What does fact checked mean?
At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
Puffiness in your feet, legs and ankles, as well as your face and hands, can be a sign of water retention, also known as edema. Water retention can occur for a number of reasons, but high caffeine and sodium consumption are two of the more common causes. Sodas can contain both sodium and caffeine, and regular consumption of soda, especially in high quantities, could lead to water retention.
While most cases of water retention can be treated at home, severe cases or regular instances of water retention should receive medical care.
Caffeine in Soda
Caffeine in Tea and Soda
Caffeine is a natural diuretic, which causes your body to release fluids. This can actually lead to water retention, as your body tries to hold onto the remaining water in you system as an attempt to reduce the risk of dehydration. According to the NYU Langone Medical Center, popular name-brand sodas, such as Dr. Pepper and Coca-Cola, can contain between 35 and 47 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce serving.
Despite their sweet taste, sodas contain a surprising amount of sodium. Sodium makes you feel thirstier, and after one soda, it may be difficult to stop. Sodas can contain between 40 to 70 milligrams of sodium per 12 ounce can. A single can of soda will provide only a small percentage of the recommended upper limit of sodium consumption, but this percentage is quite high considering the small size of a can of soda. The recommended upper limit for sodium is 2,400 milligrams, or 1,500 milligrams for those over 50, who have a history of heart disease or who are African American.
- Despite their sweet taste, sodas contain a surprising amount of sodium.
- A single can of soda will provide only a small percentage of the recommended upper limit of sodium consumption, but this percentage is quite high considering the small size of a can of soda.
Preventing Water Retention
The Effect of Phosphoric Acid on Teeth
While a single can of soda is unlikely to cause water retention, drinking a lot of soda regularly, or in combination with other factors such as hot weather, can lead to puffiness. To prevent or reduce the symptoms of water retention, make sure you stay well-hydrated. According to MedlinePlus, the general recommendation is to drink at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, and more if you are feeling dehydrated, are exposed to hot weather or have participated in hard physical activity 35. Choose low-sodium, caffeine-free drinks, ideally water, although beverages such as herbal teas can also be healthy choices.
- While a single can of soda is unlikely to cause water retention, drinking a lot of soda regularly, or in combination with other factors such as hot weather, can lead to puffiness.
- According to MedlinePlus, the general recommendation is to drink at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, and more if you are feeling dehydrated, are exposed to hot weather or have participated in hard physical activity 3.
Caffeine in Tea and Soda
The Effect of Phosphoric Acid on Teeth
Nutritional Value of Fritos
Pros & Cons of Soda & Soft Drinks
Pros & Cons of Soda & Soft Drinks
Does Soda Cause Kidney Stones?
Is Coca Cola Healthy?
Ingredients in Diet Sodas
Low Sodium Levels and Caffeine
Club Soda Nutrition
- Better Health Channel: Fluid Retention
- PEPSICO: About Sodium
- MedlinePlus: Water in Diet
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Sodium in Diet
- MedlinePlus: Caffeine in Diet
- Coca-Cola Bottle, 12 fl oz. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published February 27, 2020.
- 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- How much sugar is too much? American Heart Association.
- Freeman CR, Zehra A, Ramirez V, Wiers CE, Volkow ND, Wang GJ. Impact of sugar on the body, brain, and behavior. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2018;23:2255-2266. Published 2018 Jun 1.
- Pasiakos SM, McLellan TM, Lieberman HR. The effects of protein supplements on muscle mass, strength, and aerobic and anaerobic power in healthy adults: a systematic review. Sports Med. 2015;45(1):111-131. doi:10.1007/s40279-014-0242-2
- Blom WA, Lluch A, Stafleu A, et al. Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83(2):211-220. doi:10.1093/ajcn/83.2.211
- Tipton KD. Nutritional Support for Exercise-Induced Injuries. Sports Med. 2015;45 Suppl 1:S93-S104. doi:10.1007/s40279-015-0398-4
- Kerstetter JE, Kenny AM, Insogna KL. Dietary protein and skeletal health: a review of recent human research. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2011;22(1):16-20. doi:10.1097/MOL.0b013e3283419441
- Paddon-Jones D, Short KR, Campbell WW, Volpi E, Wolfe RR. Role of dietary protein in the sarcopenia of aging. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1562S-1566S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/87.5.1562S. PMID: 18469288.
- Maughan RJ, Griffin J. Caffeine ingestion and fluid balance: a review. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2003 Dec;16(6):411-20. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-277x.2003.00477.x. PMID: 19774754.
