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I have heard people say that soda pop will cause osteoporosis. I even found this site, http://www.mindconnection.com/library/health/softdrinks.htm, claiming that it is true(among other things). Is that true?

(The site claims many things bad about soda pop, but I figured that sticking to a single question at a time would be.)

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2 Answers

Soda (nor cola) does not cause osteoporosis.

However, studies have shown a correlation between cola consumption and increased risk in osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation lists several risk factors, noting that:

Studies ... suggest that people who regularly drink cola drinks may be at greater risk of bone loss. Other non-cola carbonated soft drinks do not appear to have these same risks.

But cola consumption is just one of a plethora of risks.

In Soda and Osteoporosis: Is There a Connection?, author Gina Shaw examines the link between the two and has several informative quotes from reputable doctors and researchers in the field. Some choice quotes from the article:

"There is an association between people who have high soda intake and risk of fracture, but that's probably due to the fact that if they have a high soda intake, they have a low milk intake. Those things have been shown to be linked in various studies. But when you look at the ingredients of the soda and give those to healthy people and measure what it does to their calcium composition, nothing happens at all."

-- Robert Heaney, MD, FACP, a professor of medicine at Creighton University

Other possible culprits include, noted in the aforementioned article, include:

  • Phosphoric acid. From the article: "Phosphorus itself is an important bone mineral. But if you're getting a disproportionate amount of phosphorus compared to the amount of calcium you're getting, that could lead to bone loss."
  • Caffeine, which can interfere with calcium absorption.

In conclusion, cola does not cause osteoporosis. And it is believed the negative effects of cola consumption can be counterbalanced. As the National Osteoporosis Foundation notes in its risk factors list, "You can help make up for the potential loss of calcium from sodium, excessive protein, too much caffeine and cola drinks by making sure you get enough calcium every day."

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I fail to see the reference that supports your claim that "cola does not cause osteoporosis". Is there data to support the position that the increase in correlation is not due to direct causation? –  Jase Dec 2 '12 at 10:56
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It may be "common sense" to assume that drinking milk will improve the mass and strength of your bones (as we are told repeatedly by the dairy industry). Unfortunately, scientific research concludes that dairy consumption is associated with higher levels of osteoporosis. To a lesser extent, cola consumption is connected with loss of bone mass - specifically in women. See http://www.medpagetoday.com/Endocrinology/Osteoporosis/4247

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This answer needs better references, especially for the first two sentences. –  nico Sep 6 '13 at 17:33
    
As nico states, this answer needs references that meet the standards of the site. This link should give you an idea of what we look for. –  Larian LeQuella Sep 7 '13 at 3:25
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