Are you a cola-lover? Be careful, you might be harming your bones! In fact, women who often drink cola are at greater risk for osteoporosis. A study of 2,500 people demonstrated that women who regularly drank cola had lower bone density than their peers, regardless of their age or calcium intake. However, researchers did not observe this correlation in men.
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by a decrease in bone mass and a deterioration of bone tissue which become “porous”. This condition causes bone weakness and increases risks of fractures, particularly in hipbones, spine and wrists. In Canada, one in four women and one in eight men over the age of 50 suffer from osteoporosis. Culmination: 1.4 million Canadians.
Previous studies suggested that the consumption of cola was detrimental to bone health because it replaced milk in the diet. However, in this current study, women who drank cola did not drink less milk than the others. On the other hand, the total calcium intake was inferior in women who most often chose cola. Researchers propose the phosphoric acid hypothesis, an ingredient present in colas but not in other soft drinks. This ingredient would be responsible for a decrease in bone mineral density. The reason why men’s bone mineral density is unaffected by cola remains a mystery.
Apart from the enormous concentrations of sugars and calories in colas, which increase the risk for diabetes and obesity, the high risk of osteoporosis is another good reason to change your habits: cola should only be an occasional treat. On a daily basis, you should choose drinks low in calories and rich in nutrients. Flat water, carbonated water or tisanes remain the best choices to quench your thirst. Fruit juices or skim milk are other interesting options because they have nutritional values. An adequate daily intake of calcium as well as regular physical exercise will keep your bones strong and healthy and help ward off osteoporosis.