I’ve been trying. Really, I have.
If you ascribe to Peter Lynch’s theory that says you should buy shares in companies that you are familiar with or whose products you endorse, then my wife and her family should own massive shares of stock in Coca-Cola. Although they’ve made great progress since the pre-Eugene years, they still drink their fair share.
Actually, their consumption is probably at or slightly less than average for American households. But hopefully the results of a new study will change that for the better. At least for the females in the house.
Published in the October 2006 issue of Clinical Journal of Nutrition, recent results from the Framingham Nutrition Study found that women who regularly drank cola had a greater chance of developing osteoporosis than women who didn’t.
Kind of a bummer to me, since my wife drinks about the same dosage of cola that was used in the study (5-6 servings per week). She did, however, recently resume her strength training program (thank goodness snowboarding season is nearly upon us), so I haven’t written a requiem for her bone mineral density just yet.
The study presented some extremely interesting findings:
a) Cola consumption had NO significant effect on bone mineral density in men. I hypothesize that this is due to the fact that men generally have: greater body masses, heavier and stronger bones, and propensity toward weight training, which is the only real way to increase bone mineral density.
b) The type of cola (regular, diet, caffeinated vs. non) mattered only slightly. The greatest effect was seen with the regular, caffeinated cola. The effects were less with diet cola and non-caffeinated cola, but there was still a significant effect. It is pretty conclusive that cola isn’t good for your bones.
c) Regular soda had no effect in any group. Sorry Fred, but it ain’t sugar leaching calcium from your bones.
d) The X factor in cola that accelerates osteoporosis? Researchers believe it to be phosphoric acid, which is proposed to leach calcium from the bones to counteract the high levels of phosphorus and the acidity of the fluid. Sounds good to me, although levels of phosphorus in cola is actually less than that of other more commonly consumed foods where you don’t see as much of an effect, like chicken. “Further study is required.”
e) The area most affected by cola consumption? The hip. Bone mineral density in the spine was not significantly affected by the cola. A small blessing.
So let’s take an inventory of cola: it supplies excess calories, it causes insulin levels to skyrocket, and it weakens your bones. If you buy into Traditional Chinese Medicine, cola also completely shuts down digestion.
Let’s agree to switch to a more benign beverage; say, mineral water or some similar non-sugared bubbly. Or, if that’s too much of a paradigm shift, switch to a non-cola soda. At least it won’t make your bones brittle.