Four Surprising Reasons to Steer Clear of Soda

It's no surprise that drinking soda has been linked to obesity and tooth rot. But you might be shocked to learn about some of the other horrible health-related problems a soda or two can cause. Around 1/4 of all beverages Americans consume are carbonated sodas, but some of these surprising facts should have you thinking twice about all the sugary-sweet beverages you consume.

Soda Is Linked to Pancreatic Cancer: A new study released this week found that drinking two sodas a week was linked to increased incidences of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer a rare but deadly form of cancer -- only around five percent of those stricken with it live five years or longer. Scientists believe that the high levels of sugar in soda may increase insulin levels in the body, which contributes to pancreatic cancer cell growth.

Diet Soda Is Linked to Kidney Decline: Artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas caused increased kidney decline when two or more drinks a day were consumed. Additionally, a study found that drinking soda put women at risk for early kidney disease. The study found that men were not at a similar risk. Women who drank two or more sodas in a 24-hour period were almost two times as likely to have signs of ablumenuria -- an excess amount of a protein called albumin in the urine -- which is an early marker for kidney disease.

Soda Has Been Linked to Increased Risk of Miscarriage: A 2008 study found that high doses of daily caffeine during pregnancy -- whether from coffee, tea, caffeinated soda or hot chocolate -- cause an increased risk of miscarriage. Women who consumed 200 mg of caffeine or more a day (that's five sodas or two cups of coffee) had twice the miscarriage risk as women who consumed no caffeine. The caffeine-miscarriage link is caused because fetuses have a difficult time metabolizing caffeine.

Soda Increases Risk of Gout in Men: A 2008 study found that high levels of soda consumption increased the risk of contracting gout in men aged 40 and older. Increased levels of gout, a painful joint disease caused by excess uric acid in the blood, was found in men who consumed two or more soft drinks a week. While gout was typically treated by limiting meat and dairy intake, sugar intake was never considered a cause.

Still not convinced? Why not check out some of the evidence on high-fructose corn syrup and how you can avoid it.

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc. Photos by Istock.