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Soft Drinks May Boost Osteoporosis and Bone Fracture Risk

Stop Osteoporosis

The sugary beverage industry spends billions of dollars every year on advertisements encouraging us to consume sugary beverages to refresh ourselves, but here is a caveat emptor: soft drinks have been implicated as a contributing factor to the development of many diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease, as well as osteoporosis.

According to the National Institute of Health, osteoporosis is the most common bone disease. Osteoporosis is a major public health threat for almost 200 million people worldwide. About 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men above the age of 50 will suffer from osteoporotic fracture at some point in their lifetime. Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens the bone as a result of loss of bone mass and tissue, increasing an individual's risk of suffering from bone fractures, especially wrist, hip, and spine fractures. A 10% loss of bone mass in the vertebra and hip can double the risk of vertebra fracture and increase the likelihood of hip fracture by 2.5 times.

Calcium is essential for the building of new bone cells and keeps existing bones strong. Soft drinks are generally devoid of calcium and other healthy nutrients. They are filled with high quantities of sugar, caffeine (carbonated beverages), phosphorus, coloring, and flavoring matter. Consuming more phosphorus than calcium has a deleterious effect on bone health. High circulating levels of phosphorus cause the body to remove calcium from the bones. In addition, the high sugar and caffeine content of soft drinks also promotes calcium loss from the body by enhancing the urinary excretion of calcium. When calcium ions are removed from the bones and excreted from the body, bone mass is reduced, leading to the weakening of the bones and elevation of the risk of developing osteoporosis and suffering from bone fracture.

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, about 40 million people are living with osteoporosis and battling with low bone mass in the United States. Sugary drinks are the beverage of choice of millions of Americans. The average American family spends thousands of dollars every year on sugary beverages. Habitual consumption of soft drinks has been associated with decreased bone density and increased risk of osteoporosis. Avoiding sugary beverages can help reduce an individual's risk of developing osteoporosis and suffering from bone fracture.

Additional Information:

(1) Diet and Osteoporosis, The Broken Bone Business

(2) How the Calcium Paradox Baffles Bone Beliefs

(3) Soft drink intake and progression of radiographic knee osteoarthritis: data from the osteoarthritis initiative

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It's alarming how common osteoporosis is, and how much diet can contribute to the condition. Caffeine is indicated as a contributor to decreased bone health, yet we live in a society where so many individuals are dependent on coffee or other caffeinated beverages including energy drinks (often contain a combination of sugar, caffeine along with other harmful stimulants). I don't think that people realize how detrimental these beverages are for their bone health and risk for fractures.


  Sue Desjardins
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

You are so right, Sue. Thanks for posting your comment.

  Linda Carney MD
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