I’m always a little suspicious of nutritional epidemiology. It’s a prejudice, I admit. But trying to figure out how past diet affects present health is difficult. How many people remember with any accuracy what they ate years ago? Still. some things seem easier to remember, like how much cola you habitually drink. That’s some data collected via questionnaire from 2500 women enrolled in an osteoporosis study. Their mean age was about 60 years old. The results have been reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, although I’ve only seen the press reports.
What they reveal (again according to the trade press) is that women who drank more cola had lower bone densities:
The results were similar for regular, diet and decaffeinated colas. “The more cola women drank, the lower their bone mineral density was,” said Katherine Tucker, the lead researcher and from Tufts University.
Men appeared to be unaffected, despite drinking slightly more cola per week on average.
Suspicions on what may cause cola to damage bone density initially rested on an ingredient called phosphoric acid. Tucker called for more controlled studies on this.
“Physiologically, a diet low in calcium and high in phosphorus may promote bone loss, tipping the balance of bone remodelling toward calcium loss from the bone. Although, some studies have countered that the amount of phosphoric acid in cola is negligible compared to other dietary sources such as chicken or cheese.”
Another reason researchers suspected phosphoric acid was because it is not generally present in non-cola beverages. Other fizzy drinks that were not cola-based did not appear to affect bone density, the study found. (FoodNavigator).
I don’t know whether I believe this or not. I put it out there just so you’ll have one more thing to worry about. I’ve heard a lot of people are addicted to coke, but frankly I don’t understand it. The bubbles hurt my nose.