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Soft Drinks

Submitted by Stella Morgan on June 2, 2010

Types of Soft Drinks

Soft drinks are a kind of beverage that do not contain alcohol as the active agent and hence are referred to as 'soft' drinks, in opposition to 'hard' which means alcoholic beverages. There are mainly two kinds of soft drinks, one that is carbonated and one that is non-carbonated. They are believed to taste best when consumed chilled. The different types of soft drinks include colas, flavored water, carbonated water, seltzers, sweet iced tea, fruit drinks, carbonated soft drinks, cordials, diet soft drinks, and fruit punch.

Effect of Soft Drinks

Soft drinks do not fall under the category where milk or dairy is an important ingredient and hence chocolate drinks, hot tea with milk, coffee with cream, tap water, and also fresh fruit or vegetable juice and milkshakes do not fall into this categorization. Most soft drinks these days are purchasable in variants sweetened with natural sugars or with artificial sweeteners for the calorie conscious.

In most cases soft drinks are linked to obesity and are also associated with a host of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, dental disorders and nutritional imbalances. A number of experimental studies have reported the harmful effects of soft drinks in giving rise to a number of ailments. Apart from the direct association of soft drinks on the health of an individual, it is believed that the ingredients in soft drinks are also huge causes of concern; for example, caffeine found in colas is associated with anxiety and sleep disorders while the presence of high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners has remained a subject of controversy for a number of years.

Soft Drink Safety

Children, especially, are vulnerable and have a weakness for soft drinks.

Most children drink large amounts of soft drinks and hence there is an increase in nutritional imbalances in little children, tooth decay, heart problems and diabetes. Almost all the studies done on the consumption of soft drinks showed that the number of soft drinks consumed in a day was one of the biggest factors associated with weight gain. Soft drinks that contain high amount of sugar were revealed to have promoted weight gain especially in children and adolescents.

Due to the high concentration of simple carbohydrates present in soft drinks such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose in addition to other simple sugars, it is believed that the oral bacteria present in the mouth ferment the simple carbohydrates and give rise to acid. That is largely responsible in dissolving tooth enamel and increasing the risk of dental disorders and decay. Soft drink safety is a main concern for most heath experts as an increasing number of medical disorders are now linked to soft drink consumption in people.

A number of soft drinks have also been studied to be acidic and consuming such soft drinks for a long period of time can cause an erosion of the tooth enamel.

Unless specifically mentioned on the label of the soft drink, most of the soft drinks present in the market do not contain any significant nutritional value and are usually devoid of any vitamins, minerals or essential nutrients. Children tend to get accustomed to soft drink due to its high sugar content. It is therefore advisable to substitute soft drinks with healthier options such as milk shakes, sorbets, and freshly squeezed fruit juice.

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