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The Deadly Poison in Soda Pop

Written by Wellness Club on June 8, 2010 – 2:44 pm -

The Deadly Poison in Soda Pop


By Dr. Dana Myatt


Soda pop is slop. Regular and diet – both are poisonous. File this under “more good reasons to avoid soda pop.”


Tooth decay, overweight, diabetes and osteoporosis are the lesser problems associated with soda pop consumption. But there is an even more sinister side to America’s favorite beverage. Benzene, a highly toxic compound that can cause liver cirrhosis, Parkinson’s disease and accelerated aging — is found in many sodas. In my opinion, soda pop is one of the most harmful beverages a person can drink. Let’s review the evidence.

Each 12-ounce can of soda pop contains between 10 and 12 teaspoons of sugar. The increase in soda pop consumption parallels our current epidemic of obesity, overweight and diabetes.

Soda pop rots teeth, but it is not the sugar alone that causes this. The acidity of soda pop combined with high sugar levels form a tooth-destroying combination.

Phosphates in soda pop, combined with the fact that soda often replaces calcium-containing drinks like milk, are associated with an increased risk of bone loss. Further, a recent study suggests that these high levels of phosphates may accelerate the aging process and even shorten lifespan.

“Diet” pop comes with it’s own dangers – all of the above, plus the synthetic sweeteners that the drinks are filled with.

  • Cyclamates were popular sweeteners for a time but have been banned in the U.S. for their ability to cause cancer.
  • Aspartame, perhaps the most popular artificial sweetener in use today, has a long list of reported ill effects – not the least of which are neurological. In addition to headaches, various neuropsychiatric disorders including panic attacks, mood changes, visual hallucinations, manic episodes, and dizziness have been ascribed to it’s consumption.
  • Saccharine is less frequently used these days, and is suspected to be a carcinogen by some authorities.
  • Splenda (aka sucralose), a chlorocarbon or “chlorinated sugar” is becoming popular in diet soda formulations. The FDA insists that it is safe, but a number of experts disagree claiming that it has been found to shrink thymus glands (important for immunity) and produce liver inflammation in rats and mice. One researcher even likens this molecule to it’s chemical cousin DDT for it’s ability to damage cells.
  • Acesulfame potassium or Ace K is another new kid on the artificial sweetener block, and again the makers and the FDA insist that it is perfectly safe. Some critics are not so sure though, citing concerns over possible increased rates of cancer. A study by The National Toxicology Program showed no increased cancer risks in rats fed very large amounts of the sweetener. There is also concern that Ace K causes increased insulin secretion which could lead to blood sugar dysregulations.

There is even research that suggests that diet sodas can actually cause an increase in obesity and overweight.

There are a very few diet sodas sweetened with safer xylitol (a sugar alcohol) or stevia (an herb with a long history of safe use) but these are relatively rare and even though their sweeteners are thought to be safe, they may still contain phosphates and sodium benzoate.

Most soda contains the chemical preservative sodium benzoate. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is another common additive. When sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid interact, the highly toxic chemical benzene is formed. Benzene is an aggressive carcinogen, even in minute amounts. And drink which contains both sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid can contain benzene.

But now there is more evidence which suggests that sodium benzoate by itself can cause DNA damage. Research from Sheffield University in Britain shows that sodium benzoate, a common preservative in soda pop, pickles, sauces, and many other “food stuffs,” has the ability to shut off vital parts of DNA known as the “mitochondria.”

Mitochondria are the “power stations” inside the cell. According to lead researcher Piper, “These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: They knock it out altogether.”

When the mitochondria are damaged, the cell begins to malfunction in a serious way. Conditions such as Parkinson’s, cirrhosis of the liver, and accelerated aging, can be linked to this type of cellular damage.

Here’s the bottom line. We have no idea how many of these “harmless” artificial ingredients and chemical preservatives in our food can cause disease. Short-term effects are studied in the lab but long-term effects are unknown until the public acts as “guinea pigs” by consuming these chemicals for many years.

