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The dangers of drinking cola

Cola drinks could damage young bones

Does your child love to drink cola? If so, and you’re about to do the weekly grocery shop you might want to consider that new research indicates a link between high consumption of soda with lower bone mass in kids.

Experts reckon the connection is down to several factors. First and foremost, kids who quench their thirst with cola may well not be drinking enough milk or calcium-fortified fruit juices. Add that to the fact that caffeine, which is present in cola drinks, is already linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis and you have a double whammy. Plus, along with caffeine, cola contains phosphoric acid, which can cause an imbalance in the body. Why? Your child’s body needs calcium to neutralize the acid and if there isn’t enough of it in her diet, her body will take it from her bones to restore the balance.

Low levels of calcium are associated with osteoporosis in later years – and it can thin the bones so much that they’re at risk of fracture. Research carried out at Tufts University and recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that cola consumption by women was associated with lower bone mineral density at three hip sites, regardless of age, menopause, total calcium and vitamin D intake. The women reported drinking an average of five carbonated drinks a week, four of which were colas.

Weaning your child off cola and on to calcium-rich drinks is the key to healthy bones in adulthood – ensuring she gets enough weight-bearing exercise will also help conserve her bone density.

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