Soft Drinks and Bone Health?

Whilst working on an osteoporosis case I was reminded why I always so no to my daughter having fizzy drinks. Some may judge me as a fussy Mum trying to limit junk food or sugar intake. Whilst some argue that sugar free is a great alternative. Well artificial sweeteners that can be left for another newsletter. The reason behind my negative view of fizzy drinks is the least talked about component phosphorus

Two major factors that influence the risk of developing osteoporosis are the level of bone mass achieved at skeletal maturity (peak bone mass) and the rate at which bone loss occurs in later years. The more bone mass available before age-related bone loss ensues, the less likely it will decrease to a level at which fractures occur.

Osteoporosis: Prevention is the Key
Experts agree that prevention is likely to remain the most effective method of dealing with osteoporosis. The two approaches to prevention are maximizing peak bone mass at skeletal maturity and reducing the rate of age-related bone loss.

• Maximizing Peak Bone Mass
Bone size and strength is continually acquired during the first three decades of life, typically peaking between the ages of 30-35. Studies have shown that an optimal intake of calcium during childhood and up to age 25-30 can positively impact an individual’s peak bone mass.

Children and young adults who do not consume adequate amounts of calcium may have suboptimal bone density by the time they reach age 35. It is becoming increasingly clear that insufficient accumulation of skeletal mass by young adulthood predisposes a person to fractures later in life as age-related bone loss ensues.

Bone continuously remodels through the processes of bone resorption and bone formation, which are dependent upon adequate levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH) and calcitonin. This remodelling process functions by the interaction of two types of cells: osteoclasts, which resorb bone, and osteoblasts, which form new bone. Bone remodelling, or bone turnover, is usually in balance until the fourth decade of life when resorption becomes slightly greater than formation and a small, continuous loss of bone mass results.

Fizzy Drinks
People who consume fizzy drinks have been reported to have an increased incidence of bone fractures. The problem, may be linked to phosphoric acid, a substance found in many fizzy drinks, particularly colas. In one study, children consuming at least six glasses (1.5 litres) per week of fizzy drinks containing phosphoric acid had more than five times the risk of developing low blood levels of calcium compared with other children. In a study in adults, higher consumption of cola drinks was associated with more bone loss in women, but not in men. Although a few studies have not linked fizzy drinks to bone loss, the preponderance of evidence now suggests that a problem may exist.

What does appear certain is that regular exercise, lifetime maintenance of adequate nutritional intake with regard to calcium and other nutrients important for bone health, and a healthy lifestyle are essential for maximising peak bone mass and for minimising the rate of bone loss that occurs with ageing, and thus reducing the risk of osteoporosis