The moment you feel thirsty, first thing you may be reaching out to get is soda pop or in other words carbonated drinks. The simplest meaning is those drinks that have carbon dioxide added to them. Bubbles and fizzing are the result of carbonation when carbon dioxide is added to a drink. Carbonated drinks may include soft drinks that do not contain alcohol. Among other carbonated beverages there are colas, diet soda etc.
It was in 1840s that flavors were added to it. By the turn of 1900 it became a part of the western consumer’s drink choices. This was because carbonated beverages were considered as healthy and digestive. After the 1950s it came to be seen as junk food as the term essentially related to soda pop.
Even spring water may fall under the carbonated beverage category. It is naturally carbonated from the carbon dioxide that is absorbed from the ground. Beer is also a carbonated beverage but again it is a natural process that happens as carbon dioxide is created in the fermentation process. Carbonated beverages normally have carbonated water or soda water as their base. Normally there is some flavor and sweetener added to it. You can make any carbonated drink from juices, teas and wines by adding some carbonated water to it.
Soda fountains became popular in the 19th century. With problems plaguing the bottlers in US glass industry, carbonated drinks were dispensed at a soda fountain often found at drugstores or ice cream parlor. Canned drinks were only introduced in the second half of 20th century.
The studies on carbonated soft drinks suggest that consuming these drinks causes weight gain to a large extent. There are natural varieties that are growing in popularity. USDA recommended daily allotment of added sugars is 10 teaspoons for 2000 calorie diet. However, most soft drinks have more than that amount. There are little or no minerals, vitamins, proteins or any other nutrients. They have additives such as food coloring, emulsifiers, artificial flavors, preservatives etc. They cannot be replacements to healthier choices such as water, milk and fruit juice.
Studies conducted at Harvard show that carbonated drinks or soft drinks may be a major factor causing obesity in children. In 1998 statistics relating to consumption of soft drinks and their health effects like tooth decay, nutritional depletion, obesity, etc were studied. Many carbonated drinks, especially soft drinks are acidic with pH of 3.0 or even lower. Thus consumption of such drinks may cause tooth enamel erosion. Some people feel that consumption of soft drinks causes displacement of calcium from bone causing lowering of bone density leading to osteoporosis. However, there are some studies that suggest that this effect is negligible, but the main reason could be that people who have lot of soft drinks tend to have overall low calcium diet thus causing this problem. Of late, schools in US and UK have been issued guidelines or have been banned from putting up vending machine in schools as they are a major cause of obesity among adolescents.
Overall care needs to be taken while consuming carbonated drinks and the factors ‘for and against’ it kept in mind.