12 Harmful Ingredients in Power Drinks, Colas and Artificial Juice Drinks
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12 Harmful Ingredients in Power Drinks, Colas and Artificial Juice Drinks

Have you been hooked to softdrinks and similar instant drinks to satiate your thirst? Watch out for the 12 harmful ingredients in power drinks, colas, and artificial juice drinks. Always read those labels before you take any of those manufactured drinks. Those ingredients may be harmful to you. Read on and be informed.

Sometimes people just take for granted what they put into their mouth and what they drink to push it down. A diet-conscious individual can easily see what food he/she consumes but not the ingredients in what they drink. 

Do people really consume health drinks as those attractive advertisements flaunt they are? Say, high fiber, high Vitamin C content? Are there really health benefits derived from these drinks? How about the additives or preservatives? They don't include that in the front labels!

Here are facts about the typical ingredients of power drinks, colas or juice drinks usually placing 100% Vitamin C in their labels to lure customers. Under each ingredient, corresponding descriptions on their effects to individuals consuming them are provided. This list is not exhaustive. There are other ingredients which may pose serious health concerns. You can find these ingredients in the labels of so-called health drinks, normally just below the nutrition facts.

1. Sugar and/or high fructose in corn syrup

In the last decade or so, the consumption of fructose such as those derived from softdrinks or juice drinks has been linked to a rise in obesity and metabolic disorders. In laboratory experiments, scientists found out that fructose stimulates fat production that leads to insulin resistance in the liver and other organs, abnormal concentrations of fats in the blood and high blood pressure (Le KA, 2006). This suggests that it is possible that too much consumption of high sugar foods can lead to a high concentration of fats in the blood thus raise blood pressure.

2. Citric acid

The Academy of General Dentistry cautions cola and commercial juice drinkers that many of the beverages today have very high acidity. Very high acidity from citric acid in drinks can destroy the hard enamel of the teeth that will lead to tooth decay and eventual loss. 

3. Vitamin C

Although drinks with Vitamin C are purported by advertisers to have some health benefits, in reality these are not natural. Synthetic Vitamin C can cause kidney stones, gout, arthritis and ulcers, and can even cause heart disease.  Natural Vitamin C in fruits and vegetables are much better because these do not have detrimental side-effects. 

4. Artificial flavors and/or sodium benzoate

Dr. Jim Stevenson and his team from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom determined that artificial colors and/or sodium benzoate increased levels of hyperactivity in preschool aged and 8-9 year old children within the general population. This means that children's behavior are influenced by their fancy of colorful and sweet, junk foods.

5. Tartrazine

Tartrazine is used to provide color to drinks. Studies show that it can cause asthma, migraines, hyperactivity and skin rashes. It has also been found to cause a deficiency in other vitamins and minerals. New research indicates that it may play a role in heart disease

6. Flavorants

Flavorants are usually not specifically indicated. Flavorants may contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), a controversial substance which has many side effects among which is its toxicity. There is still an on-going debate regarding its safety as a flavor enhancer. But this author notes that in his place, it is common practice to get rid of feral dogs with meat containing a lot of MSG. This effectively poisons them.

7. Sodium Saccharin.

Studies showed clearly that sodium saccharin can contribute to bladder cancer and tumours in the urinary tract.  

8. Sodium Cyclamate

Sodium cyclamate is considered to be carcinogenic and has similar effects to saccharin.

9. Sorbic Acid

High levels of sorbic acid can irritate the nose, eyes and throat.

10. Benzoic Acid

Benzoic acid is a preservative that causes allergies and intolerances. This results to asthma, itchy skin eruptions and hyperactivity.

11. Sodium Hexametaphosphate

Sodium hexametaphosphate can lead to a loss of calcium and cause kidney damage.

12. Potassium Benzoate

Potassium benzoate can can trigger asthma, itchy skin eruptions and hyperactivity just like benzoic acid.

So good, old, simple water is the best drink to take. But avoid distilled ones because bottled distilled water has an acid pH. High ph results to a loss of alkaline minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, distilled water is essentially mineral free so it dissolves substances with which it comes into contact. Trace minerals found in plain water are important in regulating heart beat and normalizing blood pressure.


Academy of General Dentistry, 2007. Soda Attack: Soft Drinks, Especially Non-colas and Iced Tea, Hurt Hard Enamel. Retrieved on April 15, 2010 at http://www.agd.org/public/oralhealth/Default.asp?IssID=315&Topic=N&ArtID=1276

Le KA, T., 2006. Metabolic effects of fructose. Retrieved on April 15, 2010 at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16778579.

Mary-Ann Shearer and The Shearer Family Trust, 2007. Sports drinks. Retrieved on April 16, 2010 at http://www.mary-anns.com/sports_drinks.html.

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Comments (9)
Ranked #138 in Healthy Living

Great article. I thought you were only going to tell me things I already knew, I was surprised that I didn't know that already!

Thanks Audra. It's great to know I have contributed to the body of knowledge and that people derive benefit from my articles.

This turned out to be an exceptionally useful and informative factoid. I realize that I need to be careful when I consume these artificial drinks.

This is very informative and educational. Thanks for the share! I'm out of votes but will tweet this one :)

Enjoyed your article. Very informative. I don't let my kids drink cola and artificial drinks, but for us adults it's a hard habit to kick!

Brilliant article with some very good points

I've never heard some of these ingredients, and didn't know some of the others were harmful. I hate that manufacturers are allowed to use vague or misleading terms like "natural flavors" to hide the use of things like MSG. Thanks for the informative article!

One of the reasons I had to quit drinking soda was because of some of these ingredients killing my stomach. Excellent article!

Ajay k Sharma

I am a teacher of biology in the University. This article has opened many new things, now I can say really good and bad about different drinks.