Does Soda Affect Arthritis?

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More than 50 million Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis – one in every five adults – making it the leading cause of disability in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arthritis is an umbrella term encompassing more than 100 diseases that cause stiffness, pain and swelling of the joints, and includes osteoarthritis, gout, fibromyalgia, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Some foods, like soda, increase the probability of developing or inflaming arthritic conditions, particularly when consumed in excess.

Health Professionals Follow-Up Study

A study published in the "British Medical Journal" examined the correlation between sugary drinks such as soda and the occurrence of gout in men. In the 12-year Health Professionals Follow-up Study, American and Canadian researchers observed 46,000 middle-aged men with no history of gout. The men routinely completed questionnaires regarding their dietary habits and provided information on their weight and any medical conditions and medications.

Study Results

During the 12-year time frame, 755 new cases of gout were diagnosed. Men who daily consumed two or more sodas had an 85 percent higher incidence of developing gout than those who drank less than one soda a month. Men who drank one soda daily had a 45 percent higher incident rate. Diet soda did not increase the risk, but both fruit juice and fruits high in fructose did. However, since the consumption of oranges, apples and other high fructose fruits help prevent some cancers as well as high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease, the authors advise weighing the data against the benefits of fruit consumption.

Joint Inflammation

Sodas also are one of the culprits associated with inflammation of arthritic joints. Marcelle Pick, co-founder of the Women to Women Clinic, lists both diet and regular soft drinks, fruit juices and all forms of natural and refined sugar as inflammation-fueling foods, particularly when consumed at night. Pick states, “It’s interesting how some women who eat (or drink) refined carbohydrates at night are also more likely to have fluid retention and morning pain, and how changing just this one habit can turn joint pain around — almost overnight.”

Soda to Relieve Arthritis

According to, some people drink a six-pack of soft drinks to diminish the pain of arthritis. This does provide temporary relief since the phosphate in the soda dissolves calcium deposits in the joints; however, the site warns against this practice and cautions that regularly consuming a six-pack of soft drinks will lead to osteoporosis since the soda’s phosphate also dissolves calcium in the bones.