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How Does Cola Affect Your Body?

By Marie Dannie

While a glass or can of cola might be refreshing, it can also have a negative effect on your body. Cola contains caffeine, which acts as a stimulant and can lead to shakiness and anxiety if you drink too much. Regularly drinking cola can also lead to weight gain and increased gas in your digestive tract. Cola isn’t a nutritious drink, and you should drink it only occasionally if at all.

Caffeine Content

Cola typically contains caffeine, although there are caffeine-free variations of the drink. A 12-ounce can of cola has 32 milligrams of caffeine. MedlinePlus recommends that you drink no more than five caffeinated colas a day. This will help you stay within the recommended intake of caffeine, which is 200 to 300 milligrams per day. While caffeine is considered safe, drinking too much can cause anxiety, shakiness, trouble sleeping, increased urination, vomiting and restlessness.

Added Sugar Content

Like most sodas, cola is high in sugar. A 12-ounce can of cola has almost 40 grams of it. According to the American Heart Association, a diet high in added sugars increases your risk of weight gain and obesity. Added sugars are considered “empty” calories because they have no other nutritional benefit. The AHA recommends no more than 100 to 150 grams of added sugar per day, and a single can of cola provides 27 to 40 percent of this recommendation.

Gas in Your Gut

Gas can accumulate in your digestive tract, leading to bloating and an uncomfortable feeling in your abdomen. It can also cause burping or flatulence as the gas escapes your body. Drinking fizzy drinks, such as cola, can increase your chances of gas, especially if you drink them very quickly as this increases the amount of swallowed air. While gas in your digestive tract is not threatening, it can exacerbate other digestive symptoms, such as irritable bowel syndrome, increasing your discomfort.

Hydration Benefits

Cola does provide hydration, with over 331 grams of water per 12-ounce can. MedlinePlus states that any fluids, including carbonated drinks, sodas and caffeinated beverages, can be used as a source of hydration for your body. However, caffeinated drinks are not ideal because caffeine is a natural diuretic and will cause your body to release fluids, leading to less effective hydration overall. MedlinePlus recommends drinking six to eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid, ideally water, each day for proper hydration.

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