- Lete I, Allué J. The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy. Integr Med Insights. 2016;11:11-17. Published 2016 Mar 31. doi:10.4137/IMI.S36273
- Laura Helm, Ian A. Macdonald, Impact of beverage intake on metabolic and cardiovascular health, Nutrition Reviews, Volume 73, Issue suppl_2, 1 September 2015, Pages 120–129, https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuv049
- Ma J, Jacques PF, Meigs JB, et al. Sugar-Sweetened Beverage but Not Diet Soda Consumption Is Positively Associated with Progression of Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes. J Nutr. 2016;146(12):2544-2550. doi:10.3945/jn.116.234047
- Rippe JM, Angelopoulos TJ. Relationship between Added Sugars Consumption and Chronic Disease Risk Factors: Current Understanding. Nutrients. 2016;8(11):697. Published 2016 Nov 4. doi:10.3390/nu8110697
- Bucher Della Torre S, Keller A, Laure Depeyre J, Kruseman M. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Obesity Risk in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Analysis on How Methodological Quality May Influence Conclusions. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116(4):638-659. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2015.05.020
- Bray GA, Nielsen SJ, Popkin BM. Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity [published correction appears in Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Oct;80(4):1090]. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;79(4):537-543. doi:10.1093/ajcn/79.4.537
- Vartanian LR, Schwartz MB, Brownell KD. Effects of soft drink consumption on nutrition and health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Public Health. 2007;97(4):667-675. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2005.083782
- Pollock NK, Bundy V, Kanto W, et al. Greater fructose consumption is associated with cardiometabolic risk markers and visceral adiposity in adolescents [published correction appears in J Nutr. 2013 Jan;143(1):123]. J Nutr. 2012;142(2):251-257. doi:10.3945/jn.111.150219
- Elffers TW, de Mutsert R, Lamb HJ, et al. Body fat distribution, in particular visceral fat, is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors in obese women. PLoS One. 2017;12(9):e0185403. Published 2017 Sep 28. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0185403
- Yudkin J. Sugar and ischaemic heart disease. Practitioner. 1967;198(187):680-683.
- Liu S, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, et al. A prospective study of dietary glycemic load, carbohydrate intake, and risk of coronary heart disease in US women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71(6):1455-1461. doi:10.1093/ajcn/71.6.1455
- Cohen L, Curhan G, Forman J. Association of sweetened beverage intake with incident hypertension. J Gen Intern Med. 2012;27(9):1127-1134. doi:10.1007/s11606-012-2069-6
- Welsh JA, Sharma A, Cunningham SA, Vos MB. Consumption of added sugars and indicators of cardiovascular disease risk among US adolescents. Circulation. 2011;123(3):249-257. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.972166
- Assy N, Nasser G, Kamayse I, et al. Soft drink consumption linked with fatty liver in the absence of traditional risk factors. Can J Gastroenterol. 2008;22(10):811-816. doi:10.1155/2008/810961
- Jiantao Ma, Caroline S. Fox, Paul F. Jacques, Elizabeth K. Speliotes, Udo Hoffmann, Caren E. Smith, Edward Saltzman, Nicola M. McKeown,Sugar-sweetened beverage, diet soda, and fatty liver disease in the Framingham Heart Study cohorts. Journal of Hepatology 63;2(2015). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2015.03.032.
- Avena NM, Bocarsly ME, Hoebel BG. Animal models of sugar and fat bingeing: relationship to food addiction and increased body weight. Methods Mol Biol. 2012;829:351-365. doi:10.1007/978-1-61779-458-2_23
- Avena NM, Rada P, Hoebel BG. Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2008;32(1):20-39. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2007.04.019
- Choi HK, Willett W, Curhan G. Fructose-rich beverages and risk of gout in women. JAMA. 2010;304(20):2270-2278. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1638
- Choi HK, Curhan G. Soft drinks, fructose consumption, and the risk of gout in men: prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2008;336(7639):309-312. doi:10.1136/bmj.39449.819271.BE
- Jamnik J, Rehman S, Blanco Mejia S, et al. Fructose intake and risk of gout and hyperuricemia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMJ Open. 2016;6(10):e013191. Published 2016 Oct 3. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013191
- Tooth. American Dental Association. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/tooth.
- Cheng R, Yang H, Shao MY, Hu T, Zhou XD. Dental erosion and severe tooth decay related to soft drinks: a case report and literature review. J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. 2009;10(5):395-399. doi:10.1631/jzus.B0820245
- Hanover LM, White JS. Manufacturing, composition, and applications of fructose. Am J Clin Nutr. 1993;58(5 Suppl):724S-732S. doi:10.1093/ajcn/58.5.724S
- Meghan B. Azad, Ahmed M. Abou-Setta, Bhupendrasinh F. Chauhan, et al. Nonnutritive sweeteners and cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies. CMAJ Jul 2017, 189 (28) E929-E939; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.161390
- Fowler, S.P., Williams, K., Resendez, R.G., Hunt, K.J., Hazuda, H.P. and Stern, M.P. (2008), Fueling the Obesity Epidemic? Artificially Sweetened Beverage Use and Long‐term Weight Gain. Obesity, 16: 1894-1900. doi:10.1038/oby.2008.284
- Fowler SP, Williams K, Hazuda HP. Diet soda intake is associated with long-term increases in waist circumference in a biethnic cohort of older adults: the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015;63(4):708-715. doi:10.1111/jgs.13376
Jessica Lewis has published professionally since 2005 and is a registered dietitian and nutritionist. Her work is regularly found in the "National Post" and "Oxygen Magazine." She holds degrees from the University of Guelph and McMaster University. A marathon runner and yoga enthusiast, she is also interested in alternative medicine.