1. Phosphoric acid is a clear, colorless, odorless liquid with a syrupy consistency.
2. Phosphoric acid is used as an acidifying agent to give colas their tangy flavor.
3. Due to the use of phosphoric acid, cola is a actually more acidic than lemon juice or vinegar! The vast amount of sugar acts to mask and balance the acidity.
4. Phosphoric acid also goes by E338, orthophosphoric acid, and phosphoric(V) acid.
5. Food-grade phosphoric acid is a mass-produced chemical, available cheaply and in large quantities.
6. Phosphoric acid is commonly used for rust removal.
7. Phosphorus-containing substances occur naturally (0.1%-0.5%) in foods such as milk, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, and egg yolks.
8. Phosphoric acid has been linked to lower bone density in some epidemiological studies, including a discussion in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
9. Other studies showed the opposite – that *low* intake of phosphorus leads to lower bone density. Guess who funded the studies? PepsiCo.
10. Aside from the risk of osteoporosis, cola consumption has also been linked to chronic kidney disease and kidney stones.
11. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer watchdog group not affiliated with the food industry, only a small fraction of the phosphate in the American diet comes from additives in soft drinks. Most comes from meat and dairy products. Therefore, your reason for not drinking Coke should be its sugar content and artificial food colorings, not the phosphoric acid.
- Calvo MS, Tucker KL. Is phosphorus intake that exceeds dietary requirements a risk factor in bone health? Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2013 Oct;1301:29-35
- Tucker KL, Morita K, Qiao N, Hannan MT, Cupples LA, Kiel DP. Colas, but not other carbonated beverages, are associated with low bone mineral density in older women: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Oct;84(4):936-42.
- Wyshak G. Teenaged girls, carbonated beverage consumption, and bone fractures. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000 Jun;154(6):610-3.
- McGartland C, Robson PJ, Murray L, Cran G, Savage MJ, Watkins D, Rooney M, Boreham C. Carbonated soft drink consumption and bone mineral density in adolescence: the Northern Ireland Young Hearts project. J Bone Miner Res. 2003 Sep;18(9):1563-9.