Drinking sparkling beverages does not weaken your bones or cause osteoporosis

TORONTO, July 8 /CNW/ - In response to a media report on a small study from Walter Reed Army Medical Center which suggested that diet cola consumption was linked to reduced calcium and phosphorus levels in the body, Refreshments Canada would like to provide some facts to reassure the public that this small study, involving just 20 people, does not reflect the known science on this subject.

The main causes of poor bone health are not taking in enough calcium in your diet (especially when you are young), insufficient vitamin D, changes in female hormones and a lack of weight-bearing physical activity.

In regard to the relationship between phosphorus, caffeine and bone health, some people claim weak bones occur because too much phosphorus (from phosphoric acid in cola drinks) or too much caffeine in your system keeps your body from absorbing calcium. However, experts have reviewed these claims many times and have concluded that they are not true.

    -   In 1994, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) assembled
        experts in osteoporosis and bone health at a conference on Optimal
        Calcium Intake. The experts' independent report stated "phosphate has
        not been found to affect calcium absorption or excretion
        significantly." The American Medical Association reviewed the NIH
        experts' statement and concluded that the effect of phosphate on
        calcium absorption was "physiologically trivial."

    -   In 1997, The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine
        reviewed the scientific data about phosphorus and found it does not
        appear to negatively affect calcium absorption, concluding that for
        most age groups there is no rational basis for relating the amounts
        of calcium and phosphorus consumed to each other.

    -   In 2000, the NIH Consensus Development Conference on osteoporosis
        reaffirmed that dietary phosphorus/caffeine is not an important
        factor in osteoporosis for individuals consuming a balanced diet.

    -   In 2004, the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Bone Health and
        Osteoporosis reviewed the scientific data, acknowledging the concerns
        raised about caffeine and phosphorus, but also finding that any
        impact is unimportant in people with adequate calcium intakes.

    -   In 2006, the International Osteoporosis Foundation published a review
        on nutrition and bone health and stated "Concerns have been raised
        that consumption of carbonated soft drinks, notably cola drinks, may
        adversely affect bone health. Although a few observational studies
        have shown an association between high carbonated beverage
        consumption and either decreased BMD (bone mineral density) or
        increased fracture rates in teenagers, there is no convincing
        evidence that these drinks adversely affect bone health."

In fact, sparkling beverages add only very small amounts of phosphorus to your diet through phosphoric acid, an ingredient that helps give cola drinks their tangy taste. The average daily recommended intake of phosphorus established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine is 1,000 mg; 8 ounces (240 milliliters) of Coca-Cola provides 41 mg while 8 ounces (240 milliliters) of orange juice provides 27 mg.

Refreshments Canada is the national trade association representing the broad spectrum of brands and companies that manufacture and distribute the majority of non-alcoholic liquid refreshment beverages consumed in Canada.


For further information: For further information: Justin Sherwood, Refreshments Canada, 20 Bay Street, WaterPark Place, 12th Floor, Toronto, ON, M5J 2N8, justin@refreshments.ca, (416) 362-2424

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