To protect yourself, avoid soda pop, period. Eat more “real” (unprocessed) food. Look for “sodium benzoate” on food labels and when you see it (as they say on the TV “Cop Shows”), set the product down and back away slowly, and no one gets hurt.

Soda Pop destroys teeth with it’s high acid content:

Product Acid (Low=BAD) Sugar per 12 oz
Pure Water 7.00 (neutral) 0.0
Barq’s 4.61 10.7 tsp.
Diet Coke 3.39 0.0
Mountain Dew 3.22 11.0 tsp.
Gatorade 2.95 3.3 tsp
Coke Classic 2.63 9.3 tsp.
Pepsi 2.49 9.8 tsp.
Sprite 3.42 9.0
Diet 7-Up 3.67 0.0
Diet Dr. Pepper 3.41 0.0
Surge 3.02 10.0
Gatorade 2.95 3.3
Hawaiian Fruit Punch 2.82 10.2
Orange Minute Maid 2.80 11.2
Dr. Pepper 2.92 9.5
Source: Minnesota
Dental Association*

The threshold pH for tooth enamel dissolution is 5.5.

Nurse Mark Adds: You may be interested to know that our mighty, ever-vigilant, and ever-protective FDA (which we think really stands for “Fleece and Dope Americans”) sets no limits to benzene in any beverages sold in America except bottled water – this according to the FDA’s own website! Unbelievable, but true – the FDA is happy to let the soda pop industry “develop guidance” that it claims will “minimize” (not eliminate, just “minimize“) benzene in it’s products.


1.) Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis. Lancet 2001;357:505–8.
2.) Soft drink consumption among US children and adolescents: nutritional consequences. J Am Diet Assoc 1999;99:436–41.
3.) Carbonated beverages, dietary calcium, the dietary calcium/phosphorus ratio, and bone fractures in girls and boys. J Adolescent Health 1994;15:210–5.
4.) Consumption of soft drinks with phosphoric acid as a risk factor for the development of hypocalcemia in children: a case-control study. J Pediatr 1995;126:940–2.
5.) Phosphates and caries. Lancet 1968;i:1431.[letter]
6.) Beverage ingredients can form carcinogen. Consum Rep. 2006 Oct;71(10):7.
7.) Benzene in beverages. FDA Consum. 2006 Sep-Oct;40(5):9-10.
8.) Caution: Some soft drinks may seriously harm your health: Expert links additive to cell damage. The Independent, Sunday, 27 May 2007
9.)  James Bowen, M.D. The Lethal Science of Splenda
10.) Olney, J. (1994). “Excitotoxins in Foods”. Neurotoxicology 15 (3): 535–544.
11.) Olney JW, Ho OL (August 1970). “Brain damage in infant mice following oral intake of glutamate, aspartate or cysteine”. Nature 227 (5258): 609–11.
12.) Ferland A, Brassard P, Poirier P. (2007). “Is aspartame really safer in reducing the risk of hypoglycemia during exercise in patients with type 2 diabetes?”. Diabetes Care. 30 (7): e59
13.) Mutsuko Ohnishi, M Shawkat Razzaque. “Dietary and genetic evidence for phosphate toxicity accelerating mammalian aging”. FASEB J. 2010 Apr 23. [Epub ahead of print]
14.) DeNoon, Daniel J. Reviewed by Charlotte Grayson Mathis MD. “Drink More Diet Soda, Gain More Weight? Overweight Risk Soars 41% With Each Daily Can of Diet Soft Drink”, WebMD Medical News (2005).
15.) Swithers SE, Davidson TL (2008). “A role for sweet taste: calorie predictive relations in energy regulation by rats”. Behav Neurosci 122 (1): 161–73.
16.) Public Health Service. “Toxicity Studies of Acesulfame Potassium”. Retrieved 30 March 2008.

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