Despite my efforts to eat healthier in the past year, I have been loath to give up soda (or, as I call it, the “nectar of the gods”). I know that sweet, caffeinated goodness is laced with mercury-tainted high fructose corn syrup and acid that erodes my teeth, but I can’t quite bring myself to quit drinking it completely—and soda’s prevalence in our society isn’t helping me out any.
New research from the Department of Medicine, Infection and Immunity at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine has just lodged another strike against soda that will make conscious consumption of this beverage even more difficult. Within the past 20 years, food companies have added high levels of phosphates to soda and other processed foods to improve food texture and increase water retention. While phosphates play an important role in a healthy diet and lifestyle, the added phosphates in processed foods and sodas means we’re consuming too much of this compound—and too much phosphate intake can speed up the aging process and take years off our lives.
Sodas contain high levels of phosphates, which speed up the aging process. Photo By Alan Stoddard/Courtesy Flickr
The study linked high phosphate intake to age-related complications, such as kidney disease and cardiovascular calcification (the accumulation of calcium salts in cardiovascular tissue that interferes with heart function). The researchers also discovered that high phosphate intake caused muscles and skin to degenerate more swiftly. The study’s researchers concluded that phosphate intake from soda and processed foods definitely influences the aging process, and they cautioned consumers not to tip the balance and consume too much.
To preserve your youth, weight and tooth enamel, try natural alternatives to soda. Health Cola is flavored with the kola nut, and it contains no preservatives, phosphoric acid or corn syrup. Be sure to also check out Natural Home’s review of natural summer drinks. From organic iced tea to fruit smoothies, you’re sure to find something on this list that will appease your sweet tooth.