When you see soccer mentioned in this article, know that it encompasses both association football and other forms of soccer in existence such as futsal, beach soccer, and the rest since they play under slightly similar conditions although the rules differ considerably.
One thing that soccer players must understand is that it is not like other sports where athletes are allowed to eat and drink anything they crave. Rules regarding diets must be obeyed as well as professional advice from dietitians.
For adequate hydration, soccer players need to fuel their bodies with food and drinks that are rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, moderate protein, and little fat rather than drinks that have high sugar content.
Soccer players need sufficient energy to carry out the sport and they also need to be well hydrated for ultimate performance. To stay hydrated, some soccer players prefer taking energy drinks and soda instead of water.
Soda drinks also known as soft drinks have been synonymous with soccer for a long period. They contain sweeteners, water, and flavoring which may be natural or artificial.
They are often non-alcoholic carbonated drinks, they may also contain caffeine and preservatives in very little quantities.
Soda consumption has spread rapidly and is virtually common in every society and country of the world. The likes of Coca-Cola and Pepsi companies offer massive match sponsorships and there have been strong ties between these companies and soccer.
Top-rated soccer players can often be seen in soccer adverts drinking these soft drinks with a perceived sense of enjoyment and satisfaction. Such ads no doubt help in increasing the consumption of soda across the globe.
Because of the popularity of some soda drinks and the high rate of their consumption across the globe, many questions have started popping up in the soccer community including questions like, is it right for soccer players to drink soda? Are there any adverse effects to it?
We have given clear answers to these questions and other questions relating to soda intake by soccer players in this article.
Can soccer players drink soda?
Soccer players can drink soda but in minimal quantities. They should as well note the period of consumption and try to consume it at the right time as recommended by their nutritionists.
History has it that a fruit-flavored drink was the origin of soda; many fruit-flavored drinks existed in the medieval Middle East. Honey and sugar were normally used then as sweeteners.
These fruit-flavored drinks were generally called “syrup” derived from the Arabic dialect. They later became widely consumed in medieval Europe.
‘Water imperial’, a lemon-flavored sweetened drink that contained cream of tartar, was mostly drunk in Tudor England. Other soft drinks that were popular then include lemonade, ‘Manays Cryste’, etc.
Over the years, scientists carried out numerous experiments and improvements on popular soft drinks which birthed what we know today as soda.
Carbonated drinks were also ingested in the medieval ages although they weren’t as sophisticated as they are today. In the 18th century, carbonated drinks stopped being a locally consumed solution and spread to other parts of the world.
Soccer players are often advised to avoid taking too much soda, especially during game seasons even though it generates a lot of energy. You might come to understand why after taking a brief look at some of its innate ingredients.
Soda contains very high fructose corn syrup (sugar), carbonated water, phosphoric acid, dissolved carbon dioxide, caffeine, citric acid, natural flavor, caramel color, and a host of other chemicals. The effect some of these ingredients are likely to have on a soccer player are discussed below.
- Caramel color
This is an artificial food coloring manufactured by the exposure of sugars to sulfite, ammonia, and some other industrial chemicals.
Research shows that the increase in inflammation and insulin resistance in some soccer players who are fond of ingesting soda may be caused by the glycation in caramel coloring found in soda.
Inflammation can increase a soccer player’s chances of coming down with injuries which can impact negatively on their career. Obviously, the value of a soccer player increases based on the number of minutes they spend on the field.
- Phosphoric acid
Most acidic sodas contain phosphoric acid which is an odorless and colorless agent also known to be a corrosive acid. Some health problems among soccer players have been linked to the phosphoric acid present in soda.
Kidney disease has been the most prevalent in the soccer world for a while now and studies show that phosphoric acid is one of the chief causes of this disease. Phosphoric acid is used to acidify soda beverages while citric acid is used to acidify non-soda beverages.
That is why a soccer player faces an increased risk of getting a chronic kidney disease from the daily consumption of soda beverages over a long period. For non-soda beverages, there are no such risks.
The acidic ingredient in soda when consumed over time also weakens the tooth enamel and gradually eats it off. This exposes the soft dentin and causes hypersensitivity and tooth decay among soccer players.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease common in the sporting world and causes bones to be brittle and very weak. Phosphoric acid soda beverages have been linked to one of its causes.
It will be difficult to play soccer when you have to deal with excruciating pain in one part of your body.
One of the major constituents of soda is caffeine. Being a stimulant, caffeine has a lot of benefits to a soccer player when consumed moderately.
Due to the caffeine content in soda, many soccer players substitute it for coffee—although caffeine in coffee is much more than the amount in soda.
Research shows that caffeine helps improve focus, increase energy, help burn calories, and a host of other benefits.
These benefits obtained from caffeine ingestion by soccer players can only be obtained when caffeine is taken in a moderate quantity. When taken in high doses, it leads to adverse outcomes like diuretic effects, nervousness, reduced infertility, etc.
- High fructose corn syrup (sugar)
Soda is manufactured using high fructose corn syrup used in place of sucrose because sucrose is more expensive. Studies over the years have shown that consumption of high fructose corn syrup leads to many health risks among soccer players.
Below are some of the risks associated with soccer players consuming too much sugary soda:
- Causes weight gain in soccer players which might lead to obesity due to more calorie intake
- Type 2 diabetes has been linked to high consumption of soda due to its sugar content
- The decrease in brain function (dementia) is increased when there is an increase in blood sugar
- Fructose increases uric acid levels in the bodies of soccer players and when they are crystallized causes gout which causes pain in the joints
- Soccer players who constantly drink soda have a high risk of developing pancreatic cancer
- Sugary drinks like soda may lead to addiction
- There is a high risk of developing heart diseases when you consume sugary soda constantly
- There is an increase in belly fat when you consume too much soda
- Sugary soda can cause low sperm count which can lead to infertility. While this may not affect a soccer player’s physical performance on the pitch, it can affect their mental stability which will manifest in their focus on the pitch
Soccer players are not exempted from drinking soda but they are strongly warned about its adverse effects. There is a very low nutritional value in soda and it contains 10 teaspoons of sugar per bottle which is higher than the recommended 6-9 teaspoons per day.
Some soccer players drink soda because they believe that the caffeine content in soda drinks boosts their endurance and amongst other benefits of caffeine helps keep them focused and on track.
Most young people take delight in soda drinks and some even consume it more than they consume water. Some soccer clubs even use them often as their official sports drink.
An individual, especially a soccer player, doesn’t need the amount of sugar contained in soda in their system. Taking a bottle of 100 cl or more of soda daily poses a threat to your health which is why soda shouldn’t be taken daily—occasionally is safer but still questionable.
Soccer players should avoid taking soda 30 minutes before a soccer match because the caffeine content in it can lead to gastric distress such as burping, stomach upset, bloating, and diarrhea.
When soccer players consume soda 30 minutes before a soccer match, it discourages them from drinking water which may cause early dehydration.
The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend soda for athletes because of its high sugar concentration, for example, 100cl of Coca-Cola soda drinks usually contain 39g of sugar.
Every soccer player needs to drink and eat foods that have high nutritional value. Soda is not one of such drinks that offer much nutritional value and because of its sugar and acid content, it poses a threat to a soccer player’s health.
Soccer players may drink soda once or twice a week and it must be consumed after eating. It shouldn’t be drunk a few minutes before and after a soccer match as it may cause discomfort and reduce a player’s performance.
Soccer players mustn’t rely only on soda as the most suitable sports drink, they can choose from other equivalent alternatives such as a chilled bottle of water—which is the most common among all available alternatives.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!