Acid In Fizzy Drinks : Acid Does As Much Damage As Sugar In Many Carbonated Drinks

I regularly have nutrition discussions with my girlfriend Louise, obviously it’s something I am interested in, and fortunately so is she. With my academic background in nutrition, I consider myself an expert in this area, but it became profoundly apparent that even experts still have much to learn…and this particular lesson came from the missus :)

I was adamant that it was the sugar in carbonated drinks that contributed to the damage done to teeth and gums with excessive soda consumption. However, Louise explained that it was also the acid content of fizzy drinks that led to such issues. Louise is a nurse so I have no idea why I doubted this, but I proceeded to contest (like most men do). I was convinced the small amounts of citric acid etc added to fizzy drinks wouldn’t make all that much difference…but I was WRONG!

In fact, I was very wrong wasn’t I Louise (sorry dear)…in fact, carbonated beverages that contain the 3 most common forms of ‘added’ acid (citric, carbonic and phosphoric acid) can actually do more damage than the sugar itself! So when the enamel has been damaged, the sugar can get to work causing a cumulative breakdown of your poor teeth’s structural integrity. Yes the amounts of acid in fizzy drinks are quite small, so if consumed in moderation then the effects are minimal, but consider this…

Industrial users of phosphoric acid apply it to steel parts in order to strip them down to bare metal, and ponder this for a moment also… Water has a pH of 7 (indicator of substances acidity) which is deemed neutral, battery acid has a pH of 1, which is deemed highly acidic. Now guess where Colas measure on the pH scale… 2.5, and that's pretty darn acidic!

So now I know, but all things considered Louise :) should you really be having that sneaky can of Pepsi Max at lunch time???

Reference

Radio, L. (2014). If in doubt ask the missus. Journal of The Missus Is Always Right (JTMIAR). 07: 23

Livestrong, (2014). What kind of acids are in sodas? Retrieved 4th July, 2014, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/519798-what-kind-of-acids-are-in-sodas/

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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