Besides offering essentially no vital nutrients, sugar-sweetened drinks, including soda, can lead to health complications like weight gain, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and diabetes.
When consumed in excess, added sugar can adversely affect your health.
However, some sources of sugar are worse than others — and sugary drinks are by far the worst.
This primarily applies to sugary soda but also to fruit juices, highly sweetened coffees, and other sources of liquid sugar.
Here are 13 reasons that sugary soda is bad for your health.
1. Sugary Drinks Do Not Make You Feel Full and Are Strongly Linked to Weight Gain
You tend to consume more total calories if you drink soda, as liquid sugar doesn’t make you feel full. Sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with weight gain.
2. Large Amounts of Sugar Are Turned into Fat in Your Liver
Sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup are about 50% fructose, which can only be metabolized by your liver. Excessive amounts may contribute to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
3. Sugar Drastically Increases Belly Fat Accumulation
High consumption of fructose makes you accumulate belly fat, a dangerous type of fat linked to metabolic disease.
4. Sugary Soda May Cause Insulin Resistance — a Key Feature of Metabolic Syndrome
Excess fructose intake may lead to insulin resistance, the main abnormality in metabolic syndrome.
5. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages May Be the Leading Dietary Cause of Type 2 Diabetes
A large body of evidence links added sugar consumption — particularly from sugar-sweetened beverages — to type 2 diabetes.
6. Sugary Soda Contains No Essential Nutrients — Just Sugar
Sugary sodas contain little to no essential nutrients, only providing sugar and calories.
7. Sugar May Cause Leptin Resistance
Animal trials suggest that a high-fructose diet can drive leptin resistance. Eliminating fructose may reverse the problem.
8. Sugary Soda May Be Addictive
Sugary drinks have powerful effects on your brain’s reward system, which may lead to addiction.
9. Sugary Beverages May Increase Heart Disease Risk
Multiple studies have determined a strong link between sugary beverages and heart disease risk.
10. Soda Drinkers Have a Higher Risk of Cancer
Observational studies suggest that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to an increased risk of cancer.
11. The Sugar and Acids in Soda Are a Disaster for Dental Health
The acids in soda create an acidic environment in your mouth, while the sugar feeds the harmful bacteria that reside there. This can have severe adverse effects on dental health.
12. Soda Drinkers Have a Drastically Increased Risk of Gout
People who frequently down sugary drinks appear to have an increased risk of gout.
13. Sugar Consumption Is Linked to an Increased Risk of Dementia
Some studies indicate that high blood sugar levels raise your risk of dementia.
The Bottom Line
Drinking high amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages — such as soda — can have various adverse impacts on your health.
These range from increased chances of tooth decay to a higher risk of heart disease and metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes.
Regular consumption of sugary soda also appears to be a consistent risk factor for weight gain and obesity.
If you want to lose weight, avoid chronic disease, and live longer, consider limiting your intake of sugary drinks.