Dr. Andrea Middleton - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Andrea Middleton

Is Cream Soda Bad For You?



Short answer

Excessive consumption of cream soda can be bad for your health due to its high sugar content, artificial flavors and colors, and added phosphoric acid. These ingredients can contribute to weight gain, dental problems, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, NAFLD, and may affect bone health and increase hyperactivity in children. Moderation is crucial, and healthier substitutes can be considered to reduce potential health risks.



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Long answer

Sugar Content and Its Impact on Health in Cream Soda

When indulging in the sweet, smooth flavors of cream soda, it's crucial to be mindful of the sugar content in this popular beverage. A standard 12-ounce can of cream soda typically contains between 30 to 45 grams of sugar, accounting for a significant portion of the recommended daily intake in just one serving. The American Heart Association suggests that men should consume no more than 36 grams and women no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day. A single can of cream soda can easily surpass this limit, leading to various potential health implications.

Excessive sugar intake is associated with a plethora of health concerns, especially when consumed in liquid form like sodas. These concerns include:

  • Weight Gain: Sugary drinks like cream soda have a high caloric content with little to no nutritional value, leading to weight gain and increased risk of obesity.
  • Dental Problems: High sugar content contributes to tooth decay and cavities, as sugar acts as a food source for harmful oral bacteria.
  • Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Regularly consuming sugary drinks can lead to insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar levels, heightening the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Heart Disease: Studies have illustrated a link between high-sugar diets and an increased risk of heart disease. For instance, a significant study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found a strong association between a high intake of added sugars and an increased risk of cardiovascular mortality.
  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD): Excessive sugar, particularly fructose, can accumulate in the liver, leading to NAFLD, a condition that can progress to serious liver damage over time.

Furthermore, the sugar in cream soda usually comes from high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a common sweetener in many processed foods and drinks. HFCS has been particularly scrutinized for its adverse effects on health. A review published in Advances in Nutrition pointed out that HFCS could contribute to obesity and insulin resistance more than other sugars, due to its high fructose content and the way our bodies metabolize it.

Awareness of these health risks is essential when considering dietary choices. For those who enjoy cream soda, it's advisable to limit consumption, opt for diet versions, or seek out recipes for homemade alternatives that use natural sweeteners in moderation. If choosing to consume commercially-available cream sodas, it's beneficial to check the nutrition label for sugar content and be mindful of its role in the context of an overall balanced diet. Ensuring we do not exceed the recommended daily intake of added sugars is a step towards maintaining overall health and preventing chronic diseases.

Artificial Flavors and Colors: Unveiling the Chemicals

When considering the potential health impacts of cream soda, it's crucial to address the issue of artificial flavors and colors. These additives are widely used in the food industry for a variety of reasons, including enhancing flavor and appearance to make products more appealing.

Understanding Artificial Flavors

Artificial flavors are synthetic chemicals created to mimic natural flavors. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these flavorings are designed to simulate the taste of natural ingredients. However, unlike natural flavors derived from real food sources, artificial flavors are concocted from chemical compounds in a lab.

Health Considerations

Studies on artificial flavors suggest various health impacts. While many are considered GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the FDA, others have been linked to adverse effects. For example, concerns have been raised about certain synthetic flavorings being potential carcinogens or causing allergic reactions in some individuals.

  • Research Perspective: A study from the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal indicates that certain artificial flavors might cause cytotoxicity or damage to cells in high concentrations (Food Chem. Toxicol., 2013).
  • Expert Opinion: Nutritional experts regularly debate the safety of artificial flavors, with some advocating for more rigorous testing and clear labeling to allow consumers to make informed decisions.

The Role of Artificial Colors

Artificial colors are another common additive in products like cream soda. These synthetic dyes are used to achieve the vibrant, alluring color that is often associated with this popular beverage.

Potential Risks

Some artificial colors have been under scrutiny for their possible health risks. Controversy particularly revolves around certain dyes that have been associated with behavioral issues in children, such as increased hyperactivity. Furthermore, there are emerging concerns about long-term health effects from consistent consumption of these dyes.

  • Scientific Findings: Studies, including a publication in the Lancet, have indicated a potential link between consumption of certain artificial colors and increased hyperactivity in some children (Lancet, 2007).
  • Regulatory Response: In response to such studies, some countries have taken steps to ban or restrict the use of certain artificial colors, or require warning labels on products containing them.

