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The Alaska Club

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Does Carbonated Water Affect Your Bone Health?

Posted by Elize Rumsley – RD, LD, CDE, MS, PhD. | Mar 21, 2022 2:25:21 PM

Sugar-free carbonated beverages are slowly taking market share from sugary drinks due to growing health concerns related to obesity and diabetes. But are sugar-free carbonated drinks safe for you? There is an ongoing debate about whether carbonation can affect bone health and increase the risk of osteoporosis, particularly in women.


Researchers have examined the data from thousands of women consuming carbonated drinks and their bone density. What they have found is that:


  • The higher the cola consumption, the lower the bone density especially in the hips.
  • Similar results were not seen on those drinking non-cola carbonated drinks.
  • When comparing those who drank non-carbonated water with those who drank the same amount of carbonated water, there was no difference in bone density.

These studies have concluded that the phosphoric acid (phosphate) used to give the characteristic acidic and tangy flavor to colas and used in many processed foods affects calcium metabolism, resulting in the loss of calcium from bone. Dark-colored sodas such as Coke or Pepsi (excluding root beer) tend to have higher amounts of phosphoric acid.


Although phosphorus is naturally found in foods such as meat, fish, nuts, and milk, the human body can’t absorb the natural form of phosphorus very well. In contrast, the body absorbs almost 100% of phosphorus used as an additive in processed foods or drinks. The excessive amount of phosphorus can have deleterious effects on health.


If you often drink carbonated beverages, choose clear sugar-free carbonated drinks or seltzer water which don’t have any added phosphorus. It is also beneficial to incorporate calcium-rich foods and a Vitamin D supplement in your diet and add resistance or high-impact exercise into your lifestyle to promote bone strength.


For more information, contact your local registered dietitian. 

Topics: Healthy eating, healthy living

Written by Elize Rumsley – RD, LD, CDE, MS, PhD.

Elize is registered and state licensed, has a BS in Human Nutrition and a MA and PhD in Nutrition Science.

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