Carbonated soft drinks can also be referred to as soda. The term “soft drink” describes beverages that do not contain any alcohol content, considered a “hard drink.” Carbonated drinks can be classified based on their sugar levels, ingredients, and functionality (Deren et al. 302). Examples of soft drinks in today’s market include sweetened with sugar and sugar substitutes, caffeinated drinks, and caffeine-free drinks. An average sweetened soda comprises more than 120 calories per 12 ounces. Soft drink calories are commonly in corn syrup or refined sugarcane (AbuKhader 155). Making soda involves glucose and fructose sugars being fermented with an oral bacterium. In America, high fructose corn syrup is primarily used in the production of soda because of its low prices (Deren et al. 301). Carbonated soda is mostly acidic with a PH of more than 3.0, contributing to oral acidity. In other cases, some sodas contain phosphoric acid that brings a tangy taste. Most carbonated soft drinks exclusively contain artificial coloring, flavoring, and little to no minerals, proteins, vitamins, or other essential nutrients. Furthermore, soda contains caffeine, which is considered a safe soda ingredient. Soft drinks, also known as soda, are significant beverages today and have recorded a massive growth in their sales and consumption over the years.
Statistics indicate that soda consumption is extensively seen in children, adolescents, and youth. It is believed that soft drinks consumption in kid’s increases with age, which accounts for the world’s largest sugar intake among young people (AbuKhader 156). Various studies have associated soda with increased health risks, while others state its benefits. Prospective studies have shown that soda consumption is positively associated with health issues like obesity and other non-communicable diseases. Other studies indicate that it contributes to healthy and enjoyable diets. The differences in soda effects on young adults have led to a massive argument on whether to offer soda to school cafeterias or not (AbuKhader 155). Many prospects are against providing soda to schools, while others support the notion of delivering soda in school cafeterias. The main objective of this paper is to determine whether school cafeterias should be given soda to serve students.
Benefits of Soda
Over the past years, studies have indicated that soda consumption is a beneficial thing to young people. Cleghorn et al. (150) posits that soft drinks promote healthy and enjoyable diets. He argues that soda contains essential nutrients like carbohydrates and water that provide needed nutrients that supplement growth, good health status, and energy. Soft drinks also serve as a daily intake of fluids alongside water because regular soda is 90% water (Cleghorn et al. 150). Therefore sodas have nutritional benefits to young people, especially students who require a lot of energy to do school activities like games. Another argument is that soda consumption in young people promotes salt uptake (Cleghorn et al.156). Soft drinks contain calcium which supplements a balanced diet and healthy lifestyles among children and adolescents (Cleghorn et al. 150). Additionally, many argue that without soda in a school cafeteria diet, it limits students to milk, taking away students’ autonomy on what to eat in the school cafeteria (AbuKhader 156).
Reasons to Not Offer Soda in School Cafeterias
Regardless of these positive consequences of soda, school cafeterias should not be offered sodas. Sodas maybe have a slight advantage to adolescents and children’s health, but it is an enormous health hazard that should not be used or provided in school cafeterias (AbuKhader 156). Firstly, it is because soda develops dental caries. When one consumes soda, a vast amount of the sodas sweetened sugar content residues in an individual’s mouth and after a constant consumption of soda (Deren et al. 296). Even with regular brushing, diet and regular soda can still break teeth enamel. When teeth are exposed to the sugar residue from the soda, they produce an acidic content that leads to damage of the enamel, eventually causing cavities. Furthermore, soda, whether regular or diet, causes tooth erosion. The acid produced erodes the enamel of teeth, exposing sensitive layers underneath it, making them more susceptible to decay and tooth sensitivity. Tooth enamel does not regenerate, so soda is a triple health hazard to young people’s teeth, supporting the notion that school cafeterias should not be offered sodas (Tahmassebi & BaniHani 115).
