoric acid in them, which is bad for teeth, probably not great for your stomach. Since that acid reacts with calcium, that could be what contributes to kidney stones?

Other than specific diseases, very moderate consumption of soda isn’t going to be bad.

Our brains are pretty hardwired to find sugar pleasant to consume. This was because sugar is necessary for energy production and sugar was, before modern times, very hard to come by.

The problem is that, for many people, modern lifestyle is less physically active and we tend not to exercise to get overweight and unfit. This is exactly where overconsumption of sugar becomes bad.

Most soda is basically sugared water. It has no other nutrients (proteins, vitamins, etc) and because we tend to like sweet things, it is very easy to overconsume. Note that one can of 330ml soda typically has 140 calories of pure sugar and a regular healthy diet should probably be in 2000 – 2500 calorie range or less unless someone really exercises a lot. So one or two cans of soda is already more than 10% of the recommended daily calorie intake.

If someone is healthy, exercises a lot, eats an otherwise healthy diet, then having soda once is awhile is probably quite OK.