How harmful is soda?


Twelve ounces of soda can create a rave inside your body – that’s the claim made in an article that went viral on social media.

News 3 wanted to find out what does happen when someone drinks soda and how harmful is it to health?

WSAV’s Ben Senger had an expert from South University Pharmacy School test his blood sugar and blood pressure before and after drinking 12 ounces of caffeinated soda. The test was inspired by an article on the Renegade Pharmacist website that paints a dangerous picture of drinking soda – describing the beverage as a gateway to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

After 20 minutes, Senger’s blood sugar level did spike from a normal level to a high level.

“Your insulin will compensate for that so it won’t spike too high, but a patient with diabetes who already has problems with their body regulating their sugar, it could mean they get a more significant spike,” said Melissa Jones, PharmD, who is a faculty member at the South University Pharmacy School.

Jones said diabetics are the most likely to be affected negatively by that spike, but for most people the increase isn’t out of the ordinary.

“If you were to go and eat a regular meal, that had carbohydrates in it, such as potatoes or rice, any of those foods convert to simple sugar,” Jones said.

After 40 minutes, Senger’s blood pressure did not rise significantly, but that’s what Jones expected.

“In a normal person, one soft drink should not impact them that much,” Jones said.

But how much is too much? The American Heart Association recommends that women get no more than 100 calories per day of added sugar from any source. It recommends men get no more than 150 calories from sugar – that’s fewer than four sodas per day. But according to the Mayo Clinic, people who consume just 1 to 2 cans per day have a 26 percent greater risk for developing diabetes.

The Mayo Clinic said the caffeine in soda can raise blood pressure, but a healthy adult can safely have 400 milligrams of caffeine per day – the amount in 10 cans of soda – even though it’s not recommended that anyone drink that much. Mayo experts said children should not have caffeine and adolescents should limit caffeine to 100 milligrams per day.

“The key to all of this like anything else is moderation,” Jones said.

Another claim by the Renegade Pharmacist is that high fructose corn syrup in soda affects the body more negatively than conventional sugar. According to the Mayo Clinic, there is insufficient evidence about that. Some experts said its time for more comprehensive study of soda’s effect on the body and not just the effect of individual ingredients.

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