Soft Drinks Are Hard on the Body

Most soft drinks, particularly colas, are extremely acidic. Colas contain high levels of phosphoric acid,15 a powerful acid capable of poisoning you if not quickly neutralized. Cola (regular or diet) has an extraordinarily low (that is, acidic) pH, around 2.5. Because pH measurement is logarithmic (a decrease of 1 in pH means multiplying the acidity by 10), a pH of 2.5 means that it would take 3,200 glasses of alkaline water with a pH of 8 (or 32 glasses with a pH of 10) to neutralize the acid in just one glass of cola. If the body did nothing to counteract it, a single glass of cola would change the pH of your blood to 4.6, killing you instantly.

To prevent acidic poisoning from cola (or other acid) consumption, the body uses two strategies. One is to use alkaline blood buffers (for example, sodium bicarbonate16 and sodium phosphate17) to buffer (neutralize) the acid.18 The other strategy is to convert these volatile liquid acids into less-reactive solid acids. However, there were no colas thousands of years ago, so our bodies did not evolve to deal effectively with the onslaught of acids that many people consume today, and there are problems resulting from the body's detoxification strategies.

food, such as sulphuric acid19 and phosphoric acid.2n When the body's limited supply of alkaline buffers is defeated, these toxic acidic waste products accumulate in the body, causing significant health damage.21

The body uses calcium to convert the poisonous liquid phosphoric acid in colas into the more stable solid phosphates, for example.22 But these phosphates may form into calcified kidney stones, or calcium deposits (which can also result from a urinary infection, inherited metabolic disorders, and other causes23). Many people erroneously think kidney stones are caused by excessive calcium. But the real culprit may be the high level of phosphoric acid, which happens to be a primary ingredient of colas. Anyone with a concern about kidney stones should avoid colas.

Consuming acidic foods such as soft drinks may also create an ideal environment for cancer to form. Animal cells survive best in an alkaline environment with a blood pH of 7.35 to 7.45. Plant cells are the opposite; they prefer an acidic environment. As our bodies become increasingly acidic, some cells adapt through an internal evolutionary process and become more like plant cells. These abnormal plantlike cells have a high tendency to become cancer cells, which thrive in an acidic environment.24 So an important strategy for preventing or treating cancer is to maintain an alkaline environment in the body.

Routine consumption of soft drinks containing phosphoric acid (that is, colas) is a risk factor for bone loss.2S Consumption of alkalinizing mineral water helps retain bone health and improve digestive functions.26 A comprehensive review comparing alkalinizing diets to acidic diets reported in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that alkalinizing diets improve bone density, nitrogen balance, and serum growth hormone concentrations, whereas the low-grade acidosis resulting from acidic diets contributes to bone loss, osteoporosis, and loss of muscle.27

Not all acidic foods increase the acidity inside our bodies. Orange juice, for example, has an extremely acidic pH of 3.5 because of its citric acid content, but the citric acid is burned away during digestion. Orange juice also contains potassium and magnesium, which interact with water to create alkaline ions. Thus, the overall effect of drinking orange juice is to increase al-

51 Tips for Dealing with Kidney Stones

51 Tips for Dealing with Kidney Stones

Do you have kidney stones? Do you think you do, but aren’t sure? Do you get them often, and need some preventative advice? 51 Tips for Dealing with Kidney Stones can help.

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