Secondly, carbonated soda impairs brain functions. Even though various strategies have been implemented to reduce caffeine levels in soft drinks, it still has a high rate, which is a hazard mostly to youngsters in society (Scully et al. 2345). Soda impacts sleeping habits. Due to the caffeine content in soda, sleep habits like duration and quality are affected. Short or no sleep is associated with severe outcomes that mostly affect the brain and its functionality (Scully et al. 2340). Soda also causes memory problems. Studies reveal that a constant amount of sugars reduces brain-delivered neurotrophic factors that impair learning and memory. According to Scully et al. (2348), when a young adult consumes one soda a day, the likelihood of having early memory issues later in life is very high and affects their hippocampal learning and memory. Additionally, soda contains caffeine that is very addictive (Deren et al. 296). Eventually, continued consumption of soda leads to a change in an individual’s brain, which makes one crave more, eventually leading to addiction. The addiction causes youths to be independent on these stimulating effects, and without it, they are sluggish, irritable, or have issues concentrating in class. Other effects caused by long-term consumption of soda are high dementia and stroke risks in one’s later life (Deren et al. 300).
Thirdly, soda is highly associated with obesity. Despite the public policies developed to reduce sugar-sweetened soda, consumption is still rising, which is a huge health problem. Soft drinks consumption in adolescents comprises more than 30% in a day (Scully et al. 2348). Soda has additional calories that with every 12 ounces of soda consumed daily, a 60% increased risk of obesity is associated. Therefore, what seems like a glass of soda causes a massive health threat to any child and adolescent consuming soda. Carbonated soda contains high added sugar, low satiety, and incomplete energy compensation. Still, when one drinks these drinks, they do not feel like they have taken in calories, increasing the risk of being overweight. Statistics indicate that sugary potions in soda have drastically increased over the years, leading to increased consumption among children and adolescents, causing a risk of obesity (Tahmassebi & BaniHani 117). Children and adolescents who become obese at an early age have high risks of hosting other medical issues like loss of calcium, weakened bones, diabetes, heart problems, and diabetes (Deren et al. 298). Due to these risks caused by soda, schools should not offer sodas to students.
Lastly, soda affects mental health, behavior, and attitude. Something that most of us students drink on a daily basis could lead to our downfall because of its harmful content (Scully et al. 2347). Today, mental health is a crucial aspect that people need to protect to ensure happiness and health, but soda increases the risks of destabilizing it (Tahmassebi & BaniHani 109). Soda contains an ingredient called aspartame, an artificial sweetener that brings more harm than good to our bodies and our behavior. The sweetener induces aggression and hyperactive behaviors. Aspartame in soda damages brain nerves, leading to depression, ADHH, and ADD (Scully et al. 2346). Aspartame also causes mood swings, emotional disability, and anxiety in children and adolescents. Studies indicate that teenagers who frequently drink soft drinks have high aggression, hyperactivity, attention issues, and withdrawal behavior scores. Imagine a youngster who is already full of life and energy then being given a caffeinated soft drink, and the results cannot be impressive. Frequent soda consumption by a student increases activity scores, increasing their likelihood of getting involved in destructive activities (Scully et al. 2348). Therefore sodas in the school cafeteria only risk student safety and mental health, which dims their future.
In conclusion, even though soda is a pleasant way of quenching thirst and supplementing body nutrients and energy because of its components like vitamins, minerals, water, and carbohydrates, it is a triple health threat to young children and adolescents in schools. Soda is associated with dental caries, impairment of brain functionality, being over-weight, diabetes and obesity. Due to these hazards, school cafeterias should not offer sodas to students. By offering soda, schools would not be putting their student’s health and safety as their priority, but they will be only acting catalysts of destroying the lives of these students. Providing soda in schools affects their physical health as much as it affects their mental health. Soda is widely known to cause various mental health issues, mood swings, emotional disability, and ADHD. Therefore by banning sodas in school cafeterias, society will be ensuring common health problems associated with sweetened soft drinks and ensuring that students have a bright, healthy future.
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Cleghorn, Christine, et al. “Estimating the health benefits and cost-savings of a cap on the size of single serve sugar-sweetened beverages.” Preventive medicine 120 (2019): 150-156.
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Scully, Maree, et al. “Factors associated with high consumption of soft drinks among Australian secondary-school students.” Public health nutrition 20.13 (2017): 2340-2348
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