Soft Drink Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 08/03/22 •  8 min read
soft drink benefits and side effects

Health

Soft drink side effects may include:

Soft drinks are…

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Environment

Water footprint: high, many soft drink companies have been known to use regional water to produce their product, which is harmful to increasingly water-stressed regions around the world

Carbon footprint: low, 1.72 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of soft drinks, pop, cola, etc., a car driving equivalent of 4 miles or 6.5 kilometers

Destruction: unknown

Soft drinks are…

Animals

Kills: none, soft drink production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, soft drink production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, unless ester gum is used

Soft drinks are typically…

Laborers

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Soft drinks…

Where do most soft drinks come from?

The world’s top soft drink exporting country is Switzerland, followed by Germany, USA, Denmark, Spain, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, China and Thailand.

Other names for soft drinks are cola, pop, soda and fizzy drink.

soft drinks are acidic.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Are soft drinks alkaline or acidic?

Soft drinks are acidic.

What is the pH level of soft drinks?

Soft drinks have a 3.0 pH level once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

soft drinks are gluten free.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Are soft drinks gluten free?

Yes, soft drinks are gluten free. Soft drinks do not contain gluten.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

soft drinks do not contain a common food allergen.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Are soft drinks a common food allergen?

No, soft drinks do not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to soft drinks but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

soft drinks have a high water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

soft drinks have a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Do soft drinks have a high or low carbon footprint?

Soft drinks have a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of soft drinks?

It takes around 1.72 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of soft drinks, pop, cola, etc., a car driving equivalent of 4 miles or 6.5 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

soft drinks are vegan.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

Are soft drinks vegan?

Yes, soft drinks are vegan. Soft drinks are drinks that contain carbonated water, a sweetener, and a natural or artificial flavoring and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List

soft drinks may have labor issues and human rights concerns.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Are soft drinks a product with labor concerns?

At this time there have been no major concerns with soft drink production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Sources:

Beverages, carbonated, cola, regular – FoodData Central

Summary Findings – USDA ERS

Soft Drinks – USDA GAIN Reports

Adriane Marie

Grocery Guru, Material Maven, Conscious Consumer Connoisseur. I organize ethical info for us to comprehensively see how purchases impact people, animals and the planet. I hope you find HEALabel helpful! Use it for personal and global improvement and empowerment.

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