Habitual Coca Cola Drinkers at Increased Osteoporosis Risk

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: June 2, 2010

Before you sip a soft drink, learn the hard facts about soda and its association with osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that about 55 percent of Americans ages 50 and older are at risk for developing osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a devastating condition causing a reduction in overall body mass making our bones become dangerously fragile. It affects about 25 million Americans, mostly women over 50 years of age. It’s called a “Silent Disease” as it produces no symptoms until a fracture occurs. Certain people are more likely to develop osteoporosis than others including those with low bone mineral density.

Researchers at Tufts University recently found that women who regularly drink cola are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis. Results from the Framingham Osteoporosis Study, published in the October (2006) issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, revealed that women who are daily cola drinkers have lower bone mineral density than those who drink it only once a week.

Besides being able to clean corrosion from car battery terminals, cola can also provides lots of unnecessary calories to your diet! Soda has no nutritional value and yet still accounts for more than a quarter of all drinks consumed in the United States. More than 15 billion gallons were sold in 2000. That works out to at least one 12-ounce can per day for every man, woman and child. “>More than 2,500 participants whose average age was around 59 were involved in this latest study. Each participant provided information about their diet and had their bone mineral density measured at the spine and three different parts of the hip. On average, men reported drinking six carbonated drinks a week, five of which were cola. Women drank an average of five carbonated beverages a week, four of which were cola.

Results were similar for diet cola and decaffeinated cola. However, there was no association found with bone mineral density loss for women who drank carbonated beverages that were not cola. For the men involved in the study, cola consumption was not associated with lower bone mineral density at the hip sites, or the spine for either men or women.

The bottom line, regardless of age, menopausal status, use of cigarettes or alcohol, or calcium intake is women who are frequent cola drinkers have a significantly higher risk of having low bone mineral density than those who do not drink cola.

“Bone density among women who drank cola daily was almost 4 percent less, compared with women who didn’t drink cola,” said lead researcher Katherine Tucker, director of the Epidemiology and Dietary Assessment Program at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.

Previous studies have suggested that cola contributes to bone loss because it replaces milk in the diet. But, in this study, those who consumed higher amounts of cola did not have a lower intake of milk than women who consumed fewer colas. However, a generally lower calcium intake from all sources (including non-dairy sources) was lower for women who drank the most cola.

Over 70 percent of the carbonated beverages consumed by people in the study were colas containing phosphoric acid. A diet low in calcium and high in phosphorus may be the reason for the increase in bone loss although more studies are needed to determine the reasoning behind these findings. Beware of another bone robber in colas – that is caffeine. The caffeine in colas may increase the loss of calcium in our urine.

Until more studies are conducted, women who regularly drink cola should be wary of its effects. It is not a new idea that your overall nutritional choices affect bone health. “There is no concrete evidence that an occasional cola will harm the bones, “says Tucker. “However, women concerned about osteoporosis may want to steer away from frequent consumption of cola until further studies are conducted.”

We should develop an osteoporosis prevention diet which should limit our use of cola beverages.


“Colas, but not other carbonated beverages, are associated with low bone mineral density in older women: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study” Katherine Tucker, Kyoko Morita, Ning Qiao, Marian T Hamman, L Adrienne Cupples and Douglas P Kiel, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 84, No. 4, 936-942, October 2006.

For more information on osteoporosis, go to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.