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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

A New Reason to Kick the Cola Habit: Your Lungs

Published February 8, 2012 5:25 PM by test test
Soda, pop, cola: whatever you call it, you might want to rethink it as your drink of choice. A new study from Australia links the bubbly beverage to asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Researchers surveyed close to 17,000 people about their daily consumption of Coke, lemonade, flavored mineral water, Powerade, and Gatorade, and all other types of soda. People who drank more than two cups a day were at higher risk of airway disease: 13.3 percent had asthma and 15.6 percent had COPD.

Researchers noted that cola drinkers are more likely to be obese and theorized that these pop-devotees might make other poor food choices that exacerbate the problem.

Read more about the study here.

And tell us: will you start counseling your patients about their soda consumption?


    I have advised respiratory patients, with whom I have contact, to drink mostly water. It is important for many COPD patients, especially, to refran from carbonated beverages for a number of reasons. The carbonation itself may, in my opinion, cause the indivual to feel full and interfere with eating a proper meal. Also, carbonation may increase the carbon dioxide in the persons blood and require an increase in minute ventilation to maintain homeostasis. Many of these patients have a marginal reserve at best to increase their ventilation. For indivuals who insist on carbonated beverages, then certainly non-sugared and non-caffeine sodas would be preferred.

Sugared beverages will increase the blood glucose levels above their baseline; keep in mind that patients with chronic respiratory disease are frequently hyper-glycemic due to steroid therapy. Lastly, sugared beverages, being strictly a carbohydrate, will have little or no nutritional valuel and cause more CO2 to be produced by the body (recall RQ= CO2 produced/O2 consumed). Again, more CO2 more ventilation is required to return to baseline.

Good fresh water is superior to carbonated beverages as none of the above complications result. For added flavoring, a piece of lemon, lime, or orange fruit can help to change the water from bland to downright stimulating.  Lastly, for those respiratory patients who have cardiac and/or renal disorders may have to limit their fluid intake no matter what liquid they prefer.

Ray Sheely, Resp. Medicine - Respiratory Therapist, EMMC April 10, 2012 11:14 PM
Bangor ME

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