What Does Soda Do to Your Body? 7 Reasons to Kick the Habit

What does soda do to your body? The answer may surprise you. If weight loss hasn’t motivated you to ditch sodas, these 7 major health problems should!

what does soda do to your body

What does soda do to your body? If you drank two cans of soda per day, you would gain approximately one pound every two weeks, or about 26 pounds total in one year.

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While the debate rages on about whether or not sodas should be banned in schools and major cities, one thing is for certain: Each individual can make a personal choice to limit or quit drinking sodas altogether. What about you? Are you ready to kick the colas and discover how to quit drinking soda for good? If you do drink soda, what does soda do to your body?

Let us give you some incentive: Did you know that if you drank two cans of soda per day, you would gain approximately one pound every two weeks or about 26 pounds total in a year?[1] If this doesn’t motivate you to surrender your soda habit, we have an additional seven reasons to quit—and some of them may surprise you.

So, what does soda do to your body? It’s linked to at least seven serious diseases, including heart disease. See our list below.

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1. Liver Disease

Drinking soda causes fat build up around the organs by as much as 25 percent and almost doubles the amount of fat around the liver. This type of fat, called ectopic fat, is thought to be more dangerous to metabolic health than subcutaneous fat, the kind that collects under the skin. Ectopic fat induces dysfunction of the organs involved. And, when the liver is surrounded by fat, the risk of liver disease skyrockets.[2]

2. Heart Disease

Drinking soda raises LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and blood pressure. Furthermore, the increased consumption of sugar in sodas increases body weight, which in turn causes the liver to produce even more cholesterol. Even as little as one soda per day increases the risk of developing metabolic syndrome by as much as 50 percent—and that includes diet sodas, too![3]

Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes three of five criteria: large waistline, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, or low HDL “good” cholesterol levels.

HOW TO QUIT DRINKING SODA AND DIET SODA

Now that you know how soda drinks negatively impact your health, learn how to quit drinking soda for good. Click here to read our post “How to Quit Drinking Soda—and 6 Ways to Do It.”

3. Stroke

One study found that drinking one serving of soda was associated with a 10 percent increase in stroke risk.[4]

4. Diabetes

Researchers have found new evidence that soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may contribute to the development of diabetes, particularly in children.[5]

5. Kidney Stones and Kidney Disease

Sodas contain high levels of phosphoric acid and high fructose corn syrup, which have been linked to kidney stones and kidney disease.[6]

6. Pancreatic Cancer

Drinking as little as two soft drinks per week nearly doubles to risk of getting pancreatic cancer.[7]. As noted in our post “Pancreatic Cancer Causes: What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk“: “In the vast majority of people it touches—rich or poor, famous or anonymous—pancreatic cancer causes death. In fact, while mortality rates for many other cancers are declining, deaths from pancreatic cancer are on the rise.”

7. Osteoporosis and Increased Risk of Fracture

Drinking sodas has an adverse effect on bone mineral density—especially in women—due to the phosphoric acid content.[8]

What About Diet Soda?

Despite its deceiving label as a “diet” beverage, diet soda is not a healthy alternative to regular soda. In fact, a growing body of research shows drinks with artificial sweeteners—like diet sodas—are associated with increased weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease. Learn more about the diet soda dangers here and here.


[1] Based on formula of 3,500 calories equals 1 pound
[2] Am J Clin Nutr February 2012 vol. 95 no. 2 283-289.
[3] “1 Daily Soda May Boost Heart Disease” WebMD, July 23, 2007.
[4] Am J Clin Nutr May 2012 ajcn.030205.
[5] American Chemical Society Press Release, August 23, 2007.
[6] PLoS One. 2008;3(10):e3431.
[7] Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, Feb. 2010; vol 19: pp 447-455.
[8] Am J Clin Nutr October 2006 vol. 84 no. 4 936-942.


Ooriginally published in 2013, this post is regularly updated.

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Comments
  • Molly P.

    I cannot believe that by drinking 2 sodas a day you could gain 26 pounds per year! I used to have a huge problem with drinking sodas, but I am so glad I don’t anymore- these are all such serious issues. Thank you for the information!
    -Molly P.

  • Amanda (.

    I’ve never been a HUGE soda drinker (thank you mom for never buying it!), but I do get the occasional bubbly craving once in a while and find that naturally flavored seltzer water works great. No sugar or anything, not even sweet, but it curbs the craving. I’m thinking of getting a SodaStream one of these days so that I can stop wasting / drinking out of all that plastic, etc.

  • Melissa R.

    WOW! I always knew drinking soda added calories and weight. I even knew about the added cholestrol and blood pressure. What really caught my attention was the cancer and osteoporosis. These are such serious health conditions, and elimnating soda can improve your quality and length of your life. Great Article!

  • Kathleen J.

    One thing I like to point out to my patients is that soda isn’t the only culprit. Pretty much all sugar-sweetened beverages cause these ill effects, including sports drinks, vitamin waters, sweetened fruit drinks, and sweetened coffee drinks. We need to cut way down on all these drinks, not just soda.

  • Sodapop also fills your whole body with deliciousness. It’s part of what makes life worth living. If I die sooner because of it, it is well-worth it!

  • HARVEY S.

    IT WAS VERY DIFFICULT FOR ME TO BELIEVE THIS ARTICLE, WHEN I BEGAN READING #1. I AM 5’10 150 LBS, AND DOCTOR’S HAVE ALWAYS TOLD TO GAIN A LITTLE WEIGHT. NOW AT 67 YEARS OLD THEY SAY MY WEIGHT IS FINE. THIS IS CONTRARY TO GAINING 26 LBS. PER YEAR, BY DRINKING TWO CANS OF SODA PER DAY. I HAVE HAD APPROXIMATELY FOUR CANS A DAY OF SODA PER DAY, SINCE 1957. AM I JUST AN ANOMALY?

  • HARVEY S.

    AM I TRULY ASKED TO COMMENT ON WHAT I’VE PREVIOUSLY WRITTEN.

  • Sidney G.

    I only drink sodas where there are NO additives … even use soda stream ….. WATER & CO2 ONLY
    Are there negative results from drinking non sweetened non caloric sodas like La Croix where there is NO Sodium, Sugar only water and CO2 with natural flavors… ?

  • Carolyn S.

    I enjoy your articles and learn how to be healthier. Thanks, Carolyn

  • I’m 45 years old and I’ve been drinking diet soda since I was 13… at least 2 cans a day. I’m not overweight nor do I have high cholesteral or other health issues. My blood pressure is on the low side. I believe the burgers, french fries and sundaes that accompany the soda are the true culprits for weight gain. There’s no evidence that soda causes cancer but if we wish to believe all the negatives, there are at least twice the number of articles linking alcohol to cancer. For the bottled water drinkers, google “plastic in bottled water”. I’ve stopped drinking bottled water recently. Swallowing plastic particles doesn’t sound healthy.. 😐

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