Conclusion on Chemical Composition

While the chemical composition of artificial flavors and colors is designed to enhance the sensory appeal of beverages like cream soda, it's important to weigh the pros and cons. The inclusion of these additives in our diet should be considered with a keen eye on the current body of research, as well as individual health concerns and sensitivities. It's also worth noting that individual reactions can vary greatly, making it challenging to generalize about the safety of these substances for everyone.

Advice for Consumers

Given the varied responses to artificial flavors and colors, it's prudent for consumers to be vigilant about reading labels and understanding the ingredients in their foods and beverages. Those with specific sensitivities, allergies, or dietary restrictions may opt for products free from synthetic additives, and instead choose items with natural flavorings and colorings.

Making Informed Choices

Ultimately, it's about making informed choices based on individual health goals and concerns. Whether choosing to indulge in a cream soda or selecting an alternative, being aware of what goes into our bodies allows us to navigate the complex world of food additives with confidence and knowledge.

The Role of Phosphoric Acid in Cream Soda

Phosphoric Acid, chemically known as H3PO4, is a common additive found in many soft drinks, including cream soda. Its primary function is to add tartness and acidity, balancing the sweetness of the sugary components. However, its presence raises certain health concerns that warrant careful consideration.

Effects on Calcium Absorption: Phosphoric acid has been associated with decreased calcium absorption. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that high intake of phosphate, the form of phosphorus in phosphoric acid, can have a negative effect on bone health due to its competition with calcium for absorption in the digestive system.

Implications for Kidney Health: Excessive consumption of phosphoric acid can be challenging for the kidneys. The National Kidney Foundation notes that a high phosphate intake, particularly when sources are additive rather than naturally occurring in foods, may lead to kidney stress and contribute to the development of kidney stones.

Impact on Dental Health: The acidity of phosphoric acid can also contribute to the erosion of tooth enamel. The Journal of Dentistry has several studies which demonstrate that acidic beverages, including those with phosphoric acid like cream soda, are linked to dental erosion. This deleterious effect on teeth is heightened with frequent consumption.

Link to Osteoporosis: Some research has indicated a connection between high phosphorus intake and the risk of osteoporosis. While the mechanisms are not entirely clear, the concern lies in high phosphoric acid levels potentially disrupting the calcium to phosphorus ratio in the body, which is crucial for maintaining bone density.

Despite these concerns, phosphoric acid is approved for use and considered safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when ingested in moderate amounts. It is important for consumers to monitor their overall intake of phosphate-containing foods and beverages, like cream soda, to mitigate potential health risks.

Advised Consumption: Consumers are recommended to enjoy cream soda and other phosphoric acid-containing beverages in moderation. A balanced diet that maintains the appropriate calcium-to-phosphorus ratio is essential for minimizing the negative impacts of phosphoric acid on health. For personalized recommendations on phosphate intake, consulting with a healthcare provider or dietitian is advisable.

While phosphoric acid plays a functional role in the formulation of cream soda, providing the drink with its signature tangy flavor, consumer awareness about its potential health implications is critical. By staying informed and judicious in our consumption choices, we can appreciate the taste benefits of ingredients like phosphoric acid, without compromising our health.

Potential Link Between Cream Soda and Obesity

Obesity is a complex health issue that affects millions worldwide, and it's influenced by a combination of factors including genetics, lifestyle choices, and dietary habits. The role of sugary beverages, such as cream soda, in the development of obesity is a topic of much discussion and research in the nutritional science community.

Most cream sodas contain a high amount of added sugars. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the recommended maximum intake of added sugars is no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) per day for men and 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women. However, a single 12-ounce can of cream soda can contain upwards of 40 grams of sugar, which already exceeds these recommendations.

Excessive sugar intake is closely associated with weight gain for several reasons:

  • Caloric Density: Sugary drinks like cream soda are high in calories but low in nutritional value. Consuming high-calorie beverages can lead to an increased calorie intake overall, contributing to a caloric surplus and subsequent weight gain.
  • Insulin Response: The rapid influx of sugar into the bloodstream causes a spike in insulin levels, promoting the storage of excess glucose as fat.
  • Appetite Regulation: Liquid calories do not promote the same feeling of fullness as solid foods, which can lead to overeating.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggests that fructose, a common form of sugar found in many sweetened beverages, may contribute to overeating because it fails to adequately suppress hunger signals in the brain. This could result in a higher calorie intake, increasing the risk of obesity.

