A bottle of cola has a sugar content of 27 sugar cubes and you can use it to clean old pennies. Handy, of course, but it can’t be really good for your health. Or is it?
You can hardly imagine it, but Coca-Cola was marketed in 1886 by the American pharmacist John Pemberton as a “health drink” made from vegetable syrup and spray water. At the time, it was believed that carbonated drinks were beneficial to health and could cure all kinds of illnesses and conditions, such as morphine addiction, digestive problems, nervousness, headache and impotence. The original Coca-Cola recipe contained two ingredients with a stimulating effect: cocaine and caffeine. Nowadays, cola and cola light no longer contain cocaine, but it has been replaced by a cocaine-free coca leaf extract.
Lots of sugars
Nowadays, cola is no longer considered to be beneficial to health. On the contrary: there are sounds from all corners that too much of this soft drink is actually disastrous. Why? What’s in it all?
Cola gets its dark brown color by adding the coloring agent E150d, made from caramel. Methyl imidazole is released during the production of the cola caramel, using sulphites and ammonia. You should drink a thousand cans of cola to get sick of this harmful dye.
Cola contains caffeine, a stimulant that when used too high can lead to insomnia, nervousness and high blood pressure. But one can of cola contains only 40 mg of caffeine, half the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee.
The biggest culprit in cola is sugar. Most of the sugar that we use in Europe comes from sugar beet and some comes from sugar cane. Both are known as sucrose or table sugar, the same sugar that you put in your coffee or tea. A glass of cola contains approximately 26.5 grams of sugar, the same amount as in orange juice. This corresponds to approximately four and a half cubes of sugar. Too much sugar leads to obesity, but is also linked to depression, poor memory and learning disabilities. The cane and beet sugar used in cola are quickly absorbed by the body and within a short time the body wants more.
Thanks to the phosphoric acid ingredient, cola and cola light have an extremely low pH value (2.8), making them one of the most acidifying drinks available. Acidifying drinks such as cola disrupt the pH balance in the body, which can result in a weakened immune system. In addition, phosphoric acid affects the tooth enamel, greatly increasing the risk of tooth decay. The phosphoric acid in cola is so aggressive that it can also serve as a toilet cleaner and is very suitable for washing windows and removing stains and rust. That is why it is also an ideal cleaner for old coins and jewelry.
The direct side effects
Drinking cola is not bad for you, as long as you use it in moderation. But did you know that drinking a glass of cola already has a direct effect on your body? Your blood pressure rises after about 45 minutes, you make extra dopamine that makes you feel happier and you get a hunch through a rising blood sugar level due to the enormous amount of sugar that you suddenly get.
The long-term side effects
Drinking a bottle of cola a few times a week has no serious consequences, especially if you ensure that you have enough exercise to burn off those extra calories. However, there are people who drink cola every day, and preferably with every meal and in between. Cola is bad for you with excessive use of it. What are the consequences of long-term cola consumption?
You get fatter.
Higher risk of diabetes.
You are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
Frequent drinking of soft drinks can increase the risk of osteoporosis, especially in people who drink soft drinks instead of calcium-rich milk. Soft drink consumption in children is an important risk factor for reduced calcification of growing bones.
Tooth decay and erosion.
Raised blood pressure.
Soft drinks work like diuretics. Both caffeine and sugar cause dehydration in the body. Caffeine is a diuretic and causes an increase in urine volume. High amounts of sugar ensure that water is extracted from our body because the kidneys try to remove the excess sugars from the blood. When you drink a caffeinated soda to quench your thirst, you actually only get more thirsty.