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Posted: May 28, 2008

Cola May Brittle Your Bones; Osteoporosis Link

That cola-based soda or two you down every day to quench your thirst or give you a shot of caffeine energy may actually be harming your bones and could eventually become a catalyst for osteoporosis, researchers say.
Researchers from Tufts University say they aren’t sure what it is about colas that triggers the issue with bone health, but they have some ideas.
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It could be, they say, that people who drink colas are simply less likely to get enough calcium and vitamin D in their diets, because they drink soda rather than more nutritious beverages, such as milk or calcium-fortified juice.
Another possibility is that caffeine is at the root of the weakened bone health. The researchers cited earlier reports linking caffeine to a higher risk of osteoporosis. A third possibility, they say, is that the phosphoric acid found in colas causes an imbalance in the body as the body seeks to neutralize the acid with calcium, and when there isn't enough calcium in the diet, the body takes calcium from the bones, weakening them.
In general, low levels of calcium are associated with the development of osteoporosis, a disease that thins and brittles the bones so much that they can fracture. More than half of all Americans, especially older, postmenopausal women, have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
The Tufts researchers, tracking more than 2,500 people with an average age of 60, found that cola consumption by women was linked with lower bone mineral density at three hip sites, regardless of a woman’s age, menopause state, or total calcium and vitamin D intake. The women reported drinking an average of five carbonated drinks a week, four of which they said were colas.
Is there a difference between diet and regular colas? Or caffeinated and decaffeinated? Not much, the researchers said, noting that there was less of a problem with decaffeinated cola, but the findings were similar for diet soft drinks.
They added that they only found the association in women, and no association between cola drinking and lower bone mass was detected in men they tested.
Results of the study were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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