Long-term epidemiological studies have shown a consistent link between the consumption of sugary beverages and an increased risk of obesity. The New England Journal of Medicine reported that children with a higher intake of sugar-sweetened drinks were more likely to gain excess weight and become obese. A similar pattern has been observed in adults.

Bearing in mind the nutritional profile of cream soda and its association with obesity, it's reasonable to consider moderation if choosing to consume cream sodas and other sugary beverages. Instead of regular consumption, it may be beneficial to treat such drinks as an occasional indulgence. Additionally, seeking out healthier beverage options can help manage weight and contribute to overall health.

Ultimately, the link between cream soda and obesity underscores the importance of a balanced diet and mindful consumption of foods and drinks high in added sugars. Public health organizations continue to emphasize the necessity for dietary changes that include reducing the intake of sweetened drinks as part of a multifaceted approach to combating the obesity epidemic.

Healthier Substitutes to Cream Soda

For those with a penchant for the sweet, creamy flavor of cream soda but who are looking to make healthier beverage choices, there are several alternative options that can satisfy that craving. By opting for one of these substitutes, you can reduce your intake of added sugars and other less desirable ingredients often found in traditional cream soda. Here's a curated list of healthier alternatives:

  • Sparkling Water with a Splash of Juice: Combine sparkling water with a small amount of 100% natural fruit juice for a touch of sweetness. This combination drastically reduces the sugar content while providing a similar effervescence.
  • Homemade Cream Soda: Make your version using seltzer water, a few drops of pure vanilla extract, and a sweetener of your choice, such as stevia or honey. This homemade alternative allows control over the ingredients and their quantities.
  • Kombucha: This fermented tea beverage has a natural fizz and comes in a variety of flavors, some of which mimic the vanilla notes found in cream soda. Kombucha also offers probiotics, which can be beneficial for gut health.
  • Herbal or Fruit Infusions: Infuse still or sparkling water with fresh fruits, herbs, or edible flowers to impart subtle flavors without added sugars. Vanilla pods and berries can create a reminiscent cream soda profile.
  • Coconut Water: It's naturally sweet and contains electrolytes, making it a hydrating choice. While it won't replicate the carbonation, it offers a refreshing taste that can curb sweet cravings.
  • Diet Cream Soda: There are diet versions of cream soda that use artificial sweeteners instead of high-fructose corn syrup or sugar. While these can be better in terms of calorie content, be mindful of the potential effects of artificial sweeteners on health.

Each substitute offers a unique set of benefits, from reduced sugar content to the inclusion of health-promoting ingredients like probiotics and electrolytes. When seeking a cream soda alternative, it's important to read labels and understand the ingredients and nutritional content of the beverage you choose.

Moreover, always remember that while these substitutes can be healthier, moderation is key. Even the better alternatives can contribute to unhealthy dietary patterns if consumed in excess. Thus, it's crucial to enjoy these options as part of a balanced and mindful diet.

It's also valuable to consult with nutritionists or dietitians if you have specific health concerns or dietary requirements that might affect your choice of beverage. Insights from experts, along with current nutritional research, should guide your decision to ensure that your diet aligns with your health goals.

Frequently asked questions

Although cream soda traditionally contains artificial flavors, some brands may include natural vanilla extract, which has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. However, these potential benefits are outweighed by the high sugar and additive content found in most commercial cream sodas.

Yes, the high sugar content in cream soda can contribute to metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Phosphoric acid may be listed directly by name (phosphoric acid) or could be identified as a food additive with its corresponding E-number, E338, on a soda's ingredient label.

Yes, some individuals may develop sensitivities or intolerances to certain additives such as artificial flavors, colors, or phosphoric acid found in cream soda, which could lead to symptoms like headaches, digestive issues, or allergic reactions.

Ask a question about Cream Soda and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • dental problems
  • hyperactivity in children
  • insulin resistance
  • decreased calcium absorption
  • dental erosion

Possible long-term side effects

  • increased risk of obesity
  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (nafld)
  • kidney stones
  • osteoporosis
  • potential carcinogens

Ingredients to be aware of

Healthier alternatives

  • sparkling water with juice
  • homemade cream soda
  • kombucha
  • herbal or fruit infusions
  • coconut water
  • diet cream soda

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Zevia Cream Soda

  • Zero calorie treat
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Convenient 16oz cans
  • Non-GMO Project Verified
  • Pack of 12
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-21-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-21-2024

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