Are Carbonated Drinks Putting Us At Risk For Osteoporosis?

With summer on the horizon and the fizz of a Perrier or Cola just a sunbeam away, I decided to take a closer look at the popular theory that carbonated drinks are associated with lower bone mineral density (BMD).This is what I uncapped! 

Research out of Tufts University involving 1413 women and 1125 men participants {1} concluded that regular intake of cola (think Pepsi, Coke etc, three or more a week over 5 years) resulted in a 4% lower bone mineral density (BMD) reading in the hip, even though researchers controlled for calcium a vitamin D intake. Of course we know that bone mass density (BMD) is strongly linked with fracture risk and puts us at risk for osteoporosis.

Why? Colas contain phosphoric acid, which needs to be broken down in the body by calcium (and magnesium).  If calcium (and magnesium) are not available in the blood, then the body has to leach calcium from our bones.

#Bad news for our bones. 

The study also suggested that people drinking colas were less likely to be drinking healthier beverages that provide calcium, such as almond, cow's and goat's milk which makes good sense.

Good News - the study found no connection between lower bone mass density and non-colas drinks since they don't contain phosphoric acid. In fact, according to the study's lead author, Katherine Tucker, PH.D., an added bonus is that carbonated drinks might actually benefit your bones as they sometimes contain calcium and magnesium. 

Take away: If you want to protect your bone and your are a regular cola drinker, it's time to quit the habit in favour of a non-cola carbonated drink.  

And for all you Perrier/Pellegrino sipping, carbonated water-loving devotees, this is sparkling news indeed. Feel free to drink up! Your bones will still be